UnitedHealth encouraging schools, youth groups to apply for Heroes grants

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

UnitedHealth wants local schools and youth-focused groups to apply for Heroes grants to help reverse the trend of childhood

obesity, a company spokeswoman said.

Heroes is a wellness initiative that involves children creating and implementing physical activity to fight the childhood

obesity epidemic, said Jane Anderson with Heroes.

The program, in its fifth year, distributes grants of up to $1,000 to schools and child-centered organizations around the state, she said.

“Sometimes these grants fund walking programs, building bike paths, building a garden,” Anderson said. “Anything that gets

kids moving and involves fitness and healthy nutrition.”

Anderson said the main focus is to get children active and on their feet.

“Often it is elementary schools that

apply for the grants but we have a lot of boys and girls clubs, like 4-H

and things like

that, that apply as well,” she said. “This is especially important

for some because funding has been being cut recently and

this is helpful.”

More than 12 million children across the country are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s

website.

Anderson said the organization awarded about $500,000 in grant money nationwide in its first four years.

The deadline to apply for grants is Oct. 15.

For more information or to apply visit www.YSA.org/HEROES.