— Program Takes Aim at Childhood Obesity —
HOUSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Aetna, the Aetna Foundation and Magic Johnson Enterprises (MJE), in collaboration with Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK), EoSHealth, and Harris County Hospital District, have launched a 20-week nutrition and exercise competition between fourth- and fifth-graders at five elementary schools in the Houston Independent School District (HISD). The competition, named the 3-Point PlaySM, was created to help combat childhood obesity and will build upon current HISD wellness initiatives. Toward the end of the competition, a celebration is planned to include Magic Johnson Enterprises and participation from Mr. Johnson himself.
The 3-Point Play program has three main components that encourage kids to: move more; to eat healthier; and to engage students and their families in making lasting healthy lifestyle changes. While the competition focuses on each school acquiring points through various healthy activities, the success of the program will be based on three measures: pre- and post-“Fitnessgrams” which will be administered to each student; active program participation; and meeting state guidelines for physical activity minutes. Fitnessgrams include a body mass index (BMI) measurement, a cardio-respiratory test, and strength and flexibility testing.
“Promoting healthy living is a priority for Aetna. After seeing the alarming statistics of childhood obesity in this country, we felt it was important to develop a program in response to this growing epidemic,” said Jeff Bernhard, market head for Aetna. “The 3-Point PlaySM program will provide several ways to engage children and their parents in fun and educational activities that focus on nutrition and physical activity.”
The five schools chosen for this pilot program are MacGregor Elementary, Ketelsen Elementary, Anderson Elementary, J.R. Harris Elementary and Montgomery Elementary. Students from each school accumulate points by using a pedometer to help monitor steps taken and calories burned; completing family homework assignments; and participating in health awareness activities online. Teachers, physical education instructors and technologists from each school will administer the curriculum and track the points from their respective schools.
“Childhood obesity is a critical challenge facing children in communities across our country today. Coming up with innovative ways to help kids learn to make healthy food choices and keep active is extremely important,” said Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises. “I believe that this program will be successful at doing just that and I am proud to be a part of such an important initiative.”
Parents, teachers and students can visit www.communityvitality.com and click on the “School” to participate in online games, announcements, healthy tips and videos including messages from Mr. Johnson, which will coincide with the curriculum taught in the classrooms. Point totals for each school will be uploaded on the website weekly, so the students will know how their schools are doing. EoSHealth, a company that provides personalized health management solutions, has developed a database to track and measure the progress of each school that is contained within the web site.
As part of this program, Action for Healthy Kids, a national nonprofit organization, will provide classroom activities, program equipment and a dedicated project coordinator that will work with the schools during the competition. AFHK will also administer a pre-and post-survey to the students that will measure changes in their attitudes, knowledge and beliefs as it relates to nutrition and physical activity.
Harris County Hospital District, the public health care system for Harris County, will provide the weekly classroom curriculum, homework exercises, extra-credit activities and program incentives to each elementary school.
The 3-Point PlaySM program was made possible through grants provided by the Aetna Foundation to each of the partner organizations.
About the Aetna and Magic Johnson Alliance
Aetna and Magic Johnson Enterprises announced the “Team up for a Healthy Tomorrow” initiative in January 2008. The principal goals of the three-year collaboration are to create a dialogue and action in diverse urban and suburban communities to help people understand the health resources available to them and encourage them to take a more active role in their health and wellness. In addition, the initiative seeks to give a credible voice, via a recognized and respected leader, to major issues in health care such as the need to improve health literacy and racial and ethnic inequality in health care, thereby empowering people to ask questions, seek answers and create a demand for high-quality health care that respects their cultural preferences. For more information, see www.communityvitality.com.
About Magic Johnson Enterprises
Magic Johnson Enterprises, formed in 1987, serves as a catalyst for community and economic empowerment by making available high-quality entertainment, products and services that answer the demands of ethnically diverse urban communities. Through investment, partnership and consultation, Magic Johnson Enterprises has a portfolio of companies that strategically work together to reinforce the organization’s focus on serving emerging, multicultural communities. Learn more at www.magicjohnsonenterprises.com
About the Aetna Foundation
The Aetna Foundation is the independent charitable and philanthropic arm of Aetna Inc. Founded in 1972, the Foundation helps build healthy communities by promoting volunteerism, forming partnerships and funding initiatives that improve the quality of life where our employees and customers live and work. Since 1980, Aetna and the Aetna Foundation have contributed over $334 million in grants, sponsorships and social investments. Visit www.aetna.com/foundation for more information.
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.2 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
Anjie Coplin, 214-200-8056