Florida 4-H and UnitedHealthcare Bring Together 200 Youth and Adult Leaders From 31 Counties For Statewide Teen Health Summit

Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:00am EST

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.


* "Teen Healthy Lifestyles Summit" focused on educating youth and communities in
Florida about healthy eating, learning activities and fun fitness
* Event part of "Eat4-Health" partnership between National 4-H Council and
UnitedHealthcare, aimed at activating thousands of youth nationwide to help
fight obesity

OCALA, Fla.--(Business Wire)--
Florida 4-H and UnitedHealthcare hosted nearly 200 youth and adult leaders this
weekend as part of a statewide teen health summit designed to promote healthy
lifestyles through better food choices, fitness and other hands-on learning

At 4-H Camp Ocala 4-H Youth from Lake County participate in "Teen Healthy
Lifestyles Summit" hosted by Florida 4-H and UnitedHealthcare. The interactive
discussions were aimed to help fight the nation's obesity epidemic though
innovative thinking, learning and lifestyle decisions. (left to right) Isabella
Valencia from Tavares; Daphne Yearwood from Mt. Dora; Joshua Guy from Eustis;
Angelina Carnecchia from Lady Lake; Lauren Valencia from Tavares and Esther
White from Fruitland Park participate in a discussion to help create a campaign
that will encourage their friend and families to drink more water. (photo: Dawn
McKinstry/ Dawn McKinstry Photography)

The "Teen Healthy Lifestyles Summit" took place at 4-H Camp Ocala and included
group activities, educational sessions and interactive discussions aimed at
helping fight the nation`s obesity epidemic through innovative thinking,
learning and lifestyle decision-making. 4-H youth from 31 counties and three
military bases participated in the weekend events, which focused on sharing the
importance of healthy living and enabling youth to adopt healthy habits, and
inspiring youth to learn healthy behaviors and to share them with their families
and their communities. 

The summit is part of the ongoing partnership between National 4-H Council and
UnitedHealthcare called Eat4-Health. Eat4-Healthis activating thousands of 4-H
youth ambassadors from around the country to make healthy choices for themselves
and encourage friends, families and people in their communities to make positive
changes through training, creative programs and educational events. It currently
spans 10 states, including Florida, which received a $30,000 grant through the
University of Florida Extension Service, which provides 4-H programs to all
counties in the state. 

"This summit is an excellent opportunity to bring together youth to really
engage them in addressing the obesity epidemic through the eyes and innovative
thinking that young people bring to the discussion," said Dr. Keith Diem,
Florida 4-H Program Leader. "They know best about their lifestyles and needs, so
engaging them in solutions is a critical element to addressing obesity among
youth and their families." 

"Eat4-Health demonstrates how our youth are leading the way to help solve the
nation`s obesity problem," said Kathleen Crampton, president of UnitedHealthcare
Community Plan of Florida. "UnitedHealthcare shares in the excitement of these
youth and Florida 4-H in harnessing the energy from this summit to promote
healthy living." 

Several health experts and community leaders participated in the summit,
including Karla Shelnut, Ph.D., Foods and Nutrition Assistant Professor at the
University of Florida and a state leader in advancing obesity prevention among
children, adolescents and young adults. UnitedHealthcare representatives, along
with 4-H youth and adult leaders, helped facilitate learning discussions,
nutrition training, cooking demonstrations and physical activities. 

Florida`s Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam praised the summit and it`s
goals saying, "Not only has 4-H continued to make our youth better citizens over
the years, the organization has successfully challenged itself to meet the
changing needs of the communities it serves. This is an important partnership
and I applaud the work being done by Florida 4-H members and its industry
partners to help tackle obesity." 

Through Eat4-Health, Florida 4-H has developed an action plan to provide
innovative, hands-on learning approaches that target specific community needs in
the state. Many of these activities are supporting healthy-living programs led
by 4-H that encourage youth and community participation through events such as
health fairs, cooking demonstrations, after-school programs, workshops and
educational forums, among others. UnitedHealthcare employees are teaming up with
4-H at many of these events, assisting with planning and executing projects that
lead to positive, sustainable change at the individual and community levels. 

As part of Eat4-Health, each participating state is organizing a youth summit to
train 4-H youth ambassadors to implement the programs and help reach the goals
in their state. The summits are designed to provide a venue where participants
learn more about nutrition, health and fitness, obtain information on promoting
health within their communities, and gain new tools for participating in
educational trainings and community activities. Florida is the first state to
hold its summit as part of the UnitedHealthcare grant. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity
among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980, with nearly one in
every three children being overweight or obese. Children from low-income and
low-education households are three-times more likely to be obese. America`s
Health Rankings, an annual comprehensive assessment of the nation`s health on a
state-by-state basis, indicates that obesity is a leading risk factor for
diabetes, heart disease and many cancers. The estimated economic cost of obesity
is $270 billion per year. 

4-H reaches 6 million youth each year, 2.5 million of whom participate in
healthy-living programs that promote nutrition, wellness and physical
activities. The Florida 4-H Youth Development Program works with more than
230,000 rural, suburban and urban youth ages 5-18 and is available in all 67
counties and the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The 4-H program is the youth
development program of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service (CES), which is
headquartered in Gainesville. UnitedHealthcare Community & State serves more
than 2.5 million children in 25 states and the District of Columbia. 4-H and
UnitedHealthcare share connections with many of the same public sector and
community organizations, including state and county governments and school

About Florida 4-H

The Florida 4-H program is the statewide youth development program of the
University of Florida`s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS). IFAS
is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational
information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that
function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion,
age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin,
political opinions, or affiliations. More information is available

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives
by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness
needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company
offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers
and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than
650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide.
UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses
of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune50 health and well-being

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available:

Molly McMillen, 952-931-6029
University of Florida, IFAS Extension
Shaumond Scott, 352-294-2911
Florida 4-H Youth Development Program 

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