UnitedHealthcare, 4-H Extend Partnership To Bring Food Budgeting, Nutrition Education To Additional 50,000 Children, Families
NEW ORLEANS – Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare and 4-H have delivered healthy-living programs to more than 340,000 children and families in 14 states, including Louisiana.
UnitedHealthcare announced it will invest an additional $1 million to extend its partnership with the National 4-H Council to deliver food budgeting and nutrition education to children and families in Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Washington and Wisconsin.
4-H’s expertise in community-based education and engagement, and its presence in communities throughout the country make it an ideal partner to address hunger and obesity at the local level, UnitedHealthcare reps said. Nearly 16 million children nationwide live in households that are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have consistent access to food throughout the year.
One of the programs, 4-H Food Smart Families, addresses food insecurity and childhood obesity, and helps children and families eat healthier. The program has reached more than 43,000 children and families, distributed more than 14,000 bags of food to participants and provided 22,000 referrals to food safety-net programs.
“Food Smart Families makes a positive impact on communities by engaging young people to promote healthy food choices within their families,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, president and CEO, National 4-H Council. “We look forward to continuing this great work, and reaching more children and families through our continued partnership with UnitedHealthcare.”
Food Smart Families uses teens as teachers to provide communities with nutrition, food budgeting and meal-preparation programming; engages families through events; and addresses the social determinants of health by providing referrals for government nutrition benefits and ingredients for healthy dishes, reps said.
UnitedHealthcare and 4-H set the following goals for the Food Smart Families program:
• Train more than 200 teenagers as 4-H Teen Health Ambassadors;
• Educate 50,000 children and families about healthy food choices, food-safety principles and budgeting strategies;
• Distribute 26,000 bags of food so participating families may apply new education; and
• Provide 25,000 referrals to SNAP, WIC and other food safety-net programs to help alleviate hunger.
“As many of us are 4-H alumni, volunteers, donors and advocates, we’re grateful for the opportunity to continue our partnership with 4-H on this important effort to bring food and nutrition education to the people we are privileged to serve,” said Austin Pittman, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community & State, and trustee on the National 4-H Council board of directors.