Tuesday, March 28, 2017

UnitedHealthcare donates Hasbro’s NERF ENERGY Game Kits to students at Southeast Elementary School

How can one combine mobile gaming – an activity often associated with lying on the couch – with exercise and healthy lifestyles?

UnitedHealthcare teamed up with Hasbro to find an answer.

 We recently launched a national initiative to encourage young people to become more active through “exergaming.” We worked with Hasbro to help distribute their new NERF ENERGY Game Kits, which include an activity tracker (called a NERF ENERGY Game Band), a soccer ball (more specifically, a NERF PRO FOAM soccer ball), and a mobile game (entitled NERF ENERGY RUSH).

 The basic idea of the Game Kits is this: 1) Children use the soccer ball to participate in physical activity; 2) the Game Band tracks their exercise activity and rewards the child “energy points,” which 3) can be “cashed in” for screen time to play the mobile game on a smartphone or a tablet.

By year-end 2017 we will have donated more than 10,000 of these Game Kits to boys and girls across the country ages six to 12.  Earlier this month we brought more than 350 of them to Southeast Elementary School on Long Island where we met 60 fourth-grade students who were introduced to their new NERF ENERGY Game Kits and earned their first “energy points” by completing an obstacle course in the school’s gymnasium.
This initiative is very important to all of us at UnitedHealthcare. Nationwide, approximately 17 percent of children and adolescents ages two to 19 years are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and nearly 30 percent of adults are obese, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings®  Annual Report – and studies indicate that “exergaming” has the potential to address this critical issue.

I want to thank the students and faculty at Southeast Elementary School for hosting us –I am sure the Game Kits will be put to good use!
Southeast's "Fabulous Fourth Graders" display their NERF ENERGY game bands.

 You can learn more about our NERF ENERGY initiative on our website: www.uhccommunityplan.com/NerfEnergy. Plus, you can check out highlights from our recent event at Southeast Elementary in this news clip Brentwood kids exchange jumping jacks for mobile gameplay with fitness tracker

Friday, March 10, 2017

J. Watson Bailey Middle School Takes Home Top Prize in UnitedHealthcare Health Bee

Just a little over a week ago, a team of seventh graders  from J. Watson Bailey Middle School won the 2017 UnitedHealthcare Health Bee competition in a spirited final round in Kingston, New York, earning the school funding for its health and fitness programs. 

Twenty-four students from four middle schools in Ulster County competed in the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee, a quiz show-style competition designed to get middle-school students excited about health, fitness and nutrition. UnitedHealthcare and the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County hosted the competition at the YMCA in Kingston. Kingston Mayor, Steve Noble kicked off the competition and stressed the importance of adopting healthy habits early in life.

I was joined on the judges panel by Kingston Mayor Noble, Dr. Andrea Littleton of the Institute for Family Health, and Ulster County Clerk, Nina Postupack.  

UnitedHealthcare awarded the winning team from J. Watson Bailey a $1,000 grand prize, which will support the school’s health and fitness programs. Kingston Catholic Middle School earned second place and a $500 prize, and M. Clifford Middle School took home the school spirit award and a $250 prize. The YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County awarded a one-month free membership to participating students and their families.
Students from Miller Middle School confer before answering a question during the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee Competition at the YMCA of Kingston and Ulster County

This year marks the eighth year that UnitedHealthcare has hosted Health Bee competitions in partnership with YMCA organizations in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Most Y’s have incorporated the Health Bee into its 7th Grade Initiative program. Students who participate in the 7th Grade Initiative gather together to learn about fitness, nutrition, positive body image and self-esteem.  Students also receive a complimentary Y membership.   

The UnitedHealthcare Health Bee competitions are exciting and a lot of fun. They allow students celebrate their knowledge of health and wellness and give them a head start on the path towards healthy living into adulthood.