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WellPoint Foundation Awards Grants to OASIS to Expand Unique Active Generations Program
Date:2/25/2009

ST. LOUIS, Mo., Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A unique, intergenerational program developed by OASIS to enlist older adults in the fight against childhood obesity will be expanded to eight cities during the next two years with a $313,000 grant from the WellPoint Foundation, Inc.

Active Generations promotes physical activity and healthy eating for low-income children and their families. The program reaches children in grades 3 to 5 in after-school settings using teams of volunteers age 50 and older who offer weekly sessions on healthier lifestyles. Sessions include a lesson, vigorous physical activity and a healthy snack.

"The WellPoint Foundation is dedicated to working with organizations to identify and target public health concerns," said Caz Matthews, president, WellPoint Foundation. "With Active Generations, OASIS takes aim at childhood obesity, a serious and costly public health care epidemic, using a resource that is not only plentiful, but also extremely powerful in this country: mature adults who want to make a difference."

Active Generations uses CATCH - Coordinated Approach to Child Health, an evidence-based, nationally-recognized curriculum to measure outcomes for children, including their knowledge before and at the end of the program about healthy food choices and physical activity.

"The CATCH curriculum has been proven to impact healthy behaviors in children, which is why we chose to use the program as part of Active Generations," said Danilea Werner, National Health Director at The OASIS Institute. "OASIS has a strong commitment to provide health promotion programs for older adults that result in positive long-term health changes."

Active Generations, which was successfully piloted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Antonio, Texas, will be expanded to OASIS centers in St. Louis, Missouri; Albany, New York; Los Angeles, California; and San Diego County, California during the first year. During the second year, OASIS will introduce the program in additional cities including Syracuse, New York; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Denver, Colorado.

During the last three decades, obesity rates in the United States have more than tripled among children ages 6 to 11. Many obese children will carry those extra pounds into adulthood, increasing the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.

By the end of the two-year grant period, an estimated 3,600 children and volunteers will have participated in the Active Generations program.

About the WellPoint Foundation

The WellPoint Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization wholly funded by WellPoint, Inc. Through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes WellPoint's inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint's affiliate health plans serve. With combined assets of $200 million, the Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to reduce the number of uninsured as well as organizations that promote the Health Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adults pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinators the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org.

OASIS is a national education organization dedicated to enriching the lives of adults age 50 and older through lifelong learning and service. Offering stimulating programs in the arts, humanities, health, technology and volunteer service, OASIS brings people together to learn, lead and contribute in their communities. The OASIS Institute in St. Louis is the headquarters of a national network that serves a diverse audience through educational centers and community partners in 27 U.S. cities. For more information, visit www.oasisnet.org


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SOURCE OASIS
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