CHICAGO and TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Children in Chicago are more likely than their peers in other parts of the country to be overweight or obese. In fact, nearly one out of every three Chicago sixth graders is obese, according to recent studies.
To help reverse this trend, Harmony Health Plan, Inc., a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), is providing a grant to the ProActiveKids (PAK) Foundation to support an intervention program for Chicago children struggling to control their weight. The PAK Plan provides three 8-week sessions that include fitness, lifestyle coaching and nutrition education. The funds will allow PAK Foundation to run its first plan center in Chicago.
The PAK Plan will be offered through Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Nazareth Family Center in Chicago. In addition to the "kids only" fitness and lifestyle sessions on Monday and Wednesday, there are "Family Fridays" where the entire family works out together, learns about healthy lifestyle choices, and receives nutrition education. Parents learn how to support their children and how to practice healthy choices at home. Since its first session in 2010, nearly
75 percent of PAK Plan's 800 graduates have seen a drop in their body mass index and body fat percentage.
"Studies show that childhood obesity has more than doubled in children aged 6-11 years and tripled in adolescents aged 12-19 years in the past 30 years. This puts children at higher risk for health problems like heart disease and diabetes," said Dr. Robin L. Jones, medical director at Harmony Health Plan. "By providing a location for Chicago children to take advantage of this program, Harmony aims to help at-risk children develop healthy habits that can last a lifetime."
"ProActive Kids is thrilled to open this location in the city of Chicago," said Nicki Klinkhamer, the executive director of the ProActive Kids Foundation. "The generous funding from Harmony Health Plan will allow the Foundation to educate both Harmony members and the Chicago public, as well as assisting the Foundation in its mission of reversing the childhood obesity crisis, one community at a time. We look forward to working with parents and their children who have exemplified a strong readiness to make changes in their health. The PAK PLAN will give them the tools they need reach and maintain a healthy weight."
"A healthy community is one where health care providers and community-based organizations are working together to support the needs of local citizens," said Enrique Salgado, community advocacy manager for Harmony. "Harmony wants to do its part to support the health and well-being of its members, their families and communities at large."
Parents can enroll their children on ProActive Kids Foundation website, www.proactivekids.org.
As of Sept. 30, 2016, WellCare and Harmony Health Plan serve approximately 210,000 members in Illinois, including 167,000 Medicaid members, 16,000 Medicare Advantage plan members and 27,000 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan members.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of Sept. 30, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.