This is the third year the Weller Center and the Aetna Foundation have partnered to help Lehigh Valley children and their families combat obesity and improve their quality of life by educating them about the importance of good nutrition and instilling life-long healthy behaviors.
Through a $50,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation, the Weller Health Education Center will provide a comprehensive, community-based nutrition and fitness program, Niños en Acción, for families and children in Easton, Pennsylvania, with the goal to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and improve overall health and wellness of Easton residents.
The press is invited to attend the first program at Shawnee Elementary School, 1315 Echo Trail, Easton, PA at 10:00 on Monday, December 19, 2011.
Through the Niños en Acción initiative, more than 3,000 children from the Easton Area School District will participate in measurable, in-school programs on nutrition and physical activity. Over 28 days of outreach, the Weller Center's specially-trained health educators will deliver up to 100 presentations of four evidence-based nutrition and fitness programs for students in grades one, two, seven and eight.
The Weller Center will also offer four free family education nights to improve health literacy for parents by teaching them how to incorporate healthy eating and exercise into their families’ daily lives. It is the Weller Center’s goal to raise awareness in the community about the short- and long-term consequences of childhood obesity and educate the general public on the steps they can take to prevent it. These community events will be scheduled in spring 2012.
The Aetna-funded Niños en Acción program was developed by the Weller Center in 2009 and successfully implemented in the Allentown and the Bethlehem school districts. More than 10,000 children and families were positively impacted.
Easton’s youth face an increased risk for obesity, poor nutrition and chronic medical conditions including type 2 diabetes. Forty percent of students are economically disadvantaged and 20 percent are Hispanic, an ethnicity which experiences higher rates of obesity than non-Hispanic Caucasians. Through Niños en Acción, we will use school-based, after-school and community night interventions to reduce and prevent childhood obesity. Improving physical health and nutrition are vital to helping these children get healthier, achieve academic success and experience a better quality of life.
About the Weller Health Education Center
The mission of the Weller Health Education Center is to measurably improve children’s lives by giving students the tools they need to make informed and healthy life choices. Each year the Center partners with more than 300 schools to supplement and enhance the teaching of health, character education and life science for students in grades K through 12. The Weller Health Education Center was the first non-profit health promotion, disease prevention education facility of its kind in Pennsylvania. Serving more than 1.4 million children since its inception in 1982, the Weller Center remains the only such center in the 39-county service area and one of just 34 health education centers across the nation. For more information, see www.wellercenter.org
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.8 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.