Tennessee 4-H and UnitedHealthcare Expand Partnership to Help Fight Hunger by Promoting Budgeting and Nutrition Education with “4-H Food Smart Families” Program

  • $55,000 grant to University of Tennessee’s 4-H Youth
    Development Program trains Tennessee 4-H’ers how to make healthy
    living a greater part of their everyday lives beginning with
    budgeting, grocery shopping and meal planning

MEMPHIS, Tenn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–UnitedHealthcare and the 4-H Youth Development Program at the University
of Tennessee are expanding their partnership to help fight hunger and
food insecurity by promoting budgeting and nutrition education in
underserved communities with the “4-H Food Smart Families” program.

UnitedHealthcare is donating $55,000 to the University of Tennessee 4-H
Extension, which administers 4-H programs throughout the state, to
support the “4-H Food Smart Families” program. The program empowers
families with nutrition education, and cooking and food-budgeting skills
to bring more affordable, nutritious foods into their households, and
connects families with nutrition assistance through SNAP benefits.

The expanded partnership was announced at the University of Tennessee’s
Agricenter Farmer’s Market where 4-H’ers, community leaders and
UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound participated in training
sessions to learn more about food – how to secure it, use it and cook
it, and make choices that enhance their health and well-being. During
the training, 4-H youth leaders were challenged in the 4-H Food Smart
Shopping Experience, where they were asked to shop and make choices
based on budget, nutrition, price per unit and meal preparation.

“We are excited to see the 4-H and UnitedHealthcare partnership grow,
and work to strengthen and empower our future leaders,” said Tennessee
4-H Youth Development Director Steve Sutton. “Through the 4-H Food Smart
Program we are leveraging the proven influence of young people and
helping them establish sustainable habits for their families and their

Throughout Tennessee, the 4-H Food Smart Program will engage 4-H teen
leaders to serve as youth ambassadors and mentors to teach their peers,
families and communities about how to prepare healthy meals on a budget.

4-H Food Smart Families is expected to engage nearly 6,000 Tennesseans,
including nearly 1,700 kids and 4,300 of their family members that are
eligible for or receiving SNAP (food stamps) benefits. Goals include
educating youth on the importance of eating more vegetables and fruit;
drinking more water; choosing healthier snacks; eating breakfast;
teaching their families how to buy and prepare healthier, affordable
foods on a budget; and practicing food-safety principles for food
preparation and preservation.

“Hunger is a serious and complex problem that affects young people’s
mental and physical health and self-esteem. UnitedHealthcare is grateful
for the opportunity to support the 4-H Food Smart Families program and
its goals to provide a sustainable solution to childhood hunger,” said
Rita Johnson-Mills, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee.

UnitedHealthcare employees will help organize and host many of the 4-H
Food Smart Family events and help implement projects that lead to
positive, sustainable change at the community and individual level.
UnitedHealthcare’s $55,000 grant is part of a $1 million program funded
by UnitedHealthcare this year in partnership with the National 4-H
Council to support youth healthy-living programs. In addition to
Tennessee, other state 4-H programs receiving grants include Arizona,
Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee and
Wisconsin. This partnership will provide 4-H’ers skills and resources to
promote healthy choices to families in the communities that need it most.

Since 2011, UnitedHealthcare has provided nearly $3 million to support
4-H programs in 13 states including its Eat4-Health program, which has
reached 200,000 young people and families through a campaign that
trained thousands of 4-H youth health ambassadors to promote healthy
lifestyles in their communities.

Recent studies
from USDA
show that more than 49 million Americans, nearly 16
million of whom are children, suffer from hunger. Studies show that
school-aged children who experience severe hunger are at increased risk
for homelessness, obesity, chronic health conditions, stressful life
conditions, depression, anxiety, withdrawal and poor self-esteem.

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 1 million people in Tennessee with a
network of 142 hospitals and more than 25,000 physicians and other care
providers statewide.

About Tennessee 4-H
4-H encourages diverse groups of youth to develop their unique skills
and talents to the fullest potential. Young people participate in 4-H
through clubs, special interest groups, after-school programs, camps and
many other activities. “Learning by doing” through hands-on activities
and community involvement empowers 4-H’ers to develop and strengthen
life skills. 4-H is a family affair. This includes the parent-child
relationship and the extended family of community and state. It is a
unique blend of government, private business and volunteers working
together to broaden the horizons of Tennessee’s young people. To learn
more visit www.4h.tennessee.edu.

About UnitedHealthcare
is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by
simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and
wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care
providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit
programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees
and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and
contracts directly with more than 850,000 physicians and care
professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide.
UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:
UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more
information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com
or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

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Buddy Castellano, 952-931-4775
Justin Crowe, 865-974-2128