The Amerigroup Foundation today announced that it is providing a grant to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to continue efforts to improve health and fitness outcomes in Hialeah, Fla., Florida’s sixth-largest city. The grant will help ACSM expand its American Fitness Index® () technical assistance program that was created with the Hialeah Healthy Families Coalition (HHF) in 2010. This grant helped launch a city-wide initiative to educate both children and families on nutrition, healthy food choices, and fitness activities. Amerigroup’s parent foundation also granted an additional $157,782 to ACSM in 2013 to create a data report and continue working with Hialeah communities to initiate locally driven health improvement efforts. The most current grant provided by Amerigroup will help fund ongoing health initiatives of 21 local area organizations.

“We are proud to invest in the Hialeah community as part of our continuing commitment to addressing health disparities and improving public health across Florida,” said Rosy Cozad, president and CEO of Amerigroup Florida. “Amerigroup’s support and expansion of ACSM’s technical assistance program will continue to identify actionable areas for improving health and fitness at the community level, and is expected to make a significant community-wide impact on health outcomes.

Priority areas identified by the technical assistance program include:

  • Strengthening HHF to expand the dissemination of programmatic activities and positive community-based messages;
  • Increasing healthy eating practices of residents;
  • Increasing physical activity levels of residents;
  • Improving access to affordable, quality health care for Hialeah residents.

“The combination of this strategic plan and a focus on this diverse, but unified, community will push Hialeah to improved health, fitness and subsequent quality of life benefits,” said Walter Thompson, Ph.D., FACSM, chair of the Advisory Board. “Our wish is for the entire metro area to take notice of Hialeah’s example.”

The technical assistance program is based on findings from an annual data report, which provides a health status snapshot of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Since the first data report in 2008, the entire Miami metro area, which includes Hialeah, has consistently ranked in the bottom half of the rankings. Notably, trend data reveals that the percentage of physically active Hialeah residents has decreased by 16.5 percent from 2009 to 2013.

With the additional funds from Amerigroup, HHF will continue efforts to introduce opportunities for more community organizations to collaboratively increase health and fitness among Hialeah residents. For more information on HHF, visit http://district4.dadeschools.net/safety/pdfs/healthy_families_brochure.pdf.

About The Amerigroup Foundation

The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anthem, Inc. Together, with local, regional and national organizations, the Amerigroup Foundation works to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Amerigroup and its affiliated health plans serve. Amerigroup Foundation funding is focused on strategic initiatives working to address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative with five areas of focus: Healthy Heart, Cancer Prevention, Healthy Maternal Practices, Type 2 Diabetes Prevention, and Healthy Active Lifestyle. 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, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Associate Giving program which provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Amerigroup Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.

About The American College of Sports Medicine

The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise science organization in the world. More than 50,000 international, national and regional members are dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

 

About The Hialeah Healthy Families Coalition

Hialeah Healthy Families is a community-wide initiative that seeks to change organizational practices, mobilize neighborhoods and communities, and influence policy to address the causes of childhood obesity. The City of Hialeah, along with a coalition of community partners developed a Call to Action Against Childhood Obesity targeting obesity from the following perspectives: Health, Nutrition & Fitness, Early Childhood & Education, Marketing & Outreach, and Data & Evaluation.