Youths across Arizona once again have the opportunity to become “Health Heroes” by learning about childhood obesity, designing programs to address it and implementing the programs in their communities.

Kicking off the fourth year, Youth Service America and UnitedHealthcare are calling all “Health Heroes” to apply for 2012 UnitedHealth HEROES grants. To obtain an application, visit www.YSA.org/HEROES. Applications must be submitted online before midnight Oct. 17. Grant recipients will be notified in December and January.

UnitedHealth HEROES is a service-learning, health literacy initiative designed to encourage young people, working with educators and youth leaders, to create and implement local hands-on programs to fight childhood obesity.

In Arizona, about 30.6 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese. Nationwide, one in three children is obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“With the UnitedHealth HEROES program, we are helping young people take action to improve their overall health and quality of life in a way that’s not only educational, but beneficial for their communities.  We believe that as people become more aware of health issues through health literacy and advocacy initiatives they will make positive changes to live better lives,” said Jeri Jones, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual in Arizona.

Information about the program can be found at www.ysa.org

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