TAMPA, Fla. (May XX, 2012) – Childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Today, nearly one in three children is overweight or obese. Obesity rates are higher in black and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to LetsMove.gov. This can contribute to health-related problems such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes later in life.
The Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Program is providing 1,000 free sports backpacks to local children to foster a healthy lifestyle and help combat the disease. At 10 a.m. June 5, the first installment of the “On the Move” backpacks — filled with jump ropes, Frisbees, collapsible hula hoops, water bottles, beach balls, sunscreen, growth charts and crayons — will be distributed to pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first-grade students at The Richardson Montessori Academy, 6815 N. Rome Ave. Additional backpacks will be distributed to Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Program participants.
The Moffitt Cancer Center program, which targets children ages 3 to 6, emphasizes the philosophy that prevention starts early. The five-week educational series addresses cancer prevention with topics such as fruits and vegetables, fun fitness, sun protection and dangers of tobacco.
In July 2010, the Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Program won a $5,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. The grant was used to purchase supplies to fill the bags. Molina Healthcare Inc. donated the teal drawstring backpacks and growth charts. USF Master of Public Health students stuffed the backpacks.
The Moffitt Healthy KIDZ Program works with Hillsborough County agencies including Head Start/ Early Head Start and other educational youth organizations. Children take the program’s health messages and educational materials home to their families.
“Children who participate in the program ask to take home jump ropes, balls and hula hoops. They innately want to be healthy,” says program coordinator Nikki Ross Inda, who works with children from low-income families. “Providing these ‘On the Move’ sports backpacks to local children will give them the tools they need to help lead a healthy lifestyle.”
About Molina Healthcare
Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, provides quality and cost-effective Medicaid-related solutions to meet the health care needs of low-income families and individuals and to assist state agencies in their administration of the Medicaid program. Our licensed health plans in California, Florida, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin currently serve approximately 1.8 million members, and our subsidiary, Molina Medicaid Solutions, provides business processing and information technology administrative services to Medicaid agencies in Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, New Jersey, and West Virginia, and drug rebate administration services in Florida.
About Moffitt Cancer Center
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Located in Tampa, Moffitt Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, which recognizes Moffitt’s excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt is also a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” for cancer.