WellPoint Foundation Grant Aims to Improve Health

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) received a $171,880 grant from the WellPoint Foundation to present the 2011 ACSM American Fitness Index () data report and establish pilot programs to improve health. Now, by translating key data from the report, ACSM will provide technical assistance to low-ranking metro areas to help them improve health and fitness in their communities.

“As the founding sponsor of the ACSM American Fitness Index, the WellPoint Foundation is proud to be a continuing supporter of this healthy lifestyle measurement and improvement endeavor,” said Dr. Wesley Wong, regional vice president and national medical director of WellPoint’s affiliated health plans and member of the Advisory Board. “Our involvement with ACSM and the program illustrates our commitment to enhancing health improvement efforts across the country and allows us to be a stronger community partner in the states we serve.”

In 2011, the WellPoint Foundation grant will enable ACSM to work with community organizations in Indianapolis and Oklahoma City to pilot locally driven health improvement efforts. Four additional cities will be added in 2012 and 2013 respectively, bringing the total to ten cities that will receive tailored technical assistance from ACSM to improve the health of their communities.

This new programmatic effort will identify actionable areas with the best evidence for improving health, focus on doing the most good for the most residents – with a high priority on underserved populations – and work to make a community-wide impact quickly.

“There are no quick fixes when it comes to improving the health of an entire metro area,” said Wong. “However, our hope is that these pilots will identify some key strategies and tactics that may also work in other cities hoping to improve the health of their residents.”

The WellPoint Foundation’s support for the ACSM and report is part of its continuing commitment to address health disparities and improve public health across the country.  Through its State Health Index – a state-by-state compilation of public health measures – and Healthy Generations program, the WellPoint Foundation works to identify the issues most in need of attention and then directs its charitable support and volunteer efforts toward improving health in those areas. Reducing cardiac mortality rates, promoting active lifestyles and addressing the long-term health threats posed by childhood obesity are major focus areas of the Foundation.

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