COLUMBIA, Mo. and TAMPA, Fla., June 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Missouri Care Inc., a subsidiary of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG), announced today a $10,000 contribution to the Green St. Louis Machine project, which is combining science with nutrition and gardening to help reduce childhood obesity in St. Louis.
Green St. Louis Machine, launched last fall by the Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club at Grand Center Arts Academy, North Side Community School and Pamoja Preparatory Academy, is modeled after Green Bronx Machine. Students grow, eat and learn to love vegetables by cultivating a vertical garden in the classroom. Gardening skills and information are included in science and math curriculum as well as the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet. The program may also positively affect the students' academics as studies show classroom gardens lead to increases in test scores and student engagement.
"Nearly 14 percent of adolescents in Missouri are considered obese, putting them at risk for heart disease, diabetes and other conditions later in life," said Dr. Justin Cramer, Missouri Care's medical director. "By growing their own food and using it to prepare nourishing meals at the Club, the children are exposed to healthy eating habits that can impact the food choices they make for a lifetime."
"Green St. Louis Machine helps prepare children for a life of healthy habits," said Lou Gianquinto, president of Missouri Care. "Missouri Care is committed to supporting organizations like the Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club to help ensure children and their families have access to programs that support better, healthier lives."
"We are excited to offer this wonderful opportunity to promote health and wellness to youth in our community," said Wendell Covington, president of the Mathew-Dickey Boys' and Girls' Club. "The Green St. Louis Machine is essential to transforming a new perspective on healthy eating among young people."
As of March 31, 2016, Missouri Care and WellCare serve approximately 130,000 members in Missouri, including 117,000 MO HealthNet Managed Care (Medicaid) members and 13,000 Medicare Prescription Drug members.
About WellCare Health Plans, Inc.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fla., WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) focuses exclusively on providing government-sponsored managed care services, primarily through Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans, to families, children, seniors and individuals with complex medical needs. The Company serves approximately 3.7 million members nationwide as of March 31, 2016. For more information about WellCare, please visit the Company's website at www.wellcare.com or view the company's videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/WellCareHealthPlan.
About Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club
The Mathews-Dickey Boys' & Girls' Club is a youth-serving organization that annually offers direct-service programming to 3,194 children and indirect programming to over 10,000 in athletics, education, arts, healthy living and leadership and professional development. The mission of MDBGC is to produce well-educated physically active and hopeful youth with family at the center.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.