BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, are some of the most costly and deadly, but fortunately, they are also among the most preventable.* This week, as part of a national philanthropic effort, the Sam's Club Giving Program will award more than $2.8 million to organizations with programs that help prevent disease and promote healthy living. Prevention and awareness programs that help people from all walks of life make healthy choices and lifestyle changes can make a significant difference in reducing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and a host of other conditions.
The donations will be given to YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), Sesame Workshop, Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the OASIS Institute. Each of these organizations has sustainable, innovative programs that focus on disease prevention by creating awareness and providing education in an effort to target specific health and wellness issues. Most importantly, these programs can have a positive effect on the communities where Sam's Club Members and Associates live and work.
"At Sam's Club, we can make a difference by partnering with organizations that have the resources to implement national programs on a local level," said Jill Turner-Mitchael, senior vice president, Health and Wellness at Sam's Club. "These four organizations each address very different needs, and we hope that with these grants, they can make a lasting change in communities all across the country."
$2.8 MILLION IN ACTION
The Sam's Club Giving Program will award funding to the following organizations to support their programs that help prevent disease and promote healthy living.
YMCA of the USA
Y-USA, the national resource office for the nation's 2,687 Ys, will apply the Sam's Club $1,089,000 grant to Pioneering Healthier Communities. This initiative is a collaborative effort among the Y and other community partners like public health officials, school superintendents, and business and government leaders, to develop the strategies and models for creating and sustaining positive change in support of healthy living. Pioneering Healthier Communities addresses social need and creates community change through a variety of means such as bringing farmers markets to neighborhoods where healthy food options are scarce; creating safe and accessible sidewalks for kids to walk to school and individuals to exercise; and working with schools to increase physical education and physical activity during the school day. The Sam's Club grant will help to expand the initiative beyond the almost 200 communities that are currently engaged.
One of the most prevalent health problems affecting young children, particularly those in low-income households, is the incidence of dental caries in their primary teeth, as well as a lack of awareness of critical oral care habits and practices. With a $700,000 grant from Sam's Club, Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, is developing a multimedia initiative that will engage children, ages two to five years old, and their caregivers to help develop awareness of the importance of good oral hygiene. The funding provided by Sam's Club will help develop the first phase, of what is expected to be a national initiative, which will include formative research, production of a series of video vignettes featuring the Sesame Street Muppets and content development and creation of a family booklet on oral health.
Alliance for a Healthier Generation
Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, is focused on reducing childhood obesity, currently one of the nation's leading public health issues. By providing direct support to schools through its Healthy Schools Program, the Alliance is able to help more than 11,000 schools encourage physical activity and provide healthier food options to their students. The program provides technical assistance at the school and district levels and provides the most extensive support to areas of the country most affected by the obesity epidemic. With the $694,806 from Sam's Club, the Alliance will support field staff in their work helping make local schools healthier places for kids to learn and staff to work.
The OASIS Institute
Chronic disease affects older adults more than any other age group in the United States. Sedentary lifestyles, poor nutrition and reluctance to seek out information about health conditions are all contributing factors. The OASIS Institute is a national organization with community chapters throughout the country, all dedicated to enriching the lives of adults age 50 and up. The OASIS Institute will use the Sam's Club grant of $350,000 to increase enrollment in health and wellness programs in various communities across the country. With centers in urban shopping centers and rural and suburban communities, senior adults can take advantage of classes that help them learn to manage chronic conditions, make better health choices, begin exercise programs and educate them about resources of information that can improve their health as well as their overall lives.
FREE HEALTH SCREENINGS FOR THE COMMUNITY
In addition to financial support for deserving organizations, Sam's Club demonstrates a commitment to health and wellness issues in many other ways.
On Saturday, April 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., in more than 500 Sam's Club locations, the company will provide free health screenings in the pharmacy areas. These events are open to the public and those who choose to participate will be measured for body mass index (BMI), blood pressure and lung capacity. The YMCA, Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Oasis Institute will also participate at select clubs in a ceremonial check presentation. For more information, times and locations of health screenings of participating Sam's Club locations, visit SamsClub.com/HealthyLiving.
About the Sam's Club Giving Program
Sam's Club supports community-based programs that empower young people, families and small businesses to make smart choices that lead to healthy and bright futures. In 2009 alone, on behalf of Sam's Club, the Walmart Foundation gave more than $73 million in cash and in-kind gifts to support local U.S. organizations focusing on education, health and children's programs including donating more than 38-million pounds of food to Feeding America food banks.