PITTSBURGH, April 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- UPMC Health Plan will award a grant to Wesley Spectrum Services to expand We Can! Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition® health resources and programming for students attending Wesley Spectrum's Academy and Integrated Services schools, located in Upper St. Clair, Pa.
Teachers at the Wesley Spectrum Services' Academy and Integrated Services schools will be trained on how to implement We Can! programming in a structured school environment. That includes health education for students' parents and families, upgrades to fitness equipment, healthy fruit and vegetable snacks throughout the school day, and the tracking of physical activities during school hours, apart from gym classes.
Wesley Spectrum Services' three schools (Academy, Integrated Services, and Highland) specialize in helping students ages 6-21 who risk failure for one or more mental or behavioral health reasons, including depression, anxiety, ADHD, autism, and drug or alcohol abuse. Children with these conditions are predisposed to physical health issues like overweight, obesity, and diabetes.
"People with behavioral health disability live, on average, 20 years less than their healthy counterparts. We Can! at Wesley Spectrum is the perfect opportunity to leverage UPMC Health Plan's health and wellness expertise, to help these children and their families live healthier, more fulfilling lives," said Diane P. Holder, President and CEO, UPMC Health Plan.
UPMC Health Plan gave a similar grant to Wesley Spectrum in 2010, which the organization used to implement We Can! programming at its Highland School in Whitehall Borough, Pa. Two pilot classrooms of nine students each were followed closely and data was collected about their eating habits, minutes of physical activity, and feelings of self-esteem.
"The results at Highland are encouraging. After We Can!, many students demonstrated an improved self-concept and stress management as well as a more positive attitude toward being active and eating nutritiously," said Laura A. Maines, Esq., Director of Funding and Public Affairs, Wesley Spectrum Services. "With the new grant from UPMC Health Plan, we will continue the programming and data collection at Highland and expand the programming to the Academy so that more at-risk students will benefit from improved physical and mental health."
We Can! is a national movement developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that helps children ages 8-13 improve nutrition, increase physical activity, and decrease screen time (TV, computers, and video games).
UPMC Health Plan is a corporate partner of We Can! and spearheaded the We Can! Pittsburgh initiative in 2007. We Can! Pittsburgh includes other prominent Pittsburgh-based organizations as key partners: ASSET (Achieving Student Success through Excellence in Teaching), the City of Pittsburgh, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Children's Community Pediatrics, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, H.J. Heinz Company, the Senator John Heinz History Center, and Wesley Spectrum Services.
Visit www.upmchealthplan.com/about/wecan.html for more information about We Can! Pittsburgh.
About UPMC Health Plan
UPMC Health Plan, the second-largest health insurer in western Pennsylvania, is owned by UPMC, an integrated global health enterprise. The integrated partner companies of the UPMC Insurance Services Division – which includes UPMC Health Plan, UPMC WorkPartners, LifeSolutions (EAP), UPMC for You (Medical Assistance), and Community Care Behavioral Health – offer a full range of group health insurance, Medicare, Special Needs, CHIP, Medical Assistance, behavioral health, employee assistance, and workers' compensation products and services to over 2 million members. Our local provider network includes UPMC as well as community providers, totaling more than 135 hospitals and more than 11,500 physicians throughout Pennsylvania and parts of Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland. For more information, visit www.upmchealthplan.com.
About Wesley Spectrum Services
Wesley Spectrum Services is a non-profit social services organization that provides transformational support for children and families as they strive to become more independent, responsible and caring members of the community. We offer a wide array of integrated autism, behavioral health, education and family support services to meet the complex needs of children and families in western Pennsylvania. Our priority is advancing our mission through a combination of professional expertise, first-rate facilities and superior services that best meets the needs of children, families and communities in an affordable way. We serve over 4,400 children and families in over 11 locations throughout the region.
SOURCE UPMC Health Plan