TAMPA, Fla., March 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (NYSE: WCG) and the Southwest Florida region of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced the WellCare Community Foundation—a nonprofit, private foundation that helps people live healthy, safe and productive lives—has donated $35,000 to the Southwest Florida ADA chapter and will serve as the presenting sponsor of Tampa Bay's 2016 "Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes." This is the third year the foundation will serve as the presenting sponsor of the ADA's largest annual fundraiser and community event in the Tampa Bay area.
WellCare and its associates are longtime supporters of the ADA, having raised more than $600,000 since 2009. Last year, 31 WellCare teams of more than 800 associates participated in 20 ADA events across the country. Through a combined effort of company contributions and funds raised by associates, WellCare contributed more than $125,000 to the ADA in 2015.
"Every day, millions of Americans struggle with diabetes—a disease that remains a leading cause of death in the United States," said Dr. Traci Thompson Ferguson, WellCare's chief medical director of medical management. "It is crucial to drive awareness, prevention and early detection of this serious disease, and WellCare is proud to partner with the ADA to help sponsor these efforts."
According to the ADA, diabetes strikes nearly 30 million Americans, including more than 1.5 million Floridians. Many of the estimated 86 million people living with prediabetes are unaware of their condition. Recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050. For that reason, March 22 is the ADA's annual Alert Day, a one-day, "wake-up call" to urge people to take a Diabetes Risk Test to find out if they are at risk for Type 2 diabetes.
"Awareness is crucial in the effort to stop Type 2 diabetes," Dr. Ferguson said. "We encourage everyone to take a minute to take the Diabetes Risk Test. Early diagnosis is key to successfully treating the disease and delaying or preventing complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and amputation."
The Diabetes Risk Test asks simple questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes. Preventive tips are provided for everyone who takes the test, including encouraging those at high risk to talk with their health care provider.
"Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing just 7 percent of body weight (such as 15 pounds if you weigh 200) through regular physical activity (30 minutes a day, five days a week) and healthy eating," said Erin Aebel, Chairman of the ADA's Tampa Community Leadership Board. "The American Diabetes Association hopes that this Alert Day will encourage people to take the Diabetes Risk Test and share it with their loved ones. By understanding your risk, you can take the necessary steps to help prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes."
You can be part of the movement to Stop Diabetes and get your free Diabetes Risk Test (English or Spanish), as well as information about diabetes, by visiting diabetes.org/alert or by calling 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).
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. WellCare serves approximately 3.8 million members nationwide as of Dec. 31, 2015. 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 the WellCare Community Foundation
The WellCare Community Foundation was established in 2010 and is a nonprofit, private foundation. Its mission is to foster and promote the health, well-being and quality of life for the poor, distressed and other medically under-served populations – including those who are elderly, young and indigent – and the communities in which they live. The WellCare Community Foundation carries out this mission by supporting work that helps people live healthy, safe and productive lives, and by assisting groups with serious and neglected health needs. Underscoring this mission is the WellCare Community Foundation's goal to serve as a national resource that fosters an environment where there is a continuum of education, access and quality health care, all of which improve the overall health, well-being and quality of life of targeted beneficiaries.
About The American Diabetes Association
The American Diabetes Association is leading the fight to Stop Diabetes® and its deadly consequences and fighting for those affected by diabetes. The Association funds research to prevent, cure and manage diabetes; delivers services to hundreds of communities; provides objective and credible information; and gives voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association's mission is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. For more information please call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit www.diabetes.org. Information from both these sources is available in English and Spanish.
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SOURCE WellCare Health Plans, Inc.