HARTFORD, Conn. – More than 3,000 nurses at Aetna (NYSE: AET) work every day to help members improve their health. Through a unique sponsorship and volunteer program, Aetna nurses will also help educate elementary school students on healthy eating and nutrition by sponsoring American Heart Association Teaching Gardens in five elementary schools across the country.
Teaching Gardens are real-life laboratories where students learn how to plant seeds, nurture growing plants and harvest food. The goal of the program is to help students understand the value of good eating habits and the importance of nutrition through both a hands-on and curriculum-based learning environment.
Aetna nurses will join the American Heart Association to help plant and build Teaching Gardens. The two organizations have already completed the planting of one Teaching Garden at Driggers Elementary School in San Antonio, Texas. Other schools receiving Teaching Gardens include:
- Ellwood School in Philadelphia (Plant Day is May 9)
- Mitchell Elementary School in Chicago (Plant Day is May 16)
- Macdonough Elementary School in Middletown, Connecticut (Plant Day is May 17)
- Richardson Elementary School in Akron, Ohio (Plant Day is June 3)
“Our nurses are dedicated to helping our members live healthier lives. That dedication extends to helping in the communities where we live and work,” said Susan Kosman, R.N., chief nursing officer for Aetna. “The nurses who are volunteering are excited to help create these Teaching Gardens and give students an early start on learning about healthy eating and nutrition.”
Launched in 2011, the American Heart Association Teaching Garden program was co-founded and supported by Kelly Meyer, an environmental and health activist. The Teaching Garden program is part of the American Heart Association’s, My Heart. My Life. healthy living initiative, designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy. For more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit www.heart.org/teachinggardens.
“It is a fact that children who grow fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them,” said Kelly Meyer, Teaching Gardens co-founder. “The American Heart Association’s Teaching Garden program provides hands-on experiences and an interactive curriculum where children are given the tools to build a foundation of healthy habits and empower their families to do the same.”
“Aetna and the American Heart Association are both committed to helping people improve their heart health and address associated issues like obesity,” said Floyd W. Green III, Aetna’s head of Community Relations and Urban Marketing. “Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country, with one in three children and adolescents in the U.S. considered overweight or obese. Working together on the Teaching Gardens program is a great way to teach children the importance of healthy eating at an early age.”
Aetna is one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 38.3 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities, Medicaid health care management services, workers’ compensation administrative services and health information technology services. Aetna’s customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more information, see www.aetna.com.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit heart.org.