COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to announce a $230,880 grant from the Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc to implement the National Fitness Challenge for the fifth consecutive year. For the next nine months, USABA is partnering with 13 agencies throughout the United States to provide 300 blind and visually impaired youth and adults with opportunities to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives.
“The Anthem Foundation continues to empower and inspire youth and adults across the nation who are blind and visually impaired by supporting the National Fitness Challenge,” said Mark Lucas, executive director of USABA. “We are honored and excited to once again partner with the Anthem Foundation to cultivate a healthier community.”
The goal of this program is to raise the physical activity levels of each participant to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This year’s program will integrate the use of technology and social media to help the participants set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. USABA will provide each participant with a Fitbit Flex 2, which provides a universal way to measure many kinds of activities, calories burned and the number of steps taken. Some of the activities included in this year’s challenge include indoor rowing (outdoor if available), running, judo, yoga, couch to 5k/half marathon programs and goalball – a team sport for blind and visually impaired athletes.
Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, because of the numerous barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, more than half of those who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine.
“We are pleased to again partner with USABA to help break down barriers, and leverage technology to help those with vision impairments enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of exercise,” said Craig Samitt, MD, chief clinical officer, Anthem, Inc. “Together, we want to ensure that those with visual impairments are not denied the opportunity to lead an active life and have the opportunity to avoid the health risks that come from a sedentary lifestyle.”
The funds from the Anthem Foundation grant will provide a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable for every participant, fitness and nutrition instruction, prizes for participants who excel, and technical and financial support for everyone participating in the program.
The 13 agencies that are participating in the 2017 USABA-Anthem Foundation National Fitness Challenge program include:
- Atlanta – Georgia Blind Sports Association
- Austin – Texas School for the Blind
- Cincinnati – Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
- Cleveland –Cleveland Sight Center
- Denver – WE Fit Wellness
- Fort Wayne – Turnstone Center
- Indianapolis – USABA Indianapolis
- Knoxville – Club Vibes
- Los Angeles – Junior Blind of America
- Memphis – Tennessee Association of Blind Athletes
- Sacramento – Sacramento Society for the Blind
- San Francisco – Lighthouse for the Blind
- St. Louis – National Federation for the Blind Missouri
About the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA)
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA’s mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. http://www.usaba.org | Twitter: @USABA | Facebook: United States Association of Blind Athletes
About the Anthem Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit www.anthem.foundation.org.