KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii--(BUSINESS WIRE)--UnitedHealthcare and IRONKIDS® teamed up with Kama‘aina Kids, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to serving children and their families, to give young people the opportunity to become “IRONKIDS” and compete on the same course as world-class athletes participating in the IRONMAN World Championship event later this week.
The UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS Keiki Dip-n-Dash took place at Kailua Pier with hundreds of kids ages 5 to 15 from the Big Island and around the world participating in the fun, energetic quarter-mile swim and run biathlon designed for young “triathletes to be.”
UnitedHealthcare mascot Dr. Health E. Hound and IRONMAN athletes led the kids in warm-up exercises and were at the starting line to kick-off the Dip-n-Dash. Local families, community leaders, UnitedHealthcare employees, IRONMAN athletes and supporters lined the course to cheer on the young athletes in their quest to become “IRONKIDS.” Each participant received a race bib, IRONKIDS T-shirt and an IRONKIDS championship medal as they crossed the finish line.
Following the Dip-n-Dash, the IRONKIDS helped lead the IRONMAN Parade of Nations to kick-off the weeklong IRONMAN World Championship events.
This is the first year UnitedHealthcare sponsored the Keiki Dip-n-Dash, teaming up with Kama‘aina Kids to provide free registrations so that youth could experience the thrill of the IRONMAN competition. UnitedHealthcare and IRONKIDS sponsored a training session for Kama‘aina Kids youth participating in the Dip-n-Dash the day before the big race, where they learned about the importance of exercise and healthy eating, and trained with IRONMAN athletes and Dr. Hound in preparation for today’s event. UnitedHealthcare also made a $3,000 donation to Kama‘aina Kids during the kickoff ceremony to support the nonprofit’s youth health programs. Barbara Dalton, the Governor’s Representative for West Hawaii, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Nicole Lowen and Council member Karen Eoff participated in the presentation and offered encouraging words to the young people before the race.
“The IRONKIDS Dip-n-Dash is a great way for children and families on Kona to enhance their health and well-being and be part of the IRONMAN events,” said Ron Fujimoto, D.O., chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Hawaii. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Kama‘aina Kids to support its youth programs and help inspire young people in our community to be active and stay healthy.”
“We thank UnitedHealthcare for its support and appreciate the opportunity for our local youth to be part of this fun, exciting IRONKIDS event,” said Mark Nishiyama, vice president, Kama‘aina Kids. “We always reinforce the importance of healthy living to our kids and this Dip-n-Dash is a great way to directly connect that message.”
UnitedHealthcare’s sponsorship of IRONKIDS is part of the company’s commitment to help stem the rising tide of childhood obesity by promoting healthy lifestyles among the youth. Obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980, with nearly one in three children being overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The UnitedHealthcare IRONKIDS 2014 North America Running Series features nine one-mile Fun Runs and a dip-and-dash, as well as music and health expos, and the opportunity to watch IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events with hundreds of spectators.
“We are thrilled to have UnitedHealthcare team up with IRONKIDS in Hawaii to sponsor this youth event and others across the country as part of our IRONMAN series,” said Carola Ross, chief sales officer, IRONMAN North America. “The opportunity these events give children in these communities is tremendous, as these races can be the catalyst for a lifetime of exercise and healthy living.”
UnitedHealthcare in Hawaii has more than 200 employees located on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island with central offices in Honolulu. With a network of hospitals, clinics, physicians, long-term care and other care providers statewide, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 230,000 Hawaii residents who are enrolled in UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid and Medicare programs as well as the members of the U.S. military and their families.
After being acquired from the Sara Lee Corporation, which owned the event series since 1985, IRONKIDS® launched in 2009 with nine events in the IRONKIDS® National Triathlon Series. Since the inaugural year, IRONKIDS has seen more than 60,000 participants and has grown to over 40 events worldwide including races in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and North America. The brand represents a multi-dimensional approach to creating positive experiences for athletes, families and communities as well as embodies achievement and determination while fostering self-esteem. The IRONKIDS mission is to inspire and motivate through the sport to live an active, positive and healthy lifestyle. For more information visit www.ironkids.com.
About Kama‘aina Kids
Kama‘aina Kids, Hawaii’s Enrichment & Education Professionals, is a private, nonprofit, multi-service organization dedicated to serving our island community. With four divisions (School Age, Preschool, Hotel & Conventions and Environmental & Community Services) employing approximately 1,000 employees and serving nearly 9,700 children and families daily Kama‘aina Kids is currently one of the largest childcare providers in the State of Hawaii. Services include, but are not limited to, preschool programs, before & afterschool programs, day camps, environmental education programs, enrichment programs, sports clinics, convention childcare, banquet hall rentals, waterfront programs and hotel programs. For more information visit www.kamaainakids.com.
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.