The UnitedHealthcare Ironkids Lake Stevens Fun Run raced around North Cove Park in Lake Stevens Washington on Saturday.
UnitedHealthcare mascot “Dr. Health E. Hound” joined Mayor Vern Little and more than 100 kids and their families during kick-off and medal ceremony for the 1-mile course aimed to help stem the rising tide of childhood obesity through exercise and healthy lifestyles.
UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring 10 Ironkids events – nine running races and a triathlon – in seven states. Saturday’s Fun Run included hundreds of young “triathletes to be”, ages 3 to 15.
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The company provided complimentary tickets to the race and weekend-long Ironman activities to local youth from the Lake Stevens Boys & Girls Club and Sea Mar, enabling youth who often face barriers to good health, to compete in the event.
Children from low-income and low-education households are three-times more likely to suffer from obesity, which is a leading risk factor for diabetes, heart disease and many cancers, according to America’s Health Rankings, an annual assessment of the nation’s health on a state-by-state basis.
Childhood obesity has tripled since 1980 with nearly one in every three children being overweight or obese (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Washington ranks 18th in the country with almost 1.4 million adults estimated to be obese (United Health Foundation’s Annual Health Rankings).
Photo courtesy: UnitedHealthcare / Kim Doyel