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GSOFCT Joins Hands with the Aetna Foundation to Help Reduce Obesity and Improve Health

August 10, 2010

Thousands of Connecticut girls this year will learn how to eat right and be fit, thanks to the new program Live Healthy, Lead Healthy offered by Girl Scouts of Connecticut and made possible in part by a $75,000 grant from the Aetna Foundation.  The program will reach 6,000 girls between the ages of 5 and 18, at the organization's 12 summer camps and through local Girl Scout troop activities throughout the state over the next year. 

The Live Healthy, Lead Healthy program will expand the Girls Scouts' health and fitness offerings, including providing healthier meals and snacks, a wider array of noncompetitive physical activities, and guided discussions about healthy food, stress management and lifestyle choices. The program also will train adult volunteers to be fitness "Champions" to Girl Scout troops and girls in underserved areas.   Live Healthy, Lead Healthy will also expand Girl Scouts of Connecticut's "Kids on the Block" educational puppet programming to include healthy lifestyle information.

"We are thrilled to be able to partner with the Aetna Foundation for this important initiative concerning girls' health," said Jennifer Smith Turner, CEO, Girl Scouts of Connecticut.  "We believe that building healthy habits in girls today will result in healthier families and communities in the future."

Obesity in children and adolescents has become a major public health challenge in recent years.  In Connecticut, 25 percent of children ages 10 - 17 are overweight or obese, according to the National Survey of Children's Health, putting the kids at risk of developing serious health issues, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes, as they get older. 

"As a pediatrician and a mother of three girls, I understand the importance of promoting healthy eating habits and physical fitness at an early age," said Anne C. Beal, M.D., president of the Aetna Foundation.  "Reducing obesity rates, especially in children, is one of the Aetna Foundation's top three focus areas.  Our partnership with Girl Scouts of Connecticut enables us to reach thousands of girls in all socio-economic groups with the information they need to lead healthy lives."

In its efforts to reduce the nation's troubling obesity rates, the Aetna Foundation has invested more than $6 million dollars since 2006 in obesity-related research projects, educational initiatives and fitness programs throughout the United States. 

As the state's largest organization serving girls, Girl Scouts of Connecticut has a long history of guiding young women to lead successful, healthy lives.  Utilizing the three Girl Scout Leadership keys of discover, connect, and take action, the Live Healthy, Lead Healthy program encourages girls to discover healthy lifestyle choices, connect with family and friends as an advocate for a healthy lifestyle, and take action to build healthy habits and skills to last them a lifetime.

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