Abbott and Abbott Fund Launch ‘Future Well Kids’ Program to Help Students Shape Healthier Lives

Originally posted on Abbott.com

– Abbott volunteers work with teachers to empower students to take charge of their health, adopting healthy habits that last a lifetime
– Initiative aims to inspire kids to take steps today to prevent chronic diseases tomorrow

Abbott and its foundation, the Abbott Fund, today launched Future Well Kids, a program designed to educate and inspire middle school students ages 10-13 to learn about the causes of chronic disease and adopt healthy habits to live healthier, fuller lives.

Chronic diseases, also known as noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are the leading cause of death around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs are estimated to account for 71% of all deaths globally and 88% of all deaths in the U.S. The conditions and behaviors that lead to NCDs often start in childhood — globally, 81% of adolescents don’t get enough physical activity, and in the U.S., 32% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese.

Through Future Well Kids, Abbott employee volunteers bring their health expertise to the classroom, working with teachers in local communities. The Abbott Fund partnered with Discovery Education, the global leader in standards-aligned digital curriculum resources, engaging content and professional learning for K-12 classrooms, to develop a fun and compelling curriculum.

“Middle school is a critical time, as students are becoming more independent and making their own choices about food and physical activity,” said Molly Schaefer, principal at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Waukegan, Ill., which is participating in the Future Well Kids program. “The Future Well Kids program brings forward practical, hands-on ideas that students can use to begin establishing good habits and patterns now, which will set themselves up for a happy, healthy future.”

Through classroom activities and digital lessons, students learn about good nutrition and physical fitness, and why these behaviors are so important to their health and wellbeing. And because developing healthy habits requires action, the program focuses on empowering students to take charge of their health by making simple changes in their own lives – such as creating nutritious meal plans, setting fitness goals, and learning how to differentiate between sound nutrition advice and online health fads.

“We created the Future Well Kids program to educate and empower students to develop healthy habits today, so they can reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease during their lifetime,” said Jenna Daugherty, divisional vice president of global citizenship and sustainability at Abbott, and vice president of the Abbott Fund. “It’s also a great way for Abbott employees to share their expertise and passion for health, working side-by-side with their neighbors to have a meaningful impact in local communities.”

The Future Well Kids program serves schools that are in underserved communities near Abbott sites in California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas and Virginia, as well as Ireland and Mexico. The program builds on Abbott’s extensive expertise in nutrition, cardiovascular disease and diabetes care, and is designed to empower kids, support teachers and engage Abbott employees.

About Future Well

Chronic diseases – also called noncommunicable diseases, or NCDs, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease – are among the greatest health threats of our time. These complex health challenges affect every family and every community. That’s why we’re working to find new answers, through our life-changing technologies, across our businesses and in partnership with others through Future Well initiatives.

Working in close collaboration with leading organizations and communities, Abbott and the Abbott Fund’s Future Well initiatives are focused on finding new ways to outsmart the drivers of chronic diseases. From school-based outreach to help young people make healthier choices, to partnerships that empower communities to address social and economic barriers to good health, Future Well programs are testing new ideas to help build a healthier future. To find out more, visit www.abbott.com/FutureWell.

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