Cigna, in Partnership with ChildObesity180, Awards Winners $500,000 in Children's Physical Activity Contest

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. - May 22, 2012 - Cigna and ChildObesity180 today announced 11 winners of a nationwide innovation contest designed to identify and reward the most creative, impactful, and scalable school-based programs and technologies to promote children's physical activity. With the support of Cigna, the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), a ChildObesity180 initiative, launched the competition in February 2012 in a commitment with the Partnership for a Healthier America. First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged participation in the competition with a video message calling for applications.
 
"We join in celebrating all the ideas that will help make the next generation as healthy as possible and send special congratulations  to our client, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, for their award-winning program to help fight childhood obesity," said Scott Evelyn, Cigna president and general manager for Florida.    
 
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools "Fit-tech Program" converts classrooms into fitness labs outfitted with exergaming equipment and gamebikes. Measurable results have shown that overweight students lost an average of eight pounds per semester. Other results included increased self-esteem, improved socialization and better reading ability in low-level readers.
 
Teachers, schools, and school districts submitted their school-based physical activity programs to the "School Programs" category, while the "Technology Innovation" category invited developers, inventors, and entrepreneurs to demonstrate how existing or emerging technologies could be used to inspire kids to be physically active. A panel of experts representing various fields judged the entries. A complete list of judges is available at www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org.
 
"School Programs" Category Regional Winners of $25,000 each:


"Technology Innovation" Category Grand Prize Winners of $50,000 each:
 
Christina Economos, PhD, Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180, Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and a leading researcher in childhood obesity prevention said, "These innovators show how teachers, parents, and technology developers are creatively increasing physical activity in schools. They are leading the way toward a real shift in the nation's approach to physical activity."
 
Each of the regional "School Programs" category winners will receive $25,000 to further advance health and wellness programming in their school or district. On June 13, 2012 in Washington, D.C., two of these nine winners will be chosen as National Winners and their award will increase to $100,000 each. The two "Technology Innovation" Grand Prize winners will receive $50,000 each to advance their technologies. Cigna CEO David Cordani, a charter member of ChildObesity180, will speak at the June 13 awards ceremony in Washington.
 
Working closely with leading researchers and expert staff at Tufts University and ChildObesity180, National "School Programs" and "Technology Innovation" winners will participate in pilot studies to expand their programs and technologies to schools of different types, sizes, and geographies across the country.
 
Peter Dolan, Chair of ChildObesity180 said, " The competition's winning programs and technologies are models that can help us reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. We are grateful for the support of 13 of America's leading health plans for this competition. With them as our partners, we are recognizing innovation champions and identifying opportunities to bring solutions to scale."
 
About Cigna
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America and Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy and vision care benefits, and other related products including group disability, life, and accident coverage. Cigna has sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, with approximately 70 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.
 
About ChildObesity180
Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) is an initiative of ChildObesity180, an organization committed to fostering cross-sector collaboration to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation's time. The ChildObesity180 membership is comprised of national leaders from the public, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors who are using their reach and expertise to drive an integrated national strategy to prevent childhood obesity. The organization is chaired by Peter Dolan, former CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb.    Leading Tufts University obesity researcher Dr. Christina Economos serves as vice-chair and director and Dr. Miriam Nelson, a Professor at the Friedman School, is the co-director. Founded in 2009, ChildObesity180 is conducted in collaboration with Tufts University. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the JPB Foundation are strategic funders. The Innovation Competition is funded by a consortium of the nation's leading health plans. www.childobesity180.org