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5.15.13 - American Heart Association

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May 15, 2013
American Heart Association Media Contact:
Angela Guyadeen
Aetna Media Contact:
Ethan Slavin
Chicago—An American Heart Association Teaching Garden will be planted at Mitchell
Elementary School thanks to significant support provided by Aetna nurses through a unique
sponsorship and volunteer program. The Aetna nurses will also help educate elementary school
students on healthy eating and nutrition.
The Aetna Teaching Garden will be unveiled Thursday, May 16th 2013 during a special Plant
Day ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at Mitchell Elementary School, located at 2233 W. Ohio Street,
Chicago, IL.
The Teaching Gardens are real-life laboratories where students learn how to plant seeds,
nurture growing plants, harvest food and ultimately understand the value of good eating habits
and the importance of physical activity.
“Our nurses are dedicated to helping our members live healthier lives. That dedication extends
to helping in the communities where we live and work,” said Maria Ortiz, RN, Aetna Case
Manager. “The nurses who are volunteering are excited to help create these Teaching Gardens
and give students an early start on learning about healthy eating and nutrition.”
“Studies show that health interventions at school positively influence healthy behavior in
children,” said include Sylvia Melendez-Klinger, MS, RD and Metro Chicago Board Member of
the American Heart Association. “The American Heart Association’s Teaching Garden program
provides hands-on experiences and an interactive curriculum. Children will be given the tools to
build a foundation of healthy habits and empower their families to do the same.”
Aetna employees support the American Heart Association on a number of other programs as
well, such as the Go Red for Women and Start Walking campaigns.
“Aetna and the American Heart Association are both committed to helping people improve their
heart health and address associated issues like obesity,” said Floyd W. Green III, Aetna’s head
of Community Relations and Urban Marketing. “Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country,
with one in three children and adolescents in the U.S. considered overweight or obese. Working
together on the Teaching Gardens program is a great way to teach children the importance of
healthy eating at an early age.”
Launched in 2011, The Teaching Gardens are a successful model founded and supported by
Kelly Meyer, an environmental and health activist. The Teaching Gardens program is part of a
larger American Heart Association initiative called My Heart. My Life. The healthy living program
is designed to help Americans understand what it means to be healthy and to take action. For
more information about the Teaching Gardens program and how you can participate, visit
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke — America’s No. 1 and
No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies,
and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the
nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or join
us, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or any of our offices around the country, or visit
About Aetna
Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 37.3 million
people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna
offers a broad range of traditional, voluntary and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services,
including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management
capabilities, Medicaid health care management services and health information technology services. Aetna’s
customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, health
care providers, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates. For more
information, see
About Kelly Meyer
In response to America’s childhood obesity crisis, Kelly Meyer created the Teaching Garden program in 2010. She
has been a long-time environmental and health activist. Among her accomplishments, she has helped raise more
than $40 million for pioneering cancer research, lobbied Congress to reform the Toxic Substance Control Act, built
California’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum-Certified home and has held prominent
positions with the Natural Resources Defense Council. A tireless fundraiser for environmental causes, she recently
supported the implementation of the Marine Life Preserve Area on the coast of Southern California.
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