To fundamentally shape the future of societal health, we need to make our communities healthier and more vibrant for the next generation. Putting words into action, Cigna recently launched Healthier Kids for Our Future, a five-year, $25 million initiative to address the health and well-being needs of children around the world.
More than 12 million American children experience hunger and food insecurity, which can significantly impact a child's short- and long-term physical and mental health. It may lead to poorer educational outcomes, contribute to developmental impairments in areas like language and motor skills, and lead to social and behavioral problems1. To immediately address this disparity, in its first year, Healthier Kids for Our Future is focusing exclusively on reducing childhood hunger and improving nutrition.
We recognize this is a tremendous undertaking. We want to work with organizations that are on the ground, in communities, working to address food insecurity around the world. We have learned that schools—at least in the U.S. and many countries—are a focal point for addressing the issue and in most cases already have programs offering support. We want to fill the gaps that exist in and outside the school environment. For example, weekends and summers present significant challenges and there is a gap that relates to children five years old and younger who have not yet started kindergarten.
We are looking for programs that bracket or augment in-school efforts to provide food and nutritional education to children, including in the following areas:
1 Feeding America, What happens when a child faces hunger?