Children's Hospital Colorado and UnitedHealthcare Unveil Next Phase of Bikes For Life
Research to study health benefits of cycling and its impact on fighting childhood obesity
Children's Hospital Colorado and UnitedHealthcare have announced a research program to study the health benefits of cycling for youths including its impact on fighting childhood obesity.
The study is a part of Bikes For Life, a youth program launched last fall by UnitedHealthcare and Children's Colorado to distribute 1,000 bicycles and helmets to kids statewide over the next three years. Bikes For Life also receives in-kind support from USA Pro Cycling Challenge, one of the nation's largest professional road races.
Bikes For Life encourages cycling as a healthy and safe activity for children and their families in Colorado. Along with providing bicycles and hosting ongoing community cycling safety events, the program features a research component that will be conducted by the Children's Colorado Child Health Clinic and Weight Management Clinics.
Bikes For Life brings bicycles and safety courses to the community
About 300 children ages 3 to 12 who are patients of Children's Colorado's Child Health Clinic, Shapedown® Clinic, or Good Life Clinic, and 30 members of participating Denver Metro Boys and Girls Clubs, will receive bicycles this year. Prior to taking home their new Specialized bicycles, the kids complete a bicycle safety course offered by Bicycle Colorado and hosted by Bike Source.
Each bicycle comes with a computer to track the number of hours and miles spent riding. Each child's height and weight is recorded, while parents complete two surveys related to childhood obesity, exercise and diet. Program participants receive follow-up phone calls to collect the same information after three months and nine months; and in-person follow-ups occur at six months and 12 months.
Partnership committed to helping kids thrive
"Children's Colorado is invested in children's health, and we embrace cycling as an opportunity for children to adopt lasting healthy habits that will improve their overall health while reducing health care costs," said Jim Shmerling, president and CEO of Children's Hospital Colorado. "Partnering with UnitedHealthcare to promote biking and safety education will allow many of our patients to experience this lifelong health and wellness activity."
In Colorado, more than 25 percent of children ages 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese. Nationwide, one in three children is obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We look forward to gaining valuable insights that can help children get on a path to healthy living early in their lives," said Beth Soberg, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual of Colorado. "UnitedHealthcare's support of Bikes For Life reflects our mission of helping people live healthier lives through daily exercise, proper nutrition and teamwork."
Watch coverage of Pro Cyclist Rory Sutherland talk about the Bikes For Life progam on 9News.
Learn how to get involved with Bikes For Life.