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Columbus, Ohio Deserves High Marks for Linking Health and Education

Good health is a key ingredient for success in school. If a child is home sick from asthma, or doesn’t have the glasses he needs to read the blackboard, he’s not learning. When we connect children and youth to high-quality healthcare, we reduce unnecessary school absences and lay a strong foundation for a child’s long-term academic career.

United Way of Central Ohio is demonstrating leadership on a number of health issues that have obvious implications for success in school. Working with their partners, they have provided more than 10,000 children with early screenings for hearing and vision problems, autism, developmental delays, and other conditions that can impede a child’s success in preschool and beyond. Children in need of additional assistance are then connected to intervention services and learning resources that can make a real difference in their lives. 

In 2010, United Way of Central Ohio also launched a Healthy Corner Store Initiative aimed at expanding access to healthful, affordable foods. An early demonstration phase with three stores has already borne fruit, with a 45% increase in patronage, a 12% increase in healthy food availability and a 38% increase in healthy food purchases. The initiative is now poised to expand. The continued success of initiatives like this are essential, because recent research shows that 40 states across the nation have actually managed to level off or even reduce the rate of childhood obesity. In other words, once again communities like Columbus are showing that there are lasting solutions to even the most daunting of socio-economic issues – if we come together around a common agenda for change.

Consider reaching out to your local United Way and finding out about opportunities to give, to advocate, and to volunteer. We also invite you to make a difference in a child’s life by taking the pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. When you LIVE UNITED, you become a part of the solution.