Goal: Healthy Behaviors

Poor health affects children from low-income families more than others. Chronic health problems can have serious consequences for children, families and the community. United Way helps children and youth learn healthy behaviors now to prevent future problems.

Community Issues

  • Approximately one in five school-age children are overweight or obese.1
  • Asthma is the largest cause of chronic school absence and the third leading cause of hospitalizations in children under 15. Almost 10 percent of Minnesota children have been diagnosed with asthma.2
  • In Hennepin County, prevalence of diabetes among African Americans is more than double, and among American Indians nearly four times, the prevalence in whites.3
  • In the nine-county region, there are approximately 116,000 children of color and immigrants/refugees ages 0-17 living in or on the edge of poverty. This population is disproportionately likely to live in poverty and experience health problems, many of which go undiagnosed and untreated and can dramatically affect school and life success.4

The cost of poor health affects all of us

Increased costs to society include higher emergency room costs not covered by insurance, lower academic achievement and increased need of social services.

Health care is often provided to the uninsured in a crisis. This intervention care is costly and can lead to further complications and lifelong health challenges for a patient. However, if proper care is given in advance, intervention care can be avoided. 

United Way Resonse          United Way Results


  1. Minnesota Department of Health Fact Sheet: Overweight and Obesity, December 2009.
  2. Asthma in Minnesota. Minnesota Department of Health, 2005 and Asthma in Minnesota: 2008 Epidemiology Report. Asthmas Program. Minnesota Department of Health, December 2008.
  3. Minnesota’s Disparities in Diabetes by Race /Ethnicity. Minnesota Diabetes Program. Minnesota Department of Health. August 2005.
  4. U.S. Census 2008.