A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Association for the Blind gets grant from ABCBS Foundation to support fitness, healthy lifestyles

Cincinnati Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CABVI) has received a grant from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to create opportunities for individuals to participate in the National Fitness Challenge, an initiative founded by the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

CABVI is one of 17 organizations across the nation participating in the National Fitness Challenge. This program highlights ideas like adaptive yoga classes, walking groups, running clinics and other sports and fitness activities that can help people who are blind or low-vision to maximize healthy lifestyles.

These activities will be offered over the course of eight months to help hundreds of youth and adults to increase physical fitness levels and live healthier lives.

“The Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation continues to empower and inspire youth and adults across the nation who are blind and visually impaired by supporting the National Fitness Challenge,” said Mark Lucas, executive director of USABA. “We are honored and excited to once again partner with the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to cultivate healthier communities.”

This year’s challenge integrates technology and social media to inspire participants to set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. Each participant has been provided with a Fitbit Flex 2 wearable – a universal way to measure activities, calories burned and number of steps taken.

Participants also have the opportunity to utilize Fitbit Coach, which is a personalized training app that provides adaptive video workouts and audio coaching. Foundation grant funding is being used to provide Fitbits, fitness, and nutritional instruction, performance prizes as well as technical and financial support for all participants.

“Research has consistently shown that people who participate in regular physical activity have higher energy levels, lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety,” said Barry Malinowski, MD, Anthem medical director. “We’re proud to support members of CABVI through our collaboration with the National Fitness Challenge, and to create access to activities supporting healthier individuals and stronger communities.”

More than half of those who are blind or low vision in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine, mostly due to barriers to accessible fitness or misconceptions about their abilities. Individuals of all abilities should have equal opportunities to engage in activities that improve health outcomes, so the National Fitness Challenge aims to increase access to fitness and health for blind and low vision people.

Since 2011, the parent Foundation of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has provided $1.3 million in grant funding to U.S. Association of Blind Athletes for the National Fitness Challenge initiative and has impacted thousands of Americans with visual disabilities by partnering with 40 different agencies across the country.

To learn more about the National Fitness Challenge, visit the website.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment