SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Seventh-grade students from Carl H. Kumpf Middle School in Clark won the 2018 UnitedHealthcare Health Bee competition in a spirited final round in Scotch Plains, NJ, on April 12. The school was awarded a grand prize of $1,000 to apply to its health and wellness programs.

Students from five middle schools -- Kumpf, Newmark, Park, St. John the Apostle and Terrill -- competed in the quiz show-style competition to inspire students to learn about health, fitness and nutrition. They have been preparing for the competition since the fall.

John Verga, UnitedHealthcare of New Jersey vice president, key accounts, kicked off the competition at the Fanwood-Scotch Plains YMCA and stressed the importance of adopting healthy habits early in life.

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“Nearly a third of New Jersey youth are overweight or obese, according to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings® 2018 Health of Women and Children Report,” said Verga. “The UnitedHealthcare Health Bee educates students about nutrition, physical fitness and overall health in a way that’s fun and engaging. By helping kids understand how their choices affect the way their body works and feels, we help set them on a healthy path to adulthood.”

UnitedHealthcare awarded Newmark second place and a $500 grant, and Terrill received the School Spirit Award and $250.

“The UnitedHealthcare Health Bee lets students celebrate their knowledge of health and wellness, and gives them a head start on adopting healthy habits,” said Sheri Cognetti, program director, YMCA. “Linking the UnitedHealthcare Health Bee competition to the 7th Grade Initiative adds a collaborative component to the program, which fosters greater participation and team-building skills among the students.”

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 1.7 million people in New Jersey with a network of more than 100 hospitals and 35,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.