Healthy Hoops hits Albuquerque, Santa Fe - Albuquerque Journal

Healthy Hoops hits Albuquerque, Santa Fe

AmeriHealth Caritas is bringing the Healthy Hoops program to New Mexico with events in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and in Santa Fe on Friday, Sept. 30, for attendees of local school holiday programs. (Courtesy of AmeriHealth Caritas)

AmeriHealth Caritas is bringing the Healthy Hoops program to New Mexico with events for attendees of local school holiday programs in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and Santa Fe on Friday, Sept. 30.

At 2:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, Healthy Hoops is coming to the HB & Lucille Horn Family YMCA at 4901 Indian School Road NE.

At 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, the group hits the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Fe Genoveva Chavez Community Center, 3221 Rodeo Road Santa Fe.

Healthy Hoops is an AmeriHealth Caritas signature health program that targets individuals with asthma and obesity. Attendees get the chance to participate in basketball and other fun activities, while also attending health workshops on asthma and nutrition.

“We use basketball as a platform, but we encourage children and parents to adopt healthy lifestyles and behaviors, and better understand their asthma,” said Charlene Vickers, director of community investment at AmeriHealth Caritas. “We are excited to come to New Mexico and we have this event planned on Wednesday, September 28, that, through a partnership with the central YMCA of Central New Mexico, we will be hosting.”

According to the New Mexico Department of Health, 11.6% of New Mexico children and 9.9% of New Mexico adults have been told at some time in their lives that they had asthma. Educating asthma sufferers and their families about how to manage the disease proactively can help reduce emergencies and help those with asthma live healthier, happier lives.

Healthy Hoops uses basketball, along with the help of local coaches, to teach kids and their families how to better understand and effectively manage their asthma and associated health conditions.

“We focus on basketball because that seems to be the No. 1 sport; wherever we seem to go, basketball is such a popular sport among children,” Vickers said. “They can play ball at home and they can play ball in their own community whereas, for football, you need a team and for hockey, you need access to a rink.”

AmeriHealth Caritas is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for those most in need, and operates in 12 states and Washington D.C.

Headquartered in Pennsylvania, AmeriHealth Caritas is a mission-driven organization with almost 40 years of experience with low-income and chronically ill populations.

“Ironically, my favorite part of the program focuses on the children and has nothing to do with the sport but seeing their smile,” Vickers said. “More often than not, people come up to me afterwards to talk about asthma, or nutrition, and adults expressed to me what they learned or how excited they are about that new information.”

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