Cleveland Sight Center Promotes Healthy Living to Blind/Low Vision Individuals

Local Agency Partnering with Anthem to Make Health and Wellness More Accessible

Cleveland, OHIO. April 12, 2017 – Cleveland Sight Center is pleased to partner with the United States Association of Blind Athletes and the Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation to implement the fifth iteration of the National Fitness Challenge. This year, USABA is partnering with 13 agencies across the United States, including Cleveland Sight Center, to provide more than 300 blind and visually impaired teenagers and adults with an opportunity to increase their physical fitness levels, as well as live healthier and more active lives.

Cleveland Sight Center prides itself on being accessible to all different walks of life. Blind and visually impaired teenagers and adults are able to participate in a variety of activities and programs, offered both at the facility and out within the community. Skilled staff members engage clients in golf workshops, goalball clinics, rowing on the Cuyahoga River, hiking in Cuyahoga Valley National Park and even sailing on Lake Erie! Participation is adapted as needed for all to have a “normal” experience like everyone else they know. “Living in the age of technology opens exciting new paths to help those with impaired vision enjoy the many physical and emotional benefits of exercise,” said Barry Malinowski, M.D., medical director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio. “Innovative partnerships, like ours with USABA, are the key to effectively using technology to ensure that Ohioans with visual impairments have broad access to healthy lifestyles.”

Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, because of the many barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, approximately 70 percent of the nearly 56,000 children and youth who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical education curriculum.

“Empowering our clients is what we pride ourselves on not just on a daily basis, but for a lifetime,” says Larry Benders, President and Executive Director of Cleveland Sight Center. “We consider ourselves ‘Partners for Life’ and look to use this partnership to encourage healthy living that will last for more than just this challenge. The National Fitness Challenge will inspire our clients that they can exceed their potential, while learning simple and healthy living habits.”

Cleveland Sight Center anticipates scheduling our Paralympic Day and looks forward to begin the planning! In the meantime, our recreation department encourages all clients to particpate in the numerous activities we offer on a daily basis to encourage healthy living, all are available here and are open to additional participants.

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About Cleveland Sight Center

Cleveland Sight Center’s mission is to empower people who are blind or who have limited vision to realize their full potential and to shape the community's vision of that potential. For more information, visit www.clevelandsightcenter.org or find us on Twitter (@clevelandsight) and Facebook (@clevelandsightcenter).

About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation

Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem’s inherent commitment to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Annual Giving program and its parent foundation provides a 50 percent match of associates’ pledges. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.