Sun Life Financial Donates $250,000 to Prevent Diabetes
Leading employee benefits carrier partners with YMCA of the USA to promote healthy living and reduce critical risk factors
WELLESLEY, MA (November 14, 2013) The U.S. division of Sun Life Financial Inc. (NYSE: SLF, TSX: SLF) today announced a major commitment to preventing diabetes and its complications through a national public awareness initiative designed to inform Americans of the risk factors and health consequences associated with the disease. This commitment by Sun Life U.S. is part of Sun Life Financial’s efforts to prevent diabetes and its complications. Sun Life’s international contributions to this initiative include a $10 million commitment in Canada over the last year.
With World Diabetes Day as the backdrop, Sun Life granted $250,000 to YMCA of the USA to support the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program—a national program that helps people reduce their risk for type 2 diabetes by providing the tools, resources and information to help them change their lifestyles. Sun Life’s donation will support the expansion of the program, including the YMCA of Greater Boston, close to Sun Life’s U.S. headquarters in Wellesley, Mass.
Expenses associated with managing diabetes have increased exponentially and have intensified America’s mounting national health care costs. According to the American Diabetes Association, direct annual medical costs related to diabetes care exceed $176 billion. Indirect medical costs from absenteeism, disability unemployment, and reduced and lost productivity due to medical leave or early mortality, total an additional $69 billion annually*.
“Diabetes is a national public health crisis that demands our immediate attention and this partnership with YMCA of the USA is a great way for Sun Life to help educate Americans on how they can mitigate risk factors and take preventative measures that will help them protect what they love most about their lives,” said Sun Life Financial U.S. President Wes Thompson. “Our ultimate goal is to raise awareness of the connection between health, education and financial wellness to empower consumers to make more informed lifestyle decisions that strengthen their personal and financial well-being and ensure a brighter future.”
On average, diabetics in the U.S. face more than twice the medical costs of people without the disease, which is a major cause of critical illness. Diabetes is also the leading cause of kidney failure, the second costliest catastrophic claim to U.S. employers**.
“The Y is committed to improving the nation’s health and well-being through healthy living and chronic disease prevention initiatives,” said YMCA of the USA's National Health Officer, Matt Longjohn, M.D. “We aim to have the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program in more than 300 communities within the next few years. We thank Sun Life Financial for helping us get closer to this goal.”
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led National Diabetes Prevention Program, aims to help people lose five to seven percent of their body weight through healthy eating, physical activity, and other lifestyle changes. These changes can reduce new cases of type 2 diabetes in adults by 58% and in adults over age 60 by 71%, according to the National Institutes of Health and the CDC***.
To celebrate the partnership, Sun Life and the YMCA of Greater Boston will host a kickoff event in early 2014 in Boston. The event, which will feature cooking and nutrition activities from celebrity chefs and fun physical activity sessions led by local athletes, will serve to raise awareness of and drive participation in the program.
Sun Life’s commitment to the fight against diabetes in the U.S. is part of the company’s ongoing philanthropic efforts that promote education, personal and financial well-being. By the end of 2013, Sun Life will have invested nearly $4 million in grants and scholarships to a total of 70 students and 63 nonprofit organizations in 14 U.S. cities through the Sun Life Rising Star Awards program, the company’s signature philanthropic effort it launched in 2010. Sun Life is also committed to supporting all of its employees in learning about, achieving, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and offers dozens of services and programs internally throughout the year that help employees achieve their goals.
About Sun Life Financial
Sun Life Financial is a leading international financial services organization providing a diverse range of protection and wealth accumulation products and services to individuals and corporate customers. Sun Life Financial and its partners today have operations in key markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, and Bermuda. In the United States and elsewhere, insurance products are offered by members of the Sun Life Financial group that are insurance companies. Sun Life Financial Inc., the holding company for the Sun Life Financial group of companies, is a public company. It is not an insurance company and does not offer insurance products for sale in the United States or elsewhere, and does not guarantee the obligations of its insurance company subsidiaries. In the United States, Sun Life Financial provides a range of products and services to employers and their employees, including Group and Voluntary Life, Disability, Dental, Critical Illness, Accident, and Stop-Loss insurance products. Product offerings may not be available in all states and may vary depending on state laws and regulations. Sun Life Financial Inc. trades on the Toronto (TSX), New York (NYSE), and Philippine (PSE) stock exchanges under the ticker symbol SLF. For more information, please visit www.sunlife.com/us.
*Source: American Diabetes Association
**Source: Sun Life Financial’s Leading Catastrophic Claims Conditions and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
***Source: National Institutes of Health and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
SLPC 25443 11/13 (exp. 11/18)