CHICAGO, Sept. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Giving Chicago a first class future is the focus of tonight's After School Matters Gala on the new runway at O'Hare International Airport — namely raising funds to make a long-term investment in the city's teenagers. This year's gala serves as an inaugural event for the airport's newest runway while proceeds from the evening will support activities to keep teens healthy and active; both in mind and body.

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Health care statistics for the Chicago area underscore the need for programs like After School Matters to encourage healthy lifestyles. Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS), the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager and one of the gala's sponsors, found that throughout Cook County and the City of Chicago, the prevalence of children ages 0-19 receiving diabetes therapy increased 11.8 percent and for asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) jumped nearly 30 percent among the same age group between 2006 and 2007.

"Medco understands the pharmacy care needs of Chicagoland. It's important for children and adults alike to be active and aware of their individual health care needs," said Glenn Taylor, group president, key accounts, located at Medco's Chicago regional headquarters in downtown Chicago. "We are so proud to be involved this year as a first-time sponsor for this event. After School Matters provides a foundation to the high school-aged children of Chicago to engage in activities that keep them active physically and mentally, laying a solid groundwork that enriches both the lives of Chicago children and their community."

The analysis which reviewed the prescription drug claims for Medco members in Cook County and the City of Chicago, also revealed that the number of children ages 0-19 receiving cardiovascular therapy, specifically in the anti-coagulant & anti-platelets and lipid lowering therapeutic class more than doubled.

"As a local employer and provider of health care, Medco wants to ensure that the youth of Chicagoland — the leaders of tomorrow — have healthy lifestyles and endless aspirations," states Taylor. "That is a main reason why the programs offered by After School Matters are deserving of everyone's support."

The trends in Chicagoland are comparable to those found across the United States. Medco released similar data on a nationwide scale which revealed that number of children taking medications to treat type 2 diabetes, sleep problems and gastrointestinal disorders such as heartburn has more than doubled in a seven-year span. Based on the data, there are now approximately 1.2 million children in the U.S. being treated for conditions that were typically labeled adult problems, caused in large part by lifestyle factors.

The funds raised through the After School Matters Gala directly support the organization's mission of creating a network of out-of-school opportunities, including apprenticeships and drop-in programs, for Chicago teens. The After School Matters Gala event is hosted by Mayor Richard M. Daley and his wife, Maggie, who is the founder of this organization.

"Our supporters understand that we must continue to invest in our young people because they will play a vital role in the future of our city," said founder Maggie Daley. "And investing in Chicago's teens is what tonight is all about."

The event takes place on O'Hare's first new runway since 1971, a part of The O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP).

To learn more about After School Matters and Medco's efforts in Chicagoland, please visit

About After School Matters

After School Matters is a non-profit organization that offers Chicago teens innovative out-of-school activities through science37, sports37, tech37 words37 and the nationally recognized gallery37 programs. After School Matters provides these programs through a network of public and private partnerships that include the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Library and community-based organizations. The organization's hands-on programs expose teens to rewarding careers and help them to develop marketable job skills.

About Medco

Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS) is the nation's leading pharmacy benefit manager based on its 2007 total net revenues of more than $44 billion. Medco's prescription drug benefit programs, covering approximately one-in-five Americans, are designed to drive down the cost of pharmacy health care for private and public employers, health plans, labor unions and government agencies of all sizes, for individuals served by the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program, and those served by Medco's specialty pharmacy segment, Accredo Health Group. Medco, the world's most advanced pharmacy(R), is positioned to serve the unique needs of patients with chronic and complex conditions through its Medco Therapeutic Resource Centers(R), including its enhanced diabetes pharmacy care practice through the Liberty acquisition. Medco is the highest-ranked independent pharmacy benefit manager on the 2008 Fortune 100 list. On the Net:

SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.