DALLAS — Some of our nation's principal thought leaders in child health, physical activity and education will converge today in North Texas, site of Super Bowl XLV, to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines an unprecedented private-public partnership committed to child health and wellness.
This historic agreement will bring together the National Football League, leading government authorities, National Dairy Council (NDC) and Gen YOUth Foundation, a newly formed nonprofit organization that supports efforts to end childhood obesity. MOU co-signers include U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack; U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell; NDC CEO Thomas Gallagher and Gen YOUth Foundation CEO Alexis Glick. This MOU sets a new precedent for private-public partnerships and cross-department collaboration.
"We are pleased to join this diverse group to collaborate in addressing the childhood obesity epidemic – a problem too big to tackle alone," said Goodell. "The NFL is proud to be a partner in Fuel Up to Play 60, which is making a real and lasting impact in schools across the country."
Launched in 2007 by NDC and NFL, Fuel Up to Play 60 is a customizable in-school program that empowers youth in more than 70,000 schools to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health. It encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (including low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Fuel Up to Play 60 has earned recognition across the private and public sectors and additional support has been achieved from multiple health organizations and several major corporations.
"Since more than 50 percent of a student's daily calories are consumed at school, the school environment is an ideal setting for turning healthy behaviors into lifelong habits. To make an impact in schools and beyond, it is critically important to engage kids in an exciting way. Today, we will debut a public service announcement which provides a compelling example of what we can achieve when putting meaningful partnerships to work for kids," said Secretary Vilsack.
In this spirit of collaboration, a new Foundation, Gen YOUth, launches today. Gen YOUth Foundation will work with schools, communities and business partners to develop and support programs that create lasting changes in the child health and wellness arena, including Fuel Up to Play 60. The mission of the Gen YOUth Foundation is to create a movement that will inspire youth to change their behavior.
"Through Gen YOUth, we are building a team of players who are committed to combating childhood obesity. We hope that moving forward, more influencers will respond to our call to action and join us in taking an active role in eradicating the largest public health issue of this generation," said Gen YOUth CEO Alexis Glick. "As the mother of three young boys, I know how important it is to teach healthy choices. But if there isn't support in the school environment, we lose all the momentum we've gained at home. We need to tackle this issue from all fronts."
The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors representative of organizations across the public, private and health professional sectors. The Foundation Board will meet twice a year and will participate in an annual dialogue on childhood obesity with the leading health professional organizations to identify sustainable solutions. Members include 16th U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, known for first labeling childhood obesity an "epidemic;" National PTA President Charles Saylors; former NFL player and FOX Sports commentator Howie Long; Washington Post Senior Associate Editor Lally Weymouth; Top Chef All-Star Carla Hall; LALA USA CEO Steve McCormick; and Purdue University Foods and Nutrition Department Head Dr. Connie Weaver. Former financial executive and media personality Alexis Glick will oversee the Board of Directors as Gen YOUth Foundation CEO.
To join Fuel Up to Play 60 and learn more about the program, please visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com. To get involved with Gen YOUth Foundation and to learn more about how to make a serious impact on the health of America's youth, please visit www.genyouthfoundation.org.
About Fuel Up to Play 60
Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by National Dairy Council (NDC) and National Football League (NFL), with additional partnership support from U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program encourages youth to consume nutrient-rich foods (low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains) and achieve 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is designed to engage and empower youth to take action for their own health by implementing long-term, positive changes for themselves and their schools. Customizable and non-prescriptive program components are grounded in research with youth, including tools and resources, in-school promotional materials, a website and student challenges. Fuel Up to Play 60 is further supported by several health and nutrition organizations: Action for Healthy Kids, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Dietetic Association, National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association and School Nutrition Association. Visit www.FuelUpToPlay60.com to learn more.
About Gen YOUth Foundation
Today, over one-third of American children are either overweight or obese. If the trend continues, today's children may be the first generation with shorter life expectancies than their parents. In response to this epidemic, Gen YOUth Foundation was founded to inspire youth behavior change. Gen YOUth Foundation is launched with initial funding from four founding partners: Domino's Pizza®, Kraft Foods, LALA USA and Leprino Foods, with additional funding from dairy farmers through NDC. It invites business and philanthropic partners who share in its mission to join its efforts in pursuing a sustainable solution to the childhood obesity epidemic and help ensure that America's children have access to the health and wellness information that will help them succeed.
Gen YOUth Foundation will demonstrate that when youth are given a voice, change can happen. For more information, visit www.genyouthfoundation.org. Media resources, including press conference video footage and photos are available at www.FuelUpToPlay60MediaResources.com.
About the Let's Move! Public Service Announcement (PSA)
A new PSA will be launched at the press conference, developed by the Ad Council in collaboration with Let's Move!, USDA, NFL, NFL Player Association, National Dairy Council, and Brunner advertising. The PSA features Tony Romo, Quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys and encourages youth to get healthy and be active by joining the Fuel Up to Play 60 movement. The television spot will air nationwide in time donated by the media, per the Ad Council model, and will be featured on FuelUpToPlay60.com and AdCouncil.org.