As NFL season passes its halfway point in the regular season and people are rooting for their favorite teams in hopes that they will make it to the playoffs (Go VIKINGS! ), it is a good time to point out the effort the NFL is making to help reduce obesity in children through a national fitness and health campaign called NFL Play 60.
The NFL has teamed up with the United Way to promote their NFL Play 60 campaign. Their mission states: “As a brand and leader that believes in the power of sport, the promise of young fans and those players embody health and fitness; the NFL and its Clubs are committed to reversing the effects of the childhood obesity epidemic. NFL Play 60 is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.”
One of the features of this program that I really like is the concerted effort to keep gym in schools. Many schools across the nation have dropped these classes to save money or to focus on improving student standardized test scores, for example. Gym class is extremely important for children. Not only does it help children stay fit, but studies also show that children who participate in physical activity during the day perform better in school. The NFL is working with local school districts across the country to enable them to provide high quality, daily gym classes. They are also helping schools upgrade their fitness facilities, hire gym teachers, and they are providing gym equipment.
The list of NFL stars taking the time to promote the program in schools includes Tashard Choice, DeMarcus Ware, and Pat Watkins of the Dallas Cowboys, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints, Eli Manning of the New York Giants, Donnovan McNabb of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Minnesota Vikings own Adrian Peterson. Some of these players were recently featured in a public service announcement alongside President Obama to promote fitness and community service. NFL football players are role models to countless children across America, and they’re hoping that by “endorsing” exercise habits they will motivate children to become more physically active.
I’m interested to see how this program progresses through the years. As role models, pro athletes have a lot of influence over children so it is good to see NFL stars acting responsibly and positively in their effort to promote fitness for children.