The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, is motivating kids to pledge to lead healthier lives at an event in Rockford and at events across the nation in September to kick off the first-ever Go Healthy Month. The intent of Go Healthy Month is to encourage kids to eat healthier and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.
The Alliance designated September as Go Healthy Month to get kids to make healthy eating and physical activity a priority, said Bob Harrison, executive director of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Throughout the month, we will be engaging in lots of activities across the country to encourage them to make changes in their lives to improve their health.
Local Go Healthy Champions, including the YMCA of Rock Valley and the YMCA North Towne Gymnastics Center, are working with the Alliance in Rockford to host a free event on Sept. 29 at the YMCA Gymnastics Center from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The Go Healthy Family Fun Fair will give kids and their families the opportunity to participate in carnival-type games, a jump rope contest, and much more.
Childhood obesity is one of our nations leading epidemics, said Jan Jann, marketing director for the YMCA of Rock Valley, and it is impacting us here in Illinois, with obesity rates between 20 and 24 percent in 2003. The work we are doing with our partners in Rockford to celebrate Go Healthy Month will help engage kids in the issue by showing them how they can incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into their everyday lives. We also want kids to know that pledging to Go Healthy can be easy and fun.
Part of the Lets Just Play Go Healthy Challengedeveloped by the Alliance and NickelodeonGo Healthy Month encourages kids to eat healthier and incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives. The activities around Go Healthy Month aim to give kids the power and confidence to take charge of their own health and to provide them with the tangible tools they need to make changes to their own lives and to create healthier environments at home, at school and in their communities. Central to Go Healthy Month events will be the Pledge Station, where kids will first pledge to Go Healthy as a sign of their commitment to achieving their health and physical activity goals.
The work the Alliance is doing with local Go Healthy Champions is critical to combating childhood obesity, said Dr. Dan Jones, president of the American Heart Association. With more than 12 million kids overweight, and 12 million more at risk of becoming overweight, the more we can mobilize and engage at the community level will better enable us to reach those kids most at-risk.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 3 individuals born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime. In vulnerable populations, that number increases to 1 in 2 individuals. It has been estimated by some that if obesity among kids continues to increase, this current generation of young people will become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.
Go Healthy Month activities in Illinois and across the country will lead up to Nickelodeons annual Worldwide Day of Play on Sept. 29. Nickelodeon, a partner of the Alliance, has hosted its Worldwide Day of Play celebration over the past four years to encourage kids to get up, go and play to be healthy. In addition to Worldwide Day of Play events through various Nickelodeon partner organizations such as parks, playgrounds, schools, community centers and other locations, Nickelodeon and its sister networks The N, Nicktoons Network and Nick G.A.S. are going dark on-air and online from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. CT for Worldwide Day of Play, and will scroll messages across their screens encouraging kids to get out and go play. Worldwide Day of Play is part of the Lets Just Play campaign, Nickelodeons pro-social commitment to encourage kids to participate in active, healthy and playful lifestyles. For information about how to participate in Nickelodeons Worldwide Day of Play, visit www.nick.com/letsjustplay or www.everythingnick.com.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation partnered in May 2005 to create a new generation of healthy Americans by addressing one of the nations leading public health threatschildhood obesity. The Alliance focuses on preventing childhood obesity and creating healthier lifestyles for all children and targets several areas to spark change and slow the increasing rates of childhood obesity in the U.S. The effort focuses on four key areas: industry, schools, healthcare professionals and kids. For more information, visit www.HealthierGeneratiaon.org.
Nickelodeon is in its fifth year of its award-winning pro-social initiative, Lets Just Play. In November 2005, Lets Just Play entered into a partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to combat the spread of childhood obesity with the Lets Just Play Go Healthy Challenge. The Lets Just Play Go Healthy Challenge is Nickelodeons initiative to model positive, healthy behaviors, inspire kids to be leaders in making healthy choices, and measure their commitment to a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit www.nick.com/letsjustplay.
from the Sept. 26 – Oct. 2, 2007, issue