November 10, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 6

The NFL fights obesity

The NFL fights obesity

The NFL fights obesity

The NFL has created a program called "NFL PLAY 60," which encourages kids to be active and play for at least 60 minutes a day.

The NFL has initiated school programs such as the "NFL PLAY 60 Challenge," which is part of a curriculum designed to educate teachers on how to incorporate exercise into their classrooms, and "Fuel Up to Play 60," a program that strives to give kids the confidence they need to make their schools healthier. It is not surprising that many schools are promoting healthier activities.

NFL PLAY 60 reports that a mere eight percent of schools have a daily gym class. Through public service announcements with NFL players, the NFL promotes its message about exercising to schools and non-for-profit and profit organizations, such as the American Heath Association, The Boys and Girls Club of America, and Nike. The purpose of these announcements is to educate kids on the importance of their health.

Launched in 2007, the campaign seeks to reverse the childhood obesity trend by 2012.

Past players who have made the announcements include Eli Manning, Bob Sanders and DeMarcus Ware. New York Jets' own Brad Smith and Wallace Wright serve as spokepersons for the New York "chapter" of NFL PLAY 60.

Hotel Management junior Sara Slovick comments, "I think that their main focus should be on middle school, which are the transition years into who you'll be. Elementary school is too early and high school is too late. To get the most effect, the NFL should focus on middle schoolers."

In contrast, some have scrutinized the NFL for their players' weights. University of North Carolina endocrinologist Joyce Harp studied players in the NFL and found that 97% were overweight and 56 percent were obese. This study was highly criticized because it relied on body mass index (BMI), the ratio of height to weight, which fails to take into account muscle mass - a large part of an NFL athlete's physique.

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