State Health, Education Secretaries Join NFL 'Play 60' to Tackle Childhood Obesity

Tue Sep 8, 2009 1:00pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

State Health, Education Secretaries Join NFL 'Play 60' to Tackle Childhood
Obesity



PITTSBURGH, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Urging children to get at least
60 minutes of physical activity each day, Pennsylvania Health Secretary
Everette James and Education Secretary Gerald Zahorchak today helped to kick
off the NFL Play 60 national youth health and fitness campaign.

Children interacted with retired Pittsburgh Steeler football players,
developed flag football skills and discussed healthy habits.   

"Taking the necessary steps to tackle childhood obesity in Pennsylvania is
something we must address now, and address together," said Secretary James.
"As parents, teachers, and community leaders, together we can help children
establish healthy behaviors so they have a better chance of becoming healthy
adults."

"Sixty minutes of physical activity every day is essential to the well-being
of our children," said Secretary Zahorchak. "There is a clear relationship
between health and learning, and partnerships like this one only strengthen
this connection."

Last month, James and Zahorchak announced that 40 middle schools across the
state were selected to receive federally-funded Active School grants for the
2009-10 school year. The Active Schools Grant program is a new initiative
aimed at curbing childhood obesity that implements evidence-based physical
activity programs that meet the federal guidelines of moderate to vigorous
daily physical activity. Each school will receive a $5,000 grant from the
Department of Health and an additional $10,000 grant from an organization in
their region that has agreed to support the Active Schools program.

Schools participating in today's event were selected based on their commitment
to health and fitness curriculum through programs that will add 30 - 60
minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.

Participants in today's NFL Play 60 activities included students from two
Allegheny County schools, Avonworth Middle School and Mt. Royal Middle School.
Both were awarded Active School Grants for the 2009-2010 school year. The
funds will allow these schools to purchase equipment and have staff available
to offer a number of cardiovascular, flexibility and strength-training
activities. Participating schools will assess students at the beginning of the
school year and at the end of the year to measure progress.  

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children ages 6-17
should engage in one hour of physical activity each day. Most of that time
should be spent doing either moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity, such as
brisk walking, playing tag, jumping rope, playing soccer or swimming. 

For more information on the Active Schools Grant Program, visit the Department
of Health Web site at www.health.state.pa.us.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Schools in Allegheny County that received an Active School
Grant for the 2009-10 school year include: Avonworth Middle School, Mt. Royal
Middle School, Northside Urban Pathways Charter School, Pittsburgh Montessori,
and St. Irenaeus Catholic School.

    CONTACT:
    Stacy Kriedeman, Health
    (717) 787-1783

    Michael Race, Education
    (717) 783-9802




SOURCE  Pennsylvania Department of Health

Stacy Kriedeman, Health, +1-717-787-1783, or Michael Race, Education,
+1-717-783-9802
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