FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
–Rising Childhood Obesity Epidemic to Affect 20% of Children in the United States by Year’s End —
WASHINGTON D.C. (May 4, 2010) – The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) announced today an unprecedented, innovative alliance with leading media companies Discovery Education and Meredith Corporation to help parents, educators, and children address the problem of childhood obesity.
Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, which was launched last October, is a CEO-led organization and is a national, multi-year effort designed to help reduce obesity – especially childhood obesity – by 2015. It’s a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 80 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods, insurance, trade associations and NGOs. The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation will promote ways to help people achieve a healthy weight through energy balance – calories in and calories out. It focuses on three critical areas – the marketplace, the workplace and schools.
“The success of our mission to promote healthier weight depends on bringing stakeholders together to work on common goals,” said David Mackay, President and CEO of Kellogg Company and Chairman of the Board of HWCF. “We are united in a collaborative and focused effort to help children and adults achieve better energy balance between calories in and calories out.”
Today HWCF is launching web-based outreach campaigns with both Discovery Education and Meredith to encourage and promote physical activity and healthy eating, especially among children. The online campaigns address rising levels of childhood obesity; it is estimated that by the end of this year, 20% of children in the United States will be obese. About one-third of American kids are currently overweight. The two complementary outreach programs are uniquely designed to support children whether at home with their families or at school with their teachers. A simple interface empowers users to easily transition between the websites creating a virtually seamless user experience educating parents and children, no matter where they are, about healthy food choices, eating tips, and physical activities.
“Parents and educators are concerned about the threat of child obesity and interested in practical ideas about how to help kids take fewer calories in and burn more out,” said Lisa Gable, Executive Director of HWCF. “This partnership will give parents and educators the tools they need to help combat child obesity.”
The comprehensive student engagement program presented by HWCF and Discovery Education at www.energybalance101.com leverages Discovery Education’s communications expertise and demonstrated ability to provide educators with useful tools to help their students. Discovery Education, a division of Discovery Communications, whose networks include Discovery Channel, Science Channel and Animal Planet, combines proven digital media and a dynamic user community to empower teachers to improve student achievement. Discovery Education’s digital services are currently available in over half of U.S. schools.
“Discovery Education is committed to empowering educators and students with the tools and resources necessary to make healthy decisions,” said Dr. John Whyte, MD, Chief Medical Expert, Discovery Communications. “We are pleased to join in partnership with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and Meredith Corporation in this effort, and are excited to launch Energy Balance 101, which brings a variety of free resources designed to help combat childhood obesity to children, educators, and parents across the country.”
The HWCF/Meredith website – www.parents.com/hwcf – leverages Meredith’s position as the leading media and marketing company focused on women. Meredith’s media brands – including Parents, Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal and Family Circle – reach over 75 million women and 21 million moms.
“It may seem like many of the factors contributing to the obesity epidemic, such as fewer physical education classes and high fat school lunches, are out of our control, but we want moms and dads to realize that they can make simple lifestyle changes that will improve their family’s overall health. This web program offers healthy snacking tips, advice on reading food labels, suggestions about ways to exercise as a family and more.” says Kara Corridan, health editor at Parents.
Both www.energybalance101.com and www.parents.com/hwfc will reinforce the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative to combat the childhood obesity epidemic.
“Success in the effort to combat obesity depends on reaching people, and our two new partners have the expertise, experience and resources to do that,” Gable said.
The HWCF is also launching a website –YourWellnessAdvantage.com – with the National Business Group on Health. YourWellnessAdvantage.com will actively motivate employers to make it a priority to encourage health consciousness in their workplaces and healthy living among their employees, with a strong focus on reducing obesity. The site will be especially helpful to small and midsize companies.