NFL players, coaches and executives are spreading the word on the importance of health and fitness today during a league-wide day of service. During the 10th annual United Way Hometown Huddle, a series of volunteer projects implemented on the same day in NFL cities nationwide, teams will be rebuilding playgrounds, hosting youth football clinics and helping kids stay active for 60 minutes a day, as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health-and-fitness campaign.
Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with an impressive roster of partner organizations -- Action for Healthy Kids, Ad Council, American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Home Depot, HOPSports, Kellogg's, JC Penney, National Dairy Council, Nickelodeon, Nike, United Way and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Since the program was launched last year, the NFL has committed $90 million to youth health and fitness through programming, grants and media time for public service announcements.
"Our players recognize the value of staying healthy and it's important that young fans also understand the benefits of exercise," said commissioner Roger Goodell, who will participate in a league office Hometown Huddle event today in Manhattan, in partnership with the United Way of New York City. "PLAY 60 is a significant tool in ensuring children get their necessary daily physical activity."
The 10th Annual Hometown Huddle is part of United Way's nationwide call-to-action for individuals to LIVE UNITED™ -- to give, advocate and volunteer on issues relating to education, income or health. United Way has declared bold, 10-year goals in each of those three areas. In the area of health, the goal is to increase by one-third the percentage of healthy youth and adults by 2018. Preventing and controlling childhood obesity is one aspect of meeting this goal.
As part of the day's focus on fitness, teams will engage their communities with the following events:
Buffalo Bills*: On October 14, the Bills will partner with HOPSports, an interactive fitness training system for kids for their Hometown Huddle event. Bills players will help children at a local school learn how to use the training system and will discuss the importance of health, nutrition and staying active.
Detroit Lions:Lions players including Mike Furrey, Jason Hanson, Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams will participate in fitness activities with local kids and also will refurbish a fitness room at a Boys & Girls Club. The United Way and the Lions will also donate a HOPSports Training System to the club.
Houston Texans*: On October 14, the Texans 2008 Rookie Class will visit the Youngblood Intermediate School and introduce students to basic concepts of health and fitness through the HOPSports program. Players will encourage students to adopt healthy lifestyles, succeed in school and set positive life goals.
Indianapolis Colts: The team will be hosting a fitness/nutrition event at the John H. Community Center and will provide area students with information on the importance of staying fit and eating right.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints will emphasize the importance of youth fitness by working to 'jump start' a local school's physical education department. Saints players will be paired up with 48 students to build and paint picnic tables and benches to beautify the school's new courtyard. Afterward, the students and players will participate in a Field Day.
San Diego Chargers: Players and cheerleaders will spend the day raising funds for a local children's hospital.
Seattle Seahawks*: On October 21, Seahawks players will be joined by their mascot and the Sea Gals at First Place School, an elementary school and social services agency for children and families struggling with the risks and realities of homelessness. The team will be purchasing physical activity equipment for the school.
Tennessee Titans: The Titans will host kids for a day of play at Martha O'Bryan Center, an inner-city non-profit agency that focuses on after-school programs. Titans players, led by LB David Thornton, will speak with kids about the importance of physical fitness through the Play 60/What Moves U program. In addition, the players, along with Titans cheerleaders, will join the youth at various fitness stations using Action for Healthy Kids Re-Charge kits.
Washington Redskins:Redskins players including Santana Moss, James Thrash, Malcolm Kelly, Kareem Moore, Justin Tryon, Matt Sinclair, and Ladell Betts will promote youth health and fitness through the installation of two HOPSports Fitness Training System for local kids in Alexandria, VA and Prince George's County, MD.
- indicates date exception because of team conflict or bye week