Feb 27, 2013 • By

Partnering in the fight against childhood obesity

The General Mills Foundation joined First Lady Michelle Obama at a Let’s Move! event Thursday in Chicago. That same day General Mills announced that we’re joining the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) as the inaugural presidential sponsor of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program aimed at helping kids stay physically active.

 

“With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active,” the first lady said. “But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative. “That’s what Let’s Move! Active Schools is all about – it’s about all of us coming together to once again make being active a way of life for our kids. And with today’s announcement, anyone, in any community, can become a champion to bring physical education back to their school.”

As a child, you may have participated in the well-known “presidential fitness test” developed 50 years ago, which measured a student’s athletic fitness through a series of events, including push-ups, pull-ups (or the bent-arm hang) and a distance run.

This test was replaced last September with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), a comprehensive school fitness program that places greater emphasis on cultivating lifelong skills and healthy habits.

To maximize the impact of this new program, the General Mills Foundation announced today that it has committed $10 million – the largest donation in the history of the General Mills Foundation – to help schools implement the program.

The $10 million commitment will be made over six years and includes both financial support and in-kind marketing expertise to raise awareness and participation in the program.

The goal is to reach an unprecedented 90 percent of schools – and more than 50 million students – in the U.S. by 2020.

Other partners joining PCFSN and the General Mills Foundation in this effort include the Amateur Athletic Union; The Cooper Institute®; American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD); and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our announcement today is just the latest in our more than 50-year commitment to promote active lifestyles.

 

In 1956, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower called the nation to action after a survey found that American children were far behind those in Europe in muscular strength and flexibility. General Mills and Wheaties were among the first to respond. Our Wheaties Sports Federation promoted youth fitness and education throughout the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s.

More recently, in 2002, we launched Champions for Healthy Kids (in partnership with PCFSN and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation), which was a 10-year initiative designed to improve kids’ nutrition and physical fitness through 50 yearly grants of $10,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States.

One such organization is Girls on the Run Chicago, which works to boost girls’ overall health and well-being through non-competitive sports, nutrition and health education, and leadership development. View the video.

It was exciting to be a part of the first lady’s Let’s Move! anniversary event today! The event made me even more eager to see the impact the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program will have in the coming years.

We look forward to being part of the solution to one of the most challenging problems of our time.