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In October 2006, the "NFL Play 60 Challenge" program commenced nationally under the sponsorship of the NFL (National Football League) Charities. The NFL Charities is a non-profit organization that facilitates collective league contribution to charitable causes on a national scale and was formed in 1973.  Its programs incorporate a number of elements which are exemplified by an in-school course and a program-specific learning material. The program also includes kids-friendly and fitness-focused website which offer games, contests, and prizes. Furthermore, the program runs a number of public awareness campaigns such as radio presentations, prints, Public Service Announcements (PSA) as well as television programs. It makes use of its best assets - its players - as models to the kids to show the importance of being active and healthy, (NFL Charities Annual Report 2008-2009).

Recently, the NFL Charities awarded a three-year, $1.8 million grant to The Cooper Institute. This grant was aimed at supporting the prevention of childhood obesity and encouraging good health as part of the NFL PLAY 60. This grant will go to FITNESSGRAM, an affiliate of the Cooper Institute. FITNESSGRAM is a physical fitness assessment tool which will be used to measure students' health. The 9th edition of the FITNESSGRAM is aimed at creating heightened parental awareness for their children's fitness levels through the introduction of a practical way through which Physical Education (P.E.) instructors can report on the outcomes of physical activity and fitness assessments. The Cooper Institute is devoted to precautionary medicine research and training.


To liftoff the NFL's Play 60 program, more than 25 clubs affiliated to the NFL helped establish Youth Fitness Zones in their communities which presented new channels through which the local youth could be active. The Fitness Zone project is a part of the National Football League's yearly Hometown Huddle, a partnership with the United Way and involves a League-wide day of fitness services. These zones are team proprietary rooms or buildings which are designed to assist youth of all ages get their 60 minutes of physical activity everyday.

Schools have been given the opportunity to play a critical role in getting students active. The National Football League PLAY 60 is evident all year round with all 32 NFL Clubs within different communities. NFL players make visits to school to talk about the importance of health and fitness, help in building new places where children could play, and take part in Public Service Announcements (PSAs). Moreover, NFL teams work with private, non-profit and government associates within the different communities involved with a commitment to making the next generation of youth the most active and healthy, NFL Charities Annual Report 2008-2009).

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One of the main aims of the campaign is to tackle childhood obesity by making kids active through in-school, afterschool and team-based programs. This is in regard to findings which show that childhood obesity rates are soaring high today with statistics indicating that nearly one in every three kids and youth in the United States are overweight or obese. We recognize the fact that physical activity results in overall physical, social and psychological benefits, and that an inactive child is likely to become an inactive adult. This is one of the reasons as to why the National Football League and the American Heart Association came together and came up with the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge which was previously known as "What Moves U".

Some of the grants offered by NFL Charities' such as medical research grants are aimed at making the game of football and all athletics benign by supporting a broad range of proposals. With tis in mind, $1.5 million is allotted every year for grants in areas such as innovations in injury treatment, sports injury prevention, and other associated problems that affect the health and performance of athletes. Having made this observation, football happens to be one of the main activities that NFL sponsors every year.

Through its two most important in-school programs - the PLAY 60 Challenge in corporation with the American Heart Association and the National Dairy Council - support the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) program which is aimed at encouraging up to about 200,000 students to partake in its programs this year. This is heightened by the fact that it is supported by the First Lady's Office which sees the initiative as a great way for kids to be active and healthy.

The program also brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with a striking list of partner organizations. Some of the most notable organizations that have partnered with NFL are exemplified by: Action for Healthy Kids, United Way, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Nike, and The Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The collaboration between the NFL, its Clubs and Gatorade has created grass root, team-based, community outreach programs for youth aged between 7 and 14, NFL Charities Annual Report 2008-2009). Members of Gatorade Jr. Training campsites have the chance to get acquainted with football related skills in a non-contact environment.

NFL in collaboration with Palatine, Illinois Company Exergame Fitness came up with new and exiting interactive kids' area where children could play products of Exergaming such as Dance Revolution (Dance and Step Game), T-Wall (Interactive Light Wall) and Dance as part of the initiative of for Chicago families to keep their children together with themselves healthy and active. Physical activities and fitness do not only improve ones health. Latest research findings have shown that physical activity and fitness levels are related to enhanced academic outcomes, such as attendance and discipline (i.e. alcohol, drugs, violence and truancy) and academic performance.

Another activity by the NFL in New York is the Super Bowl XLII which brings much more than football to the residents of Phoenix. During the course of the week which precedes the game, more than forty charitable community outreach programs and activities enliven and augment the community thereby providing lifelong legacies. The week's activities would also involve the announcement of the annual Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award followed by a festival to commemorate the positive influence that NFL Youth Education Town initiative is having to the society.

In conclusion, it is important to make sure that children remain healthy and strong through out their growth and development process. This can only be achieved through encouraging participation in interactive activities which will not only facilitate their physical growth but their mental and psychological development as well. Disorders such as overweight and obesity can as well be minimized through frequent activities. In this regard, National Football League has embarked on a productive course of trying to alleviate the occurrence of obesity. NFL's activities which ran yearly serve as the best channels through which children can be exposed to active roles at an early age. Therefore, I would encourage people to take part in these activities. Furthermore, there are opportunities through which interested participants may apply as volunteers in these activities hence help create a difference in the life of a kid. This initiative is not only aimed at kids and teens but also to adults who have their children's' special interests and concerns in their hearts.

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