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Mario Lopez of Dancing with the Stars Joins PepsiCo’s Smart Spot Dance! Initiative at the McCormick Tribune YMCA in Chicago To Engage the Latino Community to Get Active


Multicultural Study Reports Dancing As A Fun, Better Way to Increase Physical Activity

PepsiCo Partners with National Council of La Raza, the YMCA and America On the Move To Launch Initiative That Encourages The Latino Community To Lead Healthy, More Active Lifestyles

PURCHASE, N.Y., March 30 - Mario Lopez of Dancing with the Stars joins PepsiCo’s Smart Spot Dance! initiative, a multi-city instructional dance program that offers a fun way for families, especially Moms, to lead healthy, more active lifestyles. The event takes place at 7 pm tonight at the McCormick Tribune YMCA at 1834 N. Lawndale in Chicago. The program is an outreach to the Latino communities to promote dance as a way to increase physical activity.

Lopez will join the community in a dance program led by Broadway choreographer Maria Torres. Local leaders of key community organizations will participate including Liany Elba Arroyo, director of the Institute of Hispanic Health for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Lee Concha, director of public relations and communications of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.

“From an early age, my mother instilled in me a belief in the health and lifestyle benefits associated with dance,” said Lopez. “I look forward to traveling around the country and speaking to local communities about healthier living through dance.”

A multicultural study released by America On the Move (AOM), a national non-profit organization that provides individuals, families, organizations and communities with free, practical and trusted weight management solutions, reported that people who dance can benefit more than people who walk by almost doubling the amount of physical activity they can achieve in the same amount of time. The study was funded by PepsiCo.

“This study is exciting because it shows us that dancing is just as good as -- if not better than -- walking as a way to stay in shape,” Hill said. “AOM wants lifestyle changes to be simple and fun, and dancing is something many people already do on a regular basis. We encourage people across the country to work dancing into living healthier.”

One of AOM’s key goals is to give individuals a variety of ways to increase their daily steps. As the pioneer of the “small changes” approach, AOM has demonstrated that weight gain can be stopped by balancing calories consumed with calories burned through physical activity -- this is known as “energy balance.” AOM’s research proves that a simple way to achieve energy balance and stop weight gain is by taking an additional 2,000 steps and eating 100 fewer calories a day.

Through dance, people who participated in the study nearly doubled the number of steps taken per minute -- easily achieving and oftentimes exceeding the additional 2,000 steps. A typical walker accumulates about 100 steps per minute. During dancing, people can accumulate up to 200 steps per minute depending on the type of dance. Study participants reported that dance is an entertaining way to increase steps without thinking of the activity as exercise.

“Based on the study’s findings, PepsiCo is launching the Smart Spot Dance! initiative that intends to empower and motivate the Latino and African American communities to adopt healthier, more active lifestyles,” said David Gonzales, PepsiCo vice president of community affairs. "We’ll engage the community through dance, which is a fun, culturally relevant way for families to get active and we’ll educate our consumers about our Smart Spot products that can contribute to healthier lifestyles.

“We’re proud to work alongside three highly respected community organizations that are as committed to health and wellness as we are,” he said. “Through this partnership, we’re confident that this initiative is another step toward making a difference in these communities.”

PepsiCo is teaming up with the McCormick Tribune YMCA and the NCLR to enlist their membership to participate in the program.

“While the Y has a long history of providing health and fitness programs, we’re continually challenged to find new ways to keep people motivated and engaged. The trick is getting them to forget it’s exercise. Focus on the fun and the health benefits will follow,” said Concha.

“Smart Spot Dance is a great way to show everyone, and in particular busy and hard-working Latino mothers, that exercise doesn’t have to mean joining an expensive gym or buying a treadmill. Making exercise fun and consistent with what people already like to do significantly increases the chance that people will stick with it,” said Arroyo.

At tonight’s event, Lopez will join Broadway choreographer Maria Torres in a high-energy, easy-to-follow dance routine that teaches the community the latest moves through a fusion of Latin jazz and urban rhythms. Registered dietician Claudia Gonzalez will be on-hand to provide counsel on how to live healthier, more active lifestyles and recipes will be distributed. Each participant will receive a DVD of the dance routine, a pedometer to measure daily steps and other collateral materials.

Each event will be videotaped and participants can visit, click on the Smart Spot Dance! logo to see themselves, family and friends dancing. This is a bilingual site that highlights each event, features an event-by-event diary from Lopez, the dance instruction routine by Maria Torres, a dance track to learn the steps, and Latin and R&B music to download so people can create their own dance video and upload the videos to the site. People can vote for their favorite dance and each month the Top 10 dance videos will be featured. Later this year, PepsiCo will release a “dance-YOU-mentary,” the first-ever documentary featuring consumer-generated dance videos from these communities, with the debut slated to run on and

The Smart Spot Dance! initiative also includes a partnership with the National Urban League to reach out to African American communities to encourage physical activity through dance and educate the communities about healthier eating. LaChanze, the Tony award winning actress from the Color Purple, and Jeannette Jordan, a registered dietician, will visit several cities targeting the African American communities.

The Smart Spot Dance! initiative will travel to Chicago (March 30 with Mario Lopez/Claudia Gonzalez and April 24 with LaChanze/Jeannette Jordan), Houston (May 10 with LaChanze and Jeannette Jordan), Los Angeles (May 31 with Mario Lopez/Claudia Gonzalez), Miami (July 20-21 at the NCLR national conference with Mario Lopez/Claudia Gonzalez), St. Louis (July 27-28 at the NUL national conference with LaChanze/Jeannette Jordan) and Washington, DC (September 26 with LaChanze/Jeannette Jordan, and October 1 with Mario Lopez/Claudia Gonzalez).

PepsiCo is committed to playing a responsible and constructive role in health and wellness. The company recognizes its responsibility to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles -- beginning with its products. In 2004, PepsiCo launched the Smart Spot symbol -- the green symbol of Smart Choices Made Easy. This symbol is a simple labeling system that makes it easier for consumers to identify PepsiCo products that contribute to a healthier lifestyle and explains why each product is a better choice.

Products that feature the Smart Spot symbol meet established nutrition criteria based on authoritative statements from the Food and Drug Administration and the National Academy of Sciences or provide other functional benefits. The Smart Spot symbol appears on more than 250 PepsiCo products including Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice, Aquafina water, Gatorade Thirst Quencher, Baked! Lay’s, Quaker Oatmeal and Diet Pepsi, among many others.

PepsiCo’s journey to offer healthier choices started literally decades ago when the company was the first to offer a diet soft drink. That innovation in beverages was followed by moving beyond soft drinks into non-carbonated drinks -- where today, the company is the leader in bottled water, juices, and ready-to-drink tea.

In the late ’90s, PepsiCo moved to transform the company further with the acquisition of Tropicana, which includes a wide range of added benefits like Calcium and Fiber.

In 2001, PepsiCo merged with Quaker Oats, which brought a portfolio of healthy cereals and grains, along with Gatorade.

Since that time, PepsiCo has been transforming its “core” portfolio of beverages and snacks to play a role in improved diets -- using new technologies, accelerating innovation and exploring new territories to find ways to give consumers a greater variety of healthier choices.

That includes taking steps to improve the healthfulness of the company’s existing products. For example:

* Frito-Lay was the first food company to completely and voluntarily eliminate trans fats from its products;
* Following that move, Frito-Lay recently reduced saturated fats in Lay’s and Ruffles potato chips by more than 50% by switching to sunflower oil -- a heart healthy oil;
* Quaker Breakfast Bars are 25 percent lower in sugar than the leading cereal bars;
* Tropicana Light ’n Healthy has one-half the sugar and the calories of regular orange juice; and,
* Propel Fitness Water has added calcium.

The company is committed to going much further. In fact, 50 percent of PepsiCo’s new food and beverage products are expected to be comprised of wholesome and nutritious ingredients or offer improved health benefits.

PepsiCo continues to experience impressive growth results across all its North American businesses with its Smart Spot products. In 2006, more than 40% of the company’s North American revenues came from products that are Smart Spot eligible, reflecting consumers’ demand for healthier products. PepsiCo emphasizes the importance of energy balance -- balancing calories consumed and calories burned.

As a result, the company is committed to providing products that contribute to a healthier lifestyle as well as supporting programs that promote more active lifestyles.


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