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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Ad Council Join NFL to Combat Childhood Obesity


NEW ORLEANS, LA -- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), the Ad Council and the National Football League (NFL) will join to launch a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to combat childhood obesity by encouraging physical activity among children. The new ads, which feature NFL players Reggie Bush (New Orleans Saints), Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers) and Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys), urge families to “get up and play an hour a day.” The PSAs will be unveiled this morning during the NFL’s United Way Hometown Huddle Event in New Orleans, part of the NFL’s national day of service. The ads will also air during NFL games throughout the football season.

“A healthy amount of physical activity can be fun, and kids can do it with games – on the playing field or in other ways,’’ said Acting Surgeon General RADM Steven Galson, M.D., M.P.H. “Seeing some of America’s elite athletes promoting these good health habits could encourage American kids and families to be active, too.’’

The “Be a Player” multimedia ad campaign, which encourages children to “get up and play an hour a day,” is an extension of HHS’ Obesity Prevention campaign that launched in 2004 and the Ad Council’s Coalition for Healthy Children initiative. The campaign message is also an important part of the NFL’s “Play 60” youth health and fitness initiative, a multi-year campaign, which launches today to encourage youth to achieve 60 minutes of activity a day. The PSAs are available in both English and Spanish and were created by the NFL and Curious Pictures, while DCODE produced the print and radio assets.

The PSAs are being distributed to media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council’s model, all of the new ads will air and run in advertising time and space donated by the media. To start, the PSAs will appear throughout NFL games beginning in the middle of October. Additional media outlets, including USA Today and Sports Illustrated, have committed to support the campaign during the next few months.

The new PSAs aim to reach children ages 6-13 to communicate the message that physical activity is fun and easy, and that you don’t need to be an athlete or join organized sports to stay healthy. In addition to the NFL players, the ads introduce new animated NFL characters, Mike “Good Manners” McMannis (a referee who flags kids for “lazy penalties”) and Wanda (a superhero-like cheerleader), who join the players in urging children to “get up and play an hour a day.” The characters will be featured in upcoming NFL youth fitness initiatives throughout the season.

The new PSAs drive youth to and for fun and interactive experiences to get healthy and be active. Both sites include information to keep kids fit, including NFL player blogs, games, wallpapers, and activities.

In addition to the new NFL spots, the Ad Council continues to promote the “Be a Player” physical activity message, along with communications focused on portion control and energy balance, through its Coalition for Healthy Children. The Coalition harnesses the combined strengths of major marketers, media, non-profit and government partners to combat childhood obesity through the dissemination of consistent, research-based messages to parents and children. This unique collaboration utilizes a national research study to evaluate progress and determine the effects of Coalition members’ initiatives.

For more information about the Childhood Obesity Prevention campaign, and to learn how adults and children can lead a healthier lifestyle, log onto


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