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CNN’s Fit Nation Team Steps Up to Build New Orleans Playground


CNN and Cox Communications New Orleans recently made a contribution to KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds, to continue their long-term commitment to the renewal of the New Orleans community after Hurricane Katrina. CNN’s Fit Nation, a multi-platform initiative to stop obesity, will launch its first activity in 2008 at Pontiff Park in Metairie, La., to emphasize the benefits of a healthy lifestyle as the region continues its recovery from nearly three years ago.

As part of that contribution, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and other CNN employees will join volunteers from the community and Cox Communications New Orleans to rebuild the playground at Pontiff Park on Saturday, June 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (CT). The park design is based on drawings provided by children from the community who attended a KaBOOM! “Design Day”event in April.

Gupta will also tape House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta from the build site, interviewing local community leaders who come out to help. House Call is a program dedicated to the latest health and medical developments and airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (CT).

“I had the opportunity to see the destruction Katrina caused first-hand while I was reporting from New Orleans after the hurricane,”Gupta said. "I’m glad that Fit Nation can contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region by creating a space for the community to use in achieving an active lifestyle.”

Hurricane Katrina damaged the park when five feet of water covered the grounds for nearly two weeks. The new playground will provide more than 10,000 children annually with a place to play in Jefferson Parish.

Video excerpts of the build will appear on, which also includes an interactive special section featuring fitness success stories, tips for staying fit and weekly updates from Gupta and CNN’s medical unit.

The playground build marks the first Fit Nation activity in 2008. CNN’s Fit Nation initiative began in 2006 as an ongoing multi-platform initiative to stop obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles. Over the past two years, Fit Nation and Gupta have traveled across the country engaging people in their own communities to get more active and develop local programs to meet the challenges of being overweight. In July and August, the Fit Nation mobile tour will visit cities across the United States, including Dallas, Seattle, Minneapolis, Minn., and Columbus, Ohio.

“Cox New Orleans continuously strives to better the communities it serves,”said Greg Bicket, senior vice president and general manager of Cox New Orleans. "Working with KaBOOM! has proved a perfect fit for the company’s local outreach efforts. Cox works to improve the quality of life in the greater New Orleans area and stresses the importance of employees’ active involvement post-Katrina in rebuilding, improving and renewing Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard and St. Charles parishes.” -more-

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with CNN and Cox in this endeavor,”said Darell Hammond, KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder. "We’re optimistic that promoting healthy and active lifestyles through PSAs and other programming on CNN will produce positive change on multiple fronts. There’s no question that increasing the amount of time children play on a playground is a critical component to our goal of improving fitness and health.”

KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America. Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,400 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America. KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif. For more information, visit

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery, plays an integral role in the network’s medical coverage, which includes American Morning, the weekend show House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, contributes health news stories to, writes a column for TIME magazine, is a contributor to CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. In 2007, Gupta’s first book, Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today, became a national bestseller.

CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media.

Cox Communications is a multi-service broadband communications and entertainment company with 6.2 million total residential and commercial customers. The third-largest cable television company in the United States, Cox offers an array of advanced digital video, high-speed Internet and telephony services over its own nationwide IP network. Cox Business is a full-service, facilities-based provider of communications solutions for commercial customers, providing high-speed Internet, voice and long distance services, as well as data and video transport services for small to large-sized businesses. Cox Media offers national and local cable advertising in traditional spot and new media formats, along with promotional opportunities and production services. Cox Communications wholly owns and operates the Travel Channel. More information about the services of Cox Communications, a wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, is available at,, and


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