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National Council Of Youth Sports Unites With Leading Out-Of-School-Time Organizations To Combat Childhood Obesity. New initiative of ChildObesity180 has the potential to improve the health of tens of millions of children every year
December 2, 2011

The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) announced on Tuesday at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthier Future Summit its partnership with leading out-of-school-time organizations to unify principles for nutrition and physical activity.

The Healthy Kids Out of School initiative is a collaboration between the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the USA, the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League, Pop Warner, US Youth Soccer, the YMCA of the USA, and 4-H, as well as the National Council of Youth Sports.

The leaders of these organizations, convened by ChildObesity180, developed universal nutrition and physical activity principles from a broad list of evidenced-based recommendations for combating childhood obesity - marking the first time leaders from these groups have worked together toward a common goal.

"Healthy Kids Out of School represents a groundbreaking collaboration of major youth-focused groups in a new and strategic effort," said Peter Dolan, chairman of ChildObesity180. "These organizations are demonstrating the essential leadership and cooperation necessary to counter the childhood obesity epidemic and to meaningfully improve the health and well-being of the tens of millions children who participate in their programs."

NCYS president Dr. Wanda L. Rutledge said, "The National Council of Youth Sports is committed to enhancing the youth sports experience in America for all participants. A fundamental building block for this vision is healthy kids. For many children and their caregivers, there is a lack of knowledge about what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and what specific steps can be taken to make it so. For many more, there are significant barriers to success, including access to appropriate foods and beverages, adequate resources to pay for them, and cultural resistance to change."

A significant percentage of school-aged children in the U.S. are enrolled in out-of-school-time activities, including a large number of rural, urban, and low-income children who are particularly vulnerable to the poor health outcomes linked to childhood obesity. Because of this broad reach, out-of-school programs have been identified as a promising area for promoting healthy habits and preventing childhood obesity.

However, there has been variability in the quality of foods and beverages served and opportunities for physical activity offered to children participating in out-of-school-time programs.

Recognizing this opportunity for action, leaders from the nine ChildObesity180-affiliated organizations identified and agreed upon three sustainable, actionable principles that are sufficiently flexible for adaptation to local environments and cultures. They are:


  • Drink Right: Choose water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages.

  • Move More: Boost movement and physical activity in all programs.

  • Snack Smart: Fuel up on fruits and vegetables.



"Aligning these nine organizations with unifying principles ensures that the tens of millions of children who participate in out-of-school programs are consistently encouraged to eat and drink healthfully and to be active, regardless of where they spend their time out of school," said Dr. Christina D. Economos, associate professor at Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and director of ChildObesity180. "ChildObesity180 and its partners are committed to pursuing these kinds of results-oriented strategies that are innovative and ambitious and that champion the best interests of children and their futures."

Sally S. Johnson, executive director of the National Council of Youth Sports said, "We fully endorse the plain language behind the three principles of "Drink Right, Move More, Snack Smart" and believe that through wide-spread education, identification of local resources and the adoption of specific user-friendly implementation tips, we can help to curb the obesity epidemic and turn this trend around,"

In addition to developing the framework for these principles, the Healthy Kids Out of School initiative will also develop a comprehensive implementation plan to connect organizations with the local resources needed to help adopt the principles.

Healthy Kids Out of School is one of several major initiatives that ChildObesity180 will execute to combat childhood obesity. ChildObesity180 has elected to focus on four initial strategic priority areas, each of which addresses existing opportunities in current obesity prevention efforts and has the potential to significantly improve children’s health. The priority areas include children’s access to healthier food, physical activity, food marketing to children, and eating away from home or at restaurants.

About the National Council of Youth Sports
The National Council of Youth Sports (NCYS) is well-known for advocacy in promoting healthy lifestyles and safe environments for stronger neighborhoods and communities. Founded in 1979, the NCYS members comprises the who's who in the youth sports industry. Its membership represents more than 185 organizations/corporations serving more than 60,000,000 registered participants / 44,000,000 actual boys and girls participating in organized youth sports programs. NCYS is a united voice for amateur youth sports leading the industry in promoting and enhancing the value of participation through advocacy and education. The NCYS is the largest known organization in America reaching broad and deep into the grassroots of America's heartland with a passion to create a better, more wholesome society. To learn more about the NCYS, visit www.ncys.org

About ChildObesity180
ChildObesity180 fosters cross-sector collaboration to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time. Charter members are national leaders from the public, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors who are using their reach and expertise to drive an integrated national strategy of high-impact initiatives to prevent childhood obesity. ChildObesity180 is chaired by Peter Dolan and directed and co-directed by leading obesity researchers Christina Economos, PhD, and Miriam Nelson, PhD, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Founded in 2009, ChildObesity180 is conducted in collaboration with Tufts University; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation serves as a core strategic partner of ChildObesity180. For more information, visit www.ChildObesity180.org.

Contacts
Sally S. Johnson, CSA, IOM
National Council of Youth Sports
sally@ncys.org
(772) 781-1452

Molly B. Newman MS, RD
ChildObesity180 - Healthy Kids Out of School
mollyb.newman@tufts.edu
(617) 636-3566