The Green Bay Packers, CBS-5 WFRV, and the Green Bay Area Public School District have teamed up to fight childhood obesity.
The National Institutes of Health reports that one in five children is overweight -- a number that has doubled in the last two to three decades. This epidemic can be attributed in part to increased consumption of processed and fast food and lack of physical activity by our nation's youth.
During a media conference Monday inside Lambeau Field, leaders introduced a program called 'Fit Kids.' Speakers at the event included Green Bay Packers executive vice president/COO John Jones and defensive end Aaron Kampman. Also speaking on behalf of the program were Superintendent Daniel Nerad of the Green Bay Area Public School District and WFRV CBS-5 General Manager R. Perry Kidder.
'Fit Kids' is a fourth grade curriculum that focuses on the physical, nutritional and social health of children. The eight themes include: 'Get Together,' 'Get Out,' 'Get Fueled,' 'Get Cooking,' 'Get Moving,' 'Get Bendy,' 'Get Happy' and 'Get Fit.' This year, about 1,300 Green Bay Area Public School District fourth graders will participate in the 'Fit Kids' program.
The program will allow children to track progress in each of the areas and feature mid-winter and summer recognition events at Lambeau Field, which Jones says is an added incentive for the kids.
"We're going to have a kids clinic at Lambeau Field next summer for every child who achieves their individual goals and who successfully completes the program," Jones said. "Going to Lambeau Field is a very special event for those of us at any age.
"'Fit Kids' will help our players keep contact with fourth graders for fun, fitness, and feeling good. Those players will be led by Kampman, Ahman Green, Ryan Longwell and Marco Rivera, just to name a few."
Nerad said that 'Fit Kids' is an important asset to the school curriculum.
"We have an issue in our society that we need to pay attention to, and that is the physical fitness of our children," he said. "The percentage of kids that are overweight today does beg our focus. I am extremely grateful to the Packers and CBS-5 for asking us to be a part of this.
"I also want to thank our teacher leaders in the school district who helped develop the curriculum. This will enliven the curriculum because when kids have fun, they learn more. What's great is that this program won't focus just on physical education and health, but also on reading and writing."
Part of the program will focus on videos, which involve Packers players such as Rivera who appeared in last month's video.
"We will be producing videos each month that focus on exercise, activities, nutrition and a number of other health topics," Kidder said. "We want the kids to have fun, but at the same time be involved in the activities."
Aaron Ludolph, who will be in seventh grade at Lombardi Middle School, thinks the program will work well.
"Kids need to make sure that they get enough exercise and play around as much as they can," Ludolph said. "They also need to drink as much water as they can in the summertime. I think with the Packers this will work well because we get to see our heroes."
One of those heroes is Kampman. He said that he's just glad the Packers can help kids maintain good health and stay in shape.
"It's about the kids and there is a problem in our youth today with overweight issues," Kampman said. "As Green Bay Packers, we are able to be role models for the kids. When I grew up we used to play tag and were active outside instead of just playing video games.
"This is a great chance for us to interact with these fourth grade students. We just want them to be outside and be active, even if it is something like just running around. That's what being a kid is all about."