Partnering In The Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Partnering In The Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Multimedia from this Release

Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 5:30pm


The General Mills Foundation joined First Lady Michelle Obama at a Let’s Move! event in Chicago today where it was announced that General Mills is joining the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) as the inaugural presidential sponsor of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program aimed at helping kids stay physically active.

“With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active,” said Michelle Obama. ”But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative. “That’s what Let’s Move! Active Schools is all about – it’s about all of us coming together to once again make being active a way of life for our kids. And with today’s announcement, anyone, in any community, can become a champion to bring physical education back to their school.”

As a child, you may have participated in the well-known “youth fitness test” developed 50 years ago, which measured a student’s athletic fitness through a series of events, including push-ups, pull-ups (or bent-arm hang) and a distance run.

This test was replaced last September with the Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), a comprehensive school fitness program that places greater emphasis on cultivating lifelong skills and healthy habits.

To maximize the impact of this new program, the General Mills Foundation announced today that it has committed $10 million – the largest donation in the history of the General Mills Foundation – to help schools implement the program.

The $10 million commitment will be made over six years and includes both financial support and in-kind marketing expertise to raise awareness and participation in the program.

The goal is to reach an unprecedented 90 percent of schools – and more than 50 million school-aged youth – in the U.S. by 2020.

Other partners joining PCFSN and the General Mills Foundation in this effort include the Amateur Athletic Union, The Cooper Institute®, American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Our announcement today is just the latest in our more than 50-year commitment to promote active lifestyles.

In 1956, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower called the nation to action after a survey found that American children were far behind those in Europe in muscular strength and flexibility. General Mills and Wheaties were among the first to respond – our Wheaties Sports Federation promoted youth fitness and education throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

More recently, in 2002, we launched Champions for Healthy Kids (in partnership with PCFSN and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation), which was a 10-year initiative designed to improve kids’ nutrition and physical fitness through 50 yearly grants of $10,000 to nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S.

One example is Girls on the Run Chicago, which works to boost girls’ overall health and well-being through non-competitive sports, nutrition and health education, and leadership development. View the video.

It was exciting to part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! anniversary event today! The event made me even more eager to see the impact the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program will have on youth fitness behaviors in the coming years.

This is just the beginning, and we know there is much work to do. But we remain committed to finding a solution.

Kim Nelson Kim Nelson is the senior vice president of External Relations at General Mills, based in Minneapolis, Minn. She oversees the General Mills Foundation, Corporate Communications, Government Relations, Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility. She began her career at General Mills in 1988.