Pittsford, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–June 22, 2007–The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) through its contract with the Ad Council join the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) today to launch a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to prevent childhood obesity by encouraging physical activity among children. The new ads, which feature LPGA players Lorena Ochoa, Karrie Webb and Natalie Gulbis and urge families to “get up and play an hour a day,” will be unveiled this morning by LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens at the 31st annual Wegmans LPGA tournament in Pittsford, N.Y.
According to the HHS’ Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, nearly two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Moreover, the percentage of young people who are overweight has more than tripled since 1980 with more than 10 million school age children in America currently considered overweight. In addition to the psychological and social issues of stigmatization, overweight children are at far greater risk of growing into adults who have cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases that may reduce the length and quality of their lives.
“The HealthierUS initiative is a national effort to prevent and reduce the costs of disease, improve people’s lives and promote community health and wellness,” stated Dr. John Agwunobi, Assistant Secretary of Health, who will represent the Department at the launch. “We are grateful for the support and applaud the LPGA’s interest in this initiative.”
In a continuing effort to address and prevent childhood obesity, HHS through its contract with the Ad Council partnered with the LPGA to create the new television, print and Internet PSAs, which encourage families to engage in more physical activity. The “Be a Player” ads are an extension of the Ad Council’s Coalition for Healthy Children initiative, as well as HHS’ Obesity Prevention campaign, which launched in 2004 and aims to inspire children and families to lead healthy lifestyles. The PSAs, which are available in both English and Spanish, were created pro bono by GSD&M and produced by Kestrel Communications with a grant from the UPS Foundation.
“Our ongoing partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services is having a significant impact in inspiring Americans to adopt healthy behaviors, but we have a long way to go,” according to Priscilla Natkins, executive vice president, director of client services at the Ad Council. “We are grateful to the LPGA for this wonderful new series of PSAs that will show families how they can get healthy together – the LPGA players are ideal spokespeople for our ‘get up and play’ message.”
“Our players consider health and fitness regimens vital to their well-being on and off the course,” says Carolyn F. Bivens, LPGA commissioner. “The LPGA is delighted to join the Ad Council and Health & Human Services in promoting healthy lifestyles so that our members can extend their commitment to healthy living by sharing the message to families across the country.”
The Wegmans LPGA tournament is the designated Tour stop for launching the joint initiative, as the PSAs’ messaging aligns closely with Wegmans Food Markets’ commitment to healthy living. Throughout the tournament, the PSAs will be featured in the Wegmans LPGA Web cast and on a large video wall overlooking the 18th hole, as well as throughout the ESPN2 telecast. In an effort to extend the reach of the campaign, Wegmans will also be showcasing the “Be a Player” print ads in their stores throughout the region.
“We’re thrilled to be part of this wonderful effort, because the message aligns perfectly with our own initiatives to help customers, employees and their families live healthier lives,” says Colleen Wegman, president of Wegmans Food Markets. “We are especially proud that the Wegmans LPGA was chosen as the place to launch this important campaign.”
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 the Wegmans LPGA on ESPN2. Additional networks, including Golf Channel and CBS, have committed to support the campaign during their telecasts throughout the remainder of the LPGA Tour schedule.
In addition to the new LPGA creative, 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 Health 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.
Since the campaign launch in March 2004, the Obesity Prevention PSAs, which include the “Can Your Food Do That?” and “Small Steps” campaigns, have received more than $327 million in donated media support. As a result, Ad Council tracking research reveals a significant increase in the number of adults reporting healthier habits (16% to 23%) and levels of physical activity have risen dramatically (45% to 56%). Additionally, those adults who have seen the ads are twice as likely to be doing something about their diet and exercise habits versus those who have not seen the PSAs. Furthermore, 30 percent of children say they are eating healthier foods as a result of seeing the ads.
For more information about the Obesity Prevention campaign, and to learn how adults and children can lead a healthier lifestyle, log onto http://www.smallstep.gov and http://www.HealthierUS.gov.
Ladies Professional Golf Association
Featuring the world’s best women golfers, the LPGA’s membership includes touring, teaching and club professionals. The LPGA Tour in 2007 features 35 events, with total prize money of nearly $55 million. Since 1981, the LPGA and its tournaments have raised approximately $180 million for charity. From the dreams of its 13 founders in 1950, the LPGA has evolved into the world’s pre-eminent women’s professional sports organization. The LPGA has grown from its roots as a playing tour into a non-profit organization involved in every facet of golf. In addition to the LPGA Tour members, the LPGA membership includes nearly 1,200 certified Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) who serve the golf industry in teaching, coaching and management positions. The LPGA T&CP member programs focus on increasing the involvement of women, girls and youth in golf, as well as contribute to the growth of the sport overall. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. For more information on the LPGA, log on to http://www.LPGA.com.
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government’s principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities, including health and social science research, preventing disease, including immunization services, assuring food and drug safety, and Medicare and Medicaid.
The Advertising Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit http://www.adcouncil.org.
The goal of the Ad Council’s Coalition for Healthy Children is to help address the obesity crisis that confronts our nation and its children. Its mission is to provide clear, consistent, research-based messages to children and parents on the importance of practicing a healthier lifestyle and offer them the means to do it. This can be achieved by harnessing the combined strengths of marketers, media companies, non-profit groups and government agencies. The Coalition’s members have made a commitment to the promotion of healthy living to our nation’s families and have agreed to incorporate the Coalition’s messages into their own communications programs. For more information about the Coalition, please visit http://www.HealthyChildrenCoalition.org.