Across the country, National Football League (NFL) players are teaming up with United Way to engage more NFL fans in improving the health and wellness of young people. This week, Matthew Slater, special teams ace and three time Pro Bowler for the New England Patriots joined a group of local kids from South Shore Stars for a United Way photo shoot as part of a nationwide campaign by United Way and the NFL to increase awareness about childhood obesity and inspire more people to get involved in helping kids get active and healthy.
“I’m just really excited to be out here today on behalf of the NFL, PLAY60 and United Way,” said Slater. “I think it’s so important for our youth to stay active, put the right things in their body, and then they will feel better about themselves. It’s going to be very beneficial for our youth if we can get them to stay active and stay healthy.”
“Matthew Slater, along with the entire Patriots organization, has been a great partner of United Way in our efforts to recruit volunteers and better prepare more young people for success in school and in life,” said Michael K. Durkin, president at United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. “We can all play a role in providing all of our young people with opportunities and resources to stay healthy.”
Lack of physical activity and poor nutrition are responsible for much of America’s obesity crisis. Approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese, increasing their risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes. Given that a nutritious diet and regular physical activity is essential to good health, United Way is working to increase access to nutritious foods for families and increase opportunities for physical exercise and play.
“We know that students who are physically fit score above average on state assessments in reading and math and miss fewer days of school,” said Stacey D. Stewart, U.S. President of United Way Worldwide. “The bottom line is that kids with access to healthy food options and regular physical activity feel better and perform better in work, school and life, which is why we’re so excited about this new campaign with the NFL.”
This photo shoot is one of many happening in communities across the nation with NFL teams and players. Fans can follow the journey at facebook.com/TeamNFL or #NFLUnitedWayRoadTrip.
Billboards featuring Matthew Slater and kids will begin appearing in the New England market in the fall, and the 2014 football season will bring new opportunities for fans to join United Way and NFL PLAY 60 in making the next generation of youth the most active and healthy. Fans interested in getting involved can register at www.unitedway.org/teamnfl.