SAN DIEGO, Calif. – April 30, 2002 – In December of 2001, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General published a Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity among all Americans. In response, The American Council on Exercise (ACE) and Operations FitKids, ACE’s youth outreach program, continues to advocate a healthy and fit lifestyle for America's youth and the entire nation by providing education, certification and public benefit.
According to then-Surgeon General, David Satcher, this national health problem now accounts for more than 300,000 deaths per year, and cost the country over $117 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity.
Approximately three-quarters of obese teens will remain obese in adulthood. Through ACE, OFK provides fitness facilities to communities in need. Working with local high schools, organizations, and youth groups, Operation FitKids creates fitness centers, at minimal cost, to provide adolescents and teenagers with greater access to comprehensive physical fitness programs.
Operation FitKids was established in 1990 and is dedicated to improving the health and fitness of America's youth. Operation FitKids has arranged for the donation of more than $6 million in equipment (accounting for nearly 8,000 exercise machines) to 150 facilities in cities including New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, Portland, Houston, San Antonio, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Orlando, Chicago and Miami. In the last three years alone, over 30 facilities have been completed.
OFK recently was selected to participate in Arnold’s All Star After School Program, sponsored and created by international entertainment superstar, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The program will provide academic, recreation, enrichment and fitness components to help young people do well in school and life.
The Call to Action indicates that today, 61% of all American adults are either overweight (34%, or 68 million people) or obese (27%, or 54 million); and, during the last 20 years, the number of children (6-11) who are overweight has nearly doubled (from 7% to 13%), while the number of adolescents (12-19) who are overweight has tripled (from 5% to 14%).
“These numbers are extremely frightening, America needs to seriously consider its future as an overweight nation and teach its children the value of an active lifestyle,” said Ken Germano, ACE executive director and founder of Operation FitKids. “OFK has emerged as a leading program in the area of youth fitness, helping thousands of children experience the benefits of physical fitness each year, giving them a safe and productive place to spend their time.”
In OFK’s 12-year history, OFK has launched more than 150 sites throughout the Unites States. The most recent facility is located at the West Valley Transitional Learning Center, in Phoenix, AZ. To learn more about how Operation FitKids improves the physical fitness and well being of America’s children visit www.operationfitkids.org.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), America’s Authority on Fitness, is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the benefits of physical activity and protecting consumers against unsafe and ineffective fitness products and instruction. As the nation’s “workout watchdog,” ACE sponsors university-based exercise science research and testing that targets fitness products and trends. ACE sets standards for fitness professionals and is the world’s largest nonprofit fitness certifying organization. For more information on ACE and its programs, call (800) 825-3636 or log onto the ACE Web site at www.acefitness.org.