HASTINGS, Minn., Aug. 31 Nearly one out of every three American children is clinically overweight or obese. The health and well-being of future generations is undeniably at risk. And yet the fastest-growing fitness club chain in the world is about to launch a nationwide campaign featuring TV commercials and full-page ads in USA Today and People magazine which declare "There is no childhood obesity epidemic."
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What's up with that?
"Too much blame is being placed on the kids," says Chuck Runyon, Anytime Fitness CEO. "Adults need to step up and be better role models if we want our kids to be healthy. That's what this is all about."
The campaign will feature an organization called COAK - the Coalition of Angry Kids. The kids are "angry" because adults aren't doing enough to help children lead healthy lifestyles. (For a preview of the COAK TV commercials, visit COAK.org.)
The timing of the campaign is no accident. September is the first "National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month." Runyon predicts politicians and the media will suggest that kids need to put away their video games and cell phones and get outside and play. They'll also declare war on school lunches, fast food and vending machines.
"But nobody will be offering any real solutions," Runyon says. "Somebody needs the courage to stand up and say, 'The primary reason we have so many overweight kids is because they have poor role models: overweight adults.'"
Not convinced? Consider what researchers have recently concluded:
Runyon says Anytime Fitness wants to help adults get started on the road to healthy lifestyles. Beginning in September, more than 1,300 participating Anytime Fitness clubs will offer adults free 30-day memberships, free 30-minute personal training sessions and free 30-day access to online support via AnytimeHealth.com - no strings attached.
"It's our way of saying it's time to stop blaming the kids," Runyon says. "It's time to lead by example."
To find the nearest participating Anytime Fitness club, visit www.anytimefitness.com.
Fitness and nutritional experts from Anytime Fitness are available for interviews upon request.
The official COAK.org website will launch September 1st.
ABOUT ANYTIME FITNESS
Founded in 2002, Anytime Fitness provides nearly 1,000,000 members with convenient and affordable fitness options at more than 1,300 friendly, well-maintained facilities featuring top-quality exercise equipment. Members who join one Anytime Fitness club can use any of the other clubs at no additional charge. State-of-the-art security and surveillance systems ensure member safety even during unstaffed hours. For more information about Anytime Fitness, or to find the club nearest you, visit www.anytimefitness.com.
-- "If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that the children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese." - American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. -- "The Factor that puts children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents." -Stanford University of Medicine researchers. -- More than two-thirds of states (38 out of 50) now have adult obesity rates above 25 percent. In 1991, no state had an obesity rate above 20 percent
SOURCE Anytime Fitness