The Influence of Football Players: NFL PLAY 60

Childhood obesity is an unfortunate epidemic that has swept through the United States and has been heightened in the past several years. Unhealthy food and lazy lifestyles are at our disposal and therefore have plagued the country by storm. To address this epidemic, I’ve seen a couple of efforts by various organizations to turn this young plagued generation into a healthy, active group of kids. The coolest effort I’ve seen was started by the NFL in 2007.

Photo Credit: Flickr // United Way of Greater St. Louis

One of my favorite campaigns that addresses the epidemic is the NFL PLAY 60, “a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.” The NFL’s commitment to health and fitness partnered with other organizations, combine to make a stand against the expected health decline of kids.

Photo Credit: Flickr // West Point Public Affairs

The organization’s efforts include grassroots implementations in schools and communities all over the nation. Not only are the efforts aimed at kids to be more active, but for parents to communicate to their children the importance of a healthy lifestyle by setting a good example as to how to lead a healthy and active life. While not every school is visited by the official PLAY 60 program, schools are encourage to initiate their own efforts supporting the movement’s message. PSA’s are also shown on television and if you haven’t seen any of the cool ads I have linked some here and here.

The NFL is promoting a bigger cause, something more than the organization itself. Many kids look up to NFL players as role models and strive to one day fill their shoes. While very few may actually make it to the NFL, athletes can use their popularity to encourage kids to stay healthy. The leverage and influence that big name football players have on these little dreamers is unbelievable and the NFL is making a sincere effort to use the big guys to positively influence the future generations. By expressing the importance and the fun behind being active, NFL athletes can create a much needed wave in healthy lifestyle trends.

Photo Credit: Flickr // United Way of Greater St. Louis

This public relations effort by the NFL is not only smart and needed, but it reflects well on the league as a whole. It’s inevitable that at least a few of these kids will grow up to eventually play in the NFL, so it makes sense that the league puts forth the charitable efforts to the younger generation. The league is relating big time football players to a generation that needs coaching the most. At a grassroots level, the NFL is making a positive impact on our little ones by leading by example. The NFL organization is using it’s powerful influence in a needed and refreshing way.