Along with many other proponents of using exercise to create social change, I believe that children?s health advocates intent
on curbing childhood obesity must not only redouble their efforts with the food and beverage industry, but also spend
considerably more time and resources promoting the benefits of physical activity for children. With strong evidence that
distractions such as video games, cell phones and television are associated with childhood obesity, it?s clear that encouraging
more exercise needs to be a key part of the solution to this national epidemic.
Of course, promoting healthy eating is an important aspect of the war on childhood obesity. However, it is only one tactic
that warrants attention and spending. In a recent Reuters article titled, ?How Washington Lost the War on Childhood Obesity,?
authors Duff Wilson and Janet Roberts briefly discuss how the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama along with the Let?s
Move! initiative have changed focus to promote increasing physical activity as a key component for combating childhood obesity.
Such a shift is an essential step in the right direction. In reversing the childhood obesity trend, exercise shouldn?t be a footnote in
the discussion; it should be the headline in the overall strategy.
Specifically, children?s health advocates should refocus their time and energy on creating accessible exercise programs and
safe places for children to play. The U.S. Soccer Foundation, through programs like Soccer for Success, affords both of those
opportunities. Findings from a recent study conducted by the Gardner Center at Stanford University show that Soccer for Success
has a positive effect on participants. Here is what the study found:
Ninety-one percent (91%) of participants reported that Soccer for Success helped them feel better about themselves.
Seventy-one percent (71%) reported that they make better choices when it comes to food.
Sixty-one percent (61%) spend less time engaged in video games and/or watching TV.
Eighty-seven percent (87%) of participants said that Soccer for Success helped them stay away from violence and fighting.
Soccer is one form of physical activity for children that provides a fun way to improve overall health ? increasing strength,
agility and endurance? and serves as a safe, positive outlet. Programs?like Soccer for Success?not only help combat childhood
obesity but also deter young adults from pursuing negative influences by providing them with safe and healthy places to play after school.
Named U.S. Soccer Foundation President & CEO in May 2008, Ed Foster-Simeon has more than two decades of experience at the local, state
and national levels of soccer in the United States. A champion of soccer as a vehicle for youth development and social change, Foster-Simeon
has been an active member of the U.S. Soccer Foundation?s Board of Directors since 2004 where he served on several key committees, including
the Executive Committee. At the grassroots level, he is a former Vice President of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association and past president of
Prince William Soccer, Inc. ? a 3,000-player recreational and travel club in Northern Virginia. In 2011, Foster-Simeon was awarded a Community
Leadership Award from the President?s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN).
In 2010, the U.S. Soccer Foundation was named winner of the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy which is presented
by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ? the nation?s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all
Americans. In June 2009, Foster-Simeon accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its efforts to bring the
FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022. Prior to joining the U.S. Soccer Foundation, Foster-Simeon served as Deputy Managing Editor
at USA TODAY where he was responsible for Washington, Political and Foreign news operations. During his 15 years at USA TODAY, Foster-Simeon
opened the newspaper?s Beijing bureau and organized and executed the newspaper?s coverage and logistics for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Foster-Simeon served as chairman of the Page One Task Force whose work led to significant improvements in USA TODAY?s content and newsroom
organization. USA TODAY also tapped him to plan and lead the newspaper?s coverage of the 1998 World Cup in France. A U.S. Navy veteran,
Foster-Simeon holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland University College. He is a native of Brooklyn, NY.
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