WASHINGTON, DC; August 18, 2005 — Compared to any other developed nation in the world, the statistics on obesity in the United States are over the top! Approximately one third of adults in the United States are overweight, nearly another third are obese, while rates of obesity among youths have tripled over the past 20 years. An estimated 15.5 percent — 9 million — youths are considered seriously overweight — and experiencing higher rates of so-called adult diseases like diabetes and hypertension — with another 10 percent of youths “at risk” for becoming overweight.
Whether because of too much food consumption and not enough physical activity or too much time in front of television and computer screens, the obesity epidemic is rapidly spreading into our youngsters' lives! In response to this troubling trend, Cumberland Packing Corporation, the manufacturer and marketer of Sweet’N Low zero calorie sweetener, is teaming with Shape Up America!, a national non-profit obesity awareness and prevention group founded by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, to announce a new national campaign called “Get Hip & Get Fit.”
“Parents must start at home by modeling healthy eating and exercise behaviors for their children. it comes to food, children learn first and foremost by watching how their parents behave. But parents need help planning healthy meals and activities and helping children make better lifestyle choices,” said Dr. Barbara Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Shape Up America! “Many parents are stressed and find it difficult to find the time to exercise or eat right, and they hardly know where to begin helping their families.”
The “Get Hip & Get Fit” program encourages families to be more active and spend time together engaged in sports and other recreational activities. New sections are being added to the Shape Up America! and Sweet’N Low Web sites that remind parents to focus on healthy lifestyle choices for the whole family. A series of “Family Fitness Fun” posters are available for download, and suggest creative activities such as “Visit farms throughout the year where you can pick your own strawberries, peaches and apples,” “Take a ride on a skateboard” and “Play a game of Frisbee hot potato.”
“To grow and develop properly, children need plenty of time outside enjoying free, unstructured play — without competition and a push to ‘win.’ I encourage parents to work within your communities to make them safe for outdoor play,” said Dr. Koop, the founder of Shape Up America! In October, which is National Children’s Health Month, the program will continue to educate families on ways to adopt healthier lifestyles through sensible diet and family-friendly physical activities. The goal is to provide practical solutions that can be used by busy parents and caregivers who are interested in taking steps now to keep their kids healthy and active.
“As a company, we pride ourselves on our commitment and contributions to the community,” said Jeff Eisenstadt, President and CEO of Cumberland Packing Corporation. “We are pleased to team with Shape Up America!, an organization that shares our desire to help people make healthy food and lifestyle choices.”
Shape Up America! and Cumberland Packing Corporation are developing educational “Family Fitness Fun” posters, which will be made available to health professionals, educators and parents. Cumberland will distribute the posters along with recipes and other educational materials, while promoting the Sweet’N Low brand, at this year’s annual events held by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) in August and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in October. Online versions of the educational tools will also be available for download at www.shapeup.org and www.sweetnlow.com.
As the crusade to fight obesity in America intensifies, and focus on the health and fitness of our children increases, the timing of the “Get Hip & Get Fit” campaign could not be better. Creating awareness among parents through health professionals and other educators is a big step in the right direction toward ending the obesity epidemic that threatens our country’s health and our children’s well being.
About Shape Up America!
Shape Up America! was founded in 1994 by former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop to raise awareness of obesity as a health issue and to provide responsible information on weight management to the public, to health care professionals and to educators. A network of respected professionals in the fields of medicine, public health, nutrition and physical activity provide support and guidance for the campaign and its initiatives. The award-winning Shape Up America! Web site — www.shapeup.org -- offers weight management information for adults in an entertaining and engaging manner.
About Cumberland Packing Corporation
Cumberland Packing Corp., the manufacturer and marketer of Sweet'N Low® Zero Calorie Sweetener, is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. Sweet'N Low's ubiquitous pink packet was introduced to consumers nearly 50 years ago. It continues to be the No. 1 selling sugar substitute based on volume sales, with more than 29 million packets consumed daily. For more information, visit www.sweetnlow.com.