SOURCE: United Way

October 08, 2008 16:33 ET

United Way and NFL Partner for Tenth Annual Hometown Huddle

Thirty-Fifth Year of NFL/United Way Partnership Brings Focus to Youth Fitness

ALEXANDRIA, VA--(Marketwire - October 8, 2008) - NFL players, coaches, and leadership joined United Way staff and volunteers on Tuesday, October 7 for the tenth annual NFL/United Way Hometown Huddle -- a series of volunteer projects implemented on the same day in all 32 NFL cities nationwide. NFL and United Way teamed up this year to help kids get more active as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and fitness campaign, aimed at getting kids active for 60 minutes a day. As part of the day's focus on community and youth fitness, teams launched HOPSports™ youth fitness zones in 6 NFL cities, rebuilt neighborhood playgrounds and hosted youth football clinics.

Now celebrating its 35th Anniversary, the United Way/NFL partnership has worked together to strengthen communities and encourage volunteer engagement. Today, the partnership raises awareness about the importance of youth health and fitness and creates opportunities for young people to lead healthier lifestyles.

"Our players recognize the value of staying healthy and it's important that young fans also understand the benefits of exercise," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who participated in a league office Hometown Huddle event in Manhattan. "Getting kids active for at least 60 minutes a day is the goal of our PLAY 60 campaign, and our partnership with United Way will help us reach that milestone."

The HOPSports system uses a media center and sports equipment to offer fitness training while entertaining, evaluating and educating young people about nutrition and health. The fitness zones, which were launched in Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Tampa and 2 locations in greater Washington, D.C, will remain active in those locations throughout the year.

"We're thrilled with the longevity and effectiveness of our partnership with the NFL and excited to be using HOPSports™ to deliver 21st century physical education to young people at schools and youth-serving agencies," said Tracey Holmes, NFL Partnership director at United Way of America.

The Tenth Annual Hometown Huddle is part of United Way's nationwide call-to-action for individuals to LIVE UNITED™ -- to give, advocate and volunteer on issues relating to education, income or health. United Way has declared bold, 10-year goals in each of those three areas. In the area of health, the goal is to increase by one-third the percentage of healthy youth and adults by 2018. Preventing and controlling childhood obesity is one aspect of meeting this goal. Statistics on children's health are alarming. Today, more than 12.5 million children in America are overweight and another 13 million are at risk of becoming overweight. The number of overweight children and adolescents age 6-19 has nearly tripled since the mid-1970s. The obesity epidemic is taking its toll, as more and more children are developing conditions and diseases typically associated with adults.

To learn more about United Way and to share how you live united, visit:

United Way

United Way is a global network, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. that advance the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED™ is a call to action for everyone to become part of the change. For more information about United Way, please visit:

About NFL PLAY 60

Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like the United Way. PLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs. For more information, visit

About HOPSports Training Systems

Using 21st century technology, HOPSports educates trains and entertains youth of all ages while promoting nutrition and social messaging in a multi-screen, dynamic format. Content includes sport specific skills, dance, martial fusion, cardio-kickboxing, circuit training, Pilates, yoga and more. Youth are exposed to new and exciting ways to stay fit for a lifetime. HOPSports can be found in 27 states and over 225 sites servicing more than 500,000 young people each week.

Contact Information

    United Way of America
    Sally Fabens
    (703) 836-7112, Ext. 401
    Email Contact

    National Football League
    Clare Graff
    (212) 450-2435
    Email Contact