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PR: Junior League Launches Third Annual Childhood Obesity and Nutrition Initiative

by on February 4, 2008

League Members from Four Countries and Cartoon Network Continue Renowned Kids in the Kitchen Education Initiative, with New Activities on Family Dining and Kids Food Shopping

NEW YORK, February 4, 2008-The Association of Junior Leagues
International Inc. (AJLI) will launch its third annual Junior Leagues’
Kids in the Kitchen education initiative on childhood obesity and
nutrition this March, in conjunction with National Nutrition Month in
the U.S. and Canada. The well-established initiative, which helps
communities across four countries address the consequences of childhood
obesity and poor nutrition, will continue to help youngsters learn about
healthy eating and involve them in the preparation of their own meals
and snacks. Exclusive kids media partner, Cartoon Network, will support
the program with on-air public service announcements, League-wide
distribution of grassroots event-activation kits and an online animated
educational game tied to the network’s “Get Animated” pro-social

More than 230 Junior Leagues participate in this grassroots initiative
to empower children to adopt healthy lifestyles. Organized in 2006,
Kids in the Kitchen responds to the staggering statistic that nearly
one-third of children and adolescents in North and South America will be
overweight by 2010 and at increased risk of contracting Type II
diabetes, high blood pressure, the numerous ailments related to high
cholesterol and social problems that affect self-esteem.

Motivated by recent studies out of Harvard, Rutgers and the University
of Minnesota indicating that family dining improves the dietary habits
of children, many Leagues will promote family meal preparation
activities and provide a downloadable fact sheet from the Kids in the
Kitchen website that highlights the benefits of families eating
together. Data demonstrate that family dining leads children to eat
more fruits and vegetables and fewer junk foods and makes them more
likely to do well in school and less likely to develop common eating
disorders and develop substance abuse problems.

“In the United States, Canada, Mexico and the United Kingdom, the Junior
Leagues are determined to remain in the forefront of this struggle to
enable children to take proper care of their bodies and control their
future health,” said Sandi Kemmish, President of AJLI. “This year, the
Junior Leagues will continue their grassroots Kids in the Kitchen
campaign to provide children with hands-on education activities related
to nutrition and healthy meal preparation. We believe that education
and hands-on involvement are the first steps toward addressing the
urgent issues surrounding childhood obesity.”

“Kids in the Kitchen is an ideal example of how Cartoon Network works
with pro-social partners to support creative, effective programs that
bring families together to learn to lead healthier lives,” said Alice
Cahn, vice president of social responsibility for Cartoon Network.
“Encouraging parents with ways to include their kids in their family
meal shopping and preparation is a proven way to help choose healthier
options. We’re delighted to play an active role in getting this message
out to kids and care-givers through TV spots and the online game.

As part of their grassroots campaign, selected Leagues are beginning to
increase children’s knowledge of how to shop for healthy food through a
Kids in the Kitchen pilot program, the “Healthy Shopping Challenge.”
League volunteers in Atlanta, Brooklyn, Chicago, Greenwich, Omaha, The
Palm Beaches and Sacramento will shop with local youngsters at
neighborhood food outlets in search of the ingredients for a healthy,
affordable family meal. With the aid of the Food Pyramid from USDA, a
guide explaining how to read nutrition labels, sample menus and an
illustrated family meal planner/shopping list, the 4th to 8th graders
will learn to select delicious healthy foods that meet USDA nutrition
requirements and use these ingredients to prepare sample dishes. The
Healthy Shopping Challenge program is likely to expand to other Leagues
in the near future.

The Junior Leagues’ comprehensive website supports the grassroots
programs with entertaining and educational material focused on childhood
health. Because children are more likely to try new foods they have
helped prepare, the website features easy-to-make, tasty and nutritious
recipes from chefs and celebrities. Also featured on the website are
nutrition and exercise tips, quizzes, the educational game provided by
Cartoon Network featuring characters and backgrounds from the hit series
Camp Lazlo, and the USDA’s MyPyramid Blast-Off game, a fun way for
youngsters to learn the most current guidelines for daily food
consumption and exercise, tailored to their nutrition and fitness needs.
The website can be found at http:https://kidsinthekitchen.ajli.org

During National Nutrition Month in March, and throughout the year,
thousands of kids will share in the fun of learning to select and
prepare delicious foods that enhance their own lives and help their
families stay healthy, too.


Founded in 1901 by New Yorker Mary Harriman, the Junior Leagues are
organizations of women committed to voluntarism, developing the
potential of women and improving communities through the effective
action and leadership of trained volunteers. The Association of Junior
Leagues International is made up of 293 Junior Leagues in Canada,
Mexico, the United Kingdom and the United States. Together, they are one
of the largest international volunteer organizations for women
interested in making a positive impact in their communities. For more
information, visit the website, www.ajli.org .

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