Josh Kraft, president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, will be presented Thursday with the Eugene T. Davidson, MD, Award for Public Service by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). Mr. Kraft is accepting the award on behalf of the 32 NFL teams and their focus on youth health as part of the NFL PLAY 60 campaign.
The award is given annually to an organization, health professional or individual layperson for outstanding contributions to advancing the mission of AACE in providing quality health care for patients with endocrine diseases and for the betterment of the public health.
NFL PLAY 60 was selected to receive this unique distinction in recognition of the program's outstanding promotion of healthy lifestyles among America's youth. Previous recipients of the award include members of Congress and Olympic athletes. The NFL is the first sports organization to receive this honor.
"One of AACE's principal goals is to educate patients about how even modest lifestyle changes can prevent life-altering medical conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Childhood obesity coupled with physical inactivity accounts for the surging incidence of diabetes among our adolescents," said AACE President Jeffrey R. Garber, MD, FACP, FACE. "Proper diet and physical activity are key to curbing this epidemic. AACE applauds the NFL PLAY 60 campaign. We are confident that this initiative will encourage America's youth to become more active and stay healthy throughout their lifetimes."
Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations. Since the program was launched in 2007, the NFL has committed $200 million to youth health and fitness through programming, grants, and media time for PSAs.
Locally, the New England Patriots spread the PLAY 60 message through player visits to local schools and Boys & Girls Clubs, where they lead children through football drills and other fitness activities. The Patriots also hosted nearly 200 children for their 2009 NFL Hometown Huddle, where players exercised and made healthy snacks with attendees.
All 32 NFL clubs, including the Patriots, implement NFL PLAY 60 programs in their local markets through school and community-based initiatives. The NFL partners with organizations such as American Heart Association, National Dairy Council, and The Cooper Institute on programs that give teachers and parents guidance and students the opportunity to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. Among the many Play 60 programs are "Fuel Up to Play 60," an in-school nutrition and fitness program in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council, the "Play 60 Challenge," implemented in partnership with the American Heart Association and NFL Network's "Keep Gym in School," a national initiative designed to boost fitness and physical education in middle schools.