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Youth Exercise Grants: Shaping America's Youth

written by: Angela Atkinson • edited by: KJ Fitness,Ink • updated: 4/28/2009

Learn how Shaping America's Youth (SAY) plans to make a difference in the childhood overweight and obesity problem pervading the United States today.

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    Image Credit: Michal Zacharzewski
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    As childhood obesity and overweight reaches almost epidemic proportions in the United States, the search for a solution has become a nationwide ambition. Organizations like Shaping America’s Youth (SAY) are actively working to reverse the dangerous trends in the health of US adolescents and children. They fund these efforts through youth exercise grants.

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    What is Shaping America's Youth?

    SAY involves an association of medical and fitness professionals who have come together for the purpose of identifying and centralizing information regarding these trends, their possible causes and effects and possible solutions. This information was put together in an all encompassing report with very specific objectives. The organization encourages families and medical professionals to join the SAY Network, which is a national registry of health programs.

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    Who sponsors Shaping America's Youth?

    SAY is sponsored by a host of fitness-related companies, including giants like Campbell’s and Nike. Other sponsors include the United States Office of the Surgeon General, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Diabetes Association, the American Obesity Association, the American Dietetics Association and the University of California. In fact, to date, more than 1500 companies and offices support SAY.

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    What is SAY's plan?

    Their mission is to “assure that the voices of families and communities are integrated into local and national policy to improve the nutrition, physical activity, and health of children and youth.” SAY is working toward creating a national health registry, which would help to fully define the significance of the problem.

    SAY is working toward involving the community and families within it in the goal of getting and keeping America’s youth healthy through improved nutrition and more physical activity. SAY encourages positive modeling by adults and works toward promoting partnerships with professionals and related businesses in order to fund its mission. These partnerships and sponsorships come in the form of youth exercise grants—money granted to an organization to benefit children’s fitness.

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    What is SAY's expected outcome?

    SAY’s creators hope to gain more effective communication and collaboration between the existing organizations and professionals involved in fighting childhood obesity and overweight. Plus, they expect that their efforts will shine a much needed spotlight on this very serious issue, and will increase human involvement in the solution and prevention of the problem.

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    Why do we need SAY?

    Since so many entities are involved in this issue already, SAY’s hopes to increase communication and cooperation among them could more effectively target the problem of childhood obesity and overweight. And, says the organization, “A national plan will allow the strategies of individual organizations to tie to a larger, national plan, thereby coordinating all efforts for maximum impact and minimum duplication.”