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Schiller Park, IL – North Chicago High School has received the gift of health from the Chicago Bears, United Way of Lake County and Life Fitness. In support of the school's commitment to use exercise as its method for helping to improve the health of all of its students and lower its absentee rate, North Chicago High School was selected as the 2009 recipient of the Bears/United Way Hometown Huddle project, resulting in the donation of a state-of-the-art fitness room and athletic training facility at the school.
According to the National Center for Disease Control, obesity is one the most pressing health concerns for children, with approximately 18 million 6-19 year olds in the United States overweight or at risk for becoming overweight. It affects many aspects of a child's life, and takes a toll on their school attendance as well. According to activelivingresearch.org, youth who are more physically active tend to perform better academically, have higher self-esteem and maintain better school attendance.
Over the last few months, the school's old workout room underwent an extensive makeover thanks to Life Fitness, the Chicago Bears and United Way. The room, which is open to all students, has been completely repainted, provided with brand new high-tech strength and cardio exercise machines, as well as a full array of new equipment for the athletic training room. The school will also receive a 10-week "Take the Pledge" fitness challenge that will be undertaken by both the students and the faculty.
The fitness program encourages all students to participate in, and commit to, aerobic activity, with clearly outlined daily recommended exercises and nutrition tips, promoting progression and success.
"Improving our youth's quality of life through fitness is a priority for us," said John Stransky, president of Life Fitness. "We're honored to work with the Chicago Bears and United Way to help us communicate this message and to give back to the community through our equipment and "Take the Pledge" program."
The ground-breaking fitness center and new athletic training room were funded by a grant from NFL Charities and the Chicago Bears, along with a matching grant from Bears Care, the charitable beneficiary of the Chicago Bears. Chicago Bear defensive tackle Israel Idonije and Bears rookies Johnny Knox, Al Afalava, Jarron Gilbert, Juaquin Iglesias, Lance Louis, DJ Moore, Henry Melton, Kahlil Bell, Will Ta'ufo'ou and Woodny Turenne, along with other community dignitaries, recently helped unveil the state-of-the-art rooms. The Bears players also encouraged the staff and students to commit to the "Take the Pledge" challenge, and led exercise drills for more than 60 students.
"Helping youth grow up healthy is one of the main goals of the United Way of Lake County. With the right tools, they can have better health – an important building block as they transition into adulthood," said Kristi Long, president and CEO for United Way of Lake County. "We are thrilled to work with Life Fitness and the Chicago Bears to be able to give back to these students and hopefully improve their lives."
Results from the 10-week "Take the Pledge" program, including participant's average BMI, and the school's absenteeism rate will be announced early next year.
About the NFL- United Way Hometown Huddle
Now in its 36th year, the United Way/NFL partnership connects NFL PLAY 60 with United Way's goal of 1.9 million more healthy young people by 2018. Designed to tackle childhood obesity, NFL PLAY 60 brings together the NFL's long-standing commitment to health and fitness with partner organizations like United Way. PLAY 60 is also implemented locally, as part of the NFL's in-school, after-school and team-based programs. 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 public service announcements.
About United Way of Lake County
United Way of Lake County works to advance the common good by focusing on the issues of education, income and health. Success By 6, Youth Success and other United Way initiatives address the building blocks for a good life: a quality education that leads to a stable job, enough income to support a family through retirement and good health. We bring together people from across the community – government, business, faith groups, nonprofits and citizens – to create lasting changes by addressing the underlying causes of problems. If you have an open heart and are willing to lend a hand, LIVE UNITED with United Way of Lake County www.uwlakeco.org.
About Life Fitness
Life Fitness is the global leader in providing fitness equipment. The company manufactures and sells strength and cardiovascular equipment under the brand names Life Fitness and Hammer Strength and distributes its equipment in more than 120 countries. Headquartered outside Chicago, in Schiller Park, Ill., Life Fitness is a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC).
Life Fitness and Lifecycle are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Brunswick Corporation Life Fitness, 5100 River Road, Schiller Park, IL 60176. Phone: 847.288.3300, www.lifefitness.com