Video: U.S. Olympic Hopefuls Featured in National Campaign to Combat Childhood Obesity

CHICAGO, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the Ad Council are joining qubo, NBC and the United States Olympic Committee to launch a new series of national public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to address childhood obesity. The new TV spots debut today to coincide with the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Media Summit in Chicago. The spots feature several U.S. Olympic Team hopefuls, as well as qubo's popular animated characters. qubo is the children's entertainment service featured Saturday mornings on NBC, "America's Olympic Network" which owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games through 2012.

"A hundred years ago, about the only thing a child could do sitting still was read or draw," said HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. "Now we have television, video games, the Internet - and an epidemic of childhood obesity. We need to get kids up and moving, and that is what these PSAs aim to do. My thanks to all the organizations participating in this important effort."

The PSAs are an extension of HHS' Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative, Healthy Youth for a Healthy Future, and the Ad Council's Coalition for Healthy Children ( Created pro bono by qubo and its programming partners, the PSAs will begin airing this week through donated time on NBC, ION Television and the qubo Channel. Each of these broadcast and promotional partners are committed to addressing childhood obesity in America and will be supporting the new ads, along with other efforts promoting healthy lifestyles to kids and families, leading up to and throughout NBC's coverage of the Olympic Games in Beijing, which begin on August 8, 2008. The PSAs will also be supported nationally among other broadcast and cable networks as part of the Ad Council's traditional donated media model.

"We are thrilled to partner with qubo and the U.S. Olympic Committee for this new series of PSAs featuring America's Olympic hopefuls," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. "qubo's efforts are a wonderful example of how our Coalition for Healthy Children messages can be utilized to combat childhood obesity in our country."

"We are extremely pleased to partner in this effort to positively affect the lives of our nation's youth, who are becoming increasingly sedentary," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Jim Scherr. "Having such dedicated, high- profile athletes involved in this initiative with characters that resonate with today's young people will surely expand the reach of this important message."

"It's important for kids to understand that they don't need to be an Olympian to be healthy," said Shawn Johnson, 2007 world all-around gymnastics champion. "It can be as easy and fun as getting up to play for an hour a day and keeping an eye on the amount and type of food you eat."

qubo's animated characters from VeggieTales, Jane and the Dragon and 3-2-1 Penguins! also appear with the athletes in the new PSAs. The series of TV spots promote the Coalition for Healthy Children's research-based messages, including the importance of controlling food portions, maintaining energy balance, and participating in physical activity.

"Creating these PSAs about healthy living is a logical extension of qubo's commitment every day to promoting pro-social values in an environment that parents can trust," said Rick Rodriguez, President and General Manager for qubo. "We are delighted to embark on our first partnership with HHS, the Ad Council and the USOC. By pairing qubo's animated characters with these Olympic hopefuls, we're sure kids will take notice!"

The new PSAs aim to reach children ages 6-13 to communicate the message that being healthy can be simple and fun, and that you don't need to be an Olympic athlete to stay in shape. Additional ads featuring qubo's animated characters will also appear in print, outdoor and online media this summer and throughout the year. The PSAs direct children and families to visit for fun and interactive experiences that can help everyone eat healthy and become more physically active. To view the spots, visit and to learn more about the athletes featured in the PSAs, log on to


qubo(R) is a bilingual, multi-platform entertainment destination for children that focuses on literacy, healthy living and pro-social values that celebrate the unlimited possibilities of a child's imagination. All qubo programming is rated TV-Y (appropriate for all children) and carries the "E/I" icon, denoting that the shows are "educational and/or informational. Formed by an unprecedented alliance of leading distribution partners and content players in children's television, including Scholastic, ION Media Networks, NBC Universal, Corus Entertainment and Entertainment Rights group companies (Entertainment Rights, Classic Media and Big Idea), qubo offers dynamic content in multiple environments. Currently broadcast on NBC Saturday mornings, ION TV network Fridays afternoons and Telemundo weekend mornings (check local listings), qubo also includes a 24/7 digital broadcast channel and website,

NBC Olympics

NBC, "America's Olympic Network," owns the exclusive U.S. media rights to the Olympic Games, television's most powerful property, through 2012, which includes Beijing in 2008, Vancouver in 2010 and London in 2012. The 2008 Olympic Games from Beijing, China will represent the 11th Olympics broadcast by NBC, a record for the most Olympic broadcasts by any network. From August 8-24, 2008 NBC Universal will present an unprecedented 3,600 hours of coverage, highlighted by NBC's live primetime coverage of swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball and more than 2,200 hours of live streaming video for the first time on In August 2004, 203 million viewers watched as the networks of NBC Universal-NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, Telemundo, and NBC's HD affiliates-offered a then record 1,210 hours of Olympic coverage from Athens.

For additional information, go to, a year-round destination for fans of Olympic sports, featuring news, Beijing previews, athlete features, expert blogs, photos, Olympic video from the NBC archives and social tools enabling users to build communities around their favorite sports, post comments and blogs.

U.S. Olympic Committee

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the sole entity in the United States whose mission involves training, entering and underwriting the full expenses for the U.S. teams in the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games. In addition to being the steward of the U.S. Olympic Movement, the USOC is the moving force for support of sports in the United States that are on the program of the Olympic, Paralympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to help themselves. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a wide spectrum of activities, including health and social science research, preventing disease, including immunization services, assuring food and drug safety, and administering Medicare and Medicaid.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit

The goal of the Ad Council's Coalition for Healthy Children is to help address the obesity crisis that confronts our nation and its children. Its mission is to provide clear, consistent, research-based messages to children and parents on the importance of practicing a healthier lifestyle and offer them the means to do it. This can be achieved by harnessing the combined strengths of marketers, media companies, non-profit groups and government agencies. The Coalition's members have made a commitment to the promotion of healthy living to our nation's families and have agreed to incorporate the Coalition's messages into their own communications programs. For more information about the Coalition, please visit

SOURCE The Advertising Council

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