October 17, 2005

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AAF Calls for National Initiative to Promote Physical Education

Click hereto see Wally Snyder talk about this issue on the Oct. 17 edition of the KTHV-TV CBS Little Rock evening news (Windows Media Player required).

LITTLE ROCK, Ark., October 17, 2005 — The American Advertising Federation (AAF) today called for a national initiative to promote physical education among children. The remarks were made by AAF president & CEO Wally Snyder at an Arkansas Advertising Federation event in Little Rock.

Concerns about rising rates of obesity — especially among children — continue to grow. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 16 percent of children and adolescents from 6 to 19 years — more than 9 million young people — are considered overweight. Many point to the advertising industry as a cause of this national weight problem. However, studies indicate that advertising is not a significant factor, if a factor at all. Rather, the key to obesity is a lack of strenuous physical activity. According to the CDC, regular exercise is a key part of any weight control effort, yet more than a third of young people in grades 9–12 do not regularly engage in vigorous physical activity.

The AAF has called for a national initiative to promote physical activity among children. In his statement today, Snyder said, "I think it is vitally important that the AAF and the advertising industry call for the return of physical education to our children's lives — and to our lives. We call on school boards across the country to provide before- and after-school PE programs for all students and for government and industry to provide funding support."

Snyder continued, "We call on the industry — ourselves — to use our expertise and resources to educate the public as to the many benefits, physical and educational, of exercise and physical education."

Physical activity has an impact not only on weight management, but on scholastic aptitude as well. States Snyder, "There is a wealth of research that shows a link between healthy minds and bodies. Studies have found that regular physical activity supports better learning and that there is a significant relationship between academic achievement and fitness levels. Other studies have found a link between physical activity programs and improved reading, writing and mathematics test scores."

The advertising industry has many initiatives already in place to educate the public on this issue, acting as a primary venue for conveying information on healthy activities. The ongoing programs of major advertisers and the Ad Council about the role of exercise in a healthy lifestyle demonstrate how the advertising industry can assist in this national health concern.

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The American Advertising Federation (AAF), headquartered in Washington, D.C., acts as the "Unifying Voice for Advertising." The AAF is the oldest national advertising trade association, representing 50,000 professionals in the advertising industry. The AAF has a national network of 200 ad clubs located in ad communities across the country. Through its 215 college chapters, the AAF provides 6,500 advertising students with real-world case studies and recruitment connections to corporate America. The AAF also has 130 blue-chip corporate members that are advertisers, agencies and media companies, comprising the nation's leading brands and corporations. For more information, visit the AAF's Web site at www.aaf.org.