News: JBA, Redskins battle childhood obesity
Story by Tech. Sgt. Brian Ferguson
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. - Joint Base Andrews hosted NFL Play 60 and the Washington Redskins on Sept. 24 with the “Salute to Play 60 Military Challenge” teaching more than 230 military kids from the National Capital Region the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
NFL Play 60 is the National Football League's campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.
Redskins’ players Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Joshua Morgan, Adam Gettis, Niles Paul, Josh Wilson, Darrel Young and many others attended the event and helped the kids get active.
“I think it’s great that the Redskins are out here because they are athletes that these kids look up to, and when they come out here and encourage them to do it, it really supplements the message that mom and dad are giving back home,” said Col. William Knight, 11th Wing commander. “We are very grateful to have the Redskins out here encouraging our kids to do some of the things we are teaching them to do at home.”
During the opening ceremonies, Griffin, the Redskins’ quarterback, spoke to the crowd about his life experiences.
“My mom and dad were both in the military, so I was a military brat growing up,” Griffin said. “I was once sitting where you guys are, going to camps and events, even though Play 60 wasn’t around. We are proud to be out here, and we are going to get that win against Oakland.”
Stations were set up for the event at the turf field on JBA, and children were assigned to “celebrity trainers.” For 60 minutes, trainers put the kids through drills and exercises include agility ladders, relay races, throwing/catching and a timed 40-yard dash.
In addition, the Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association staffed nutrition stations to teach participants how to eat right and live a healthy lifestyle.
“I play football and baseball so that keeps me active, and I eat well,” said Andrew Marcos, 13, from Farquhar Middle School. “My dad works on base, and when he told me all the Redskins’ players were going to be here, I said, ‘I am going to that.’ I like how we are out here with the players and everything. It’s fun.”
For motivation, kids can track their daily activity for four weeks. Children with the highest involvement will be honored for their participation during a 2013 Redskins home game.
Griffin’s mom, Jackie, also attended the event and said that it meant a lot for her to give back to military family because the military afforded her husband and children a lot of benefits that other children are not afforded.
“It means a lot because it lets the other military kids know that they have the same opportunities that my son was afforded,” Mrs. Griffin said. “I would tell kids here to stay focused and utilize all the resources that are afforded to them as military kids, and to understand that the sky is the limit. It happened for my son and it could happen for them.”
Wide receiver Josh Morgan was born and raised in Washington, D.C., and now plays for the Redskins. He said he wants to give back to the community all he can.
“What good would it do for me to get out of my situation and now not give anything back to the community?” he said. “That’s why I make it my business to always be out here with the kids. Kids are carefree and always have a good time. They make you really appreciate the little things in life.”
To date, the NFL has dedicated more than $200 million to youth health and wellness through NFL Play 60.