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NFL grant to expand ASU community fitness program

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
February 05, 2015

A year-old program that seeks to energize Phoenix youth has been awarded an NFL Super Bowl Legacy Grant, as part of an NFL financial donation to the City of Phoenix for hosting the Super Bowl.

Among 27 awardees, the FitPHX Energy Zones program will receive $20,000 from the NFL grant to expand and strengthen its impact in encouraging Phoenix residents to lead healthier lifestyles.

FitPHX Energy Zones is a program run by Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions – in partnership with the City of Phoenix Mayor’s Office, Phoenix Parks and Recreation, Phoenix Public Libraries and Maricopa County Department of Public Health – that is delivered to underserved youth in Phoenix by way of public libraries.

The program is part of the citywide FitPHX initiative, led by Mayor Greg Stanton, councilman Daniel Valenzuela and Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman, with the goal of making the Phoenix area one of the healthiest in the nation.

Encouraging residents to lead healthier lifestyles by focusing on childhood and adult obesity, nutrition education, active infrastructure and healthy worksites, as well as walking, bicycling and the use of public transportation, the initiative looks to engage 10- to 14-year-old children in underserved Phoenix neighborhoods through the Energy Zones program by using ASU interns as peer mentors and public libraries as fitness venues.

Youth are engaged in public libraries, where many already spend time after school while their parents work, and where the St. Mary’s Food Bank provides a healthy after-school snack for kids who qualify for the federal school lunch and breakfast programs.

The core goals of FitPHX Energy Zones are to prevent childhood obesity and improve community wellness. The project targets middle school-aged participants with a comprehensive behavior-based fitness and nutrition program. Participants learn and master physical activities, cement healthy behaviors, and improve knowledge and fitness. All participants wear biosensors to track activity and sedentary behavior. The program includes pre- and post-program data collection to evaluate efficacy.

To date, roughly 100 Phoenix youth and 27 ASU interns from a variety of health-related majors have participated in FitPHX Energy Zones.

The award recipients were announced Jan. 29 at ASU Preparatory Academy School at a special event that featured David Rousseau, chairman for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee; Michael Bidwill, president of the Arizona Cardinals; and Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner.

Each year, the NFL provides a financial donation to its Super Bowl host city to support charitable causes in surrounding communities. This year the NFL Foundation offered a $1 million grant through the Arizona Community Foundation. The grant was matched by the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, bringing the total to $2 million.


Erika Jermé,
Mayo Clinic-ASU Obesity Solutions