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YMCA's Activate America(R) Motivates More Than 1.3 Million People to Take 8 Billion Steps Toward a Healthier Lifestyle During 'America On the Move Week with the YMCA'
Date:10/18/2007

More Than 1,500 YMCAs Get Their Communities Moving During Week-Long Event;

YMCAs Aim to Keep Communities Active Year-Round

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- YMCAs nationwide want the 8 billion small steps logged during "America On the Move Week with the YMCA" to inspire a giant leap in communities' ongoing commitments to healthier lifestyles.

More than 1,500 YMCAs nationwide reached out to their communities to promote active living and healthy eating during "America On the Move Week with the YMCA," September 22-29, motivating 1.3 million participants to take 8 billion steps in communities big and small. The campaign, in partnership with the America On the Move(R) Foundation, aims to educate and motivate people to make two small daily changes -- add 2,000 steps and eat 100 fewer calories -- that will add up to significant long-term health benefits.

"America On the Move Week with the YMCA provided a great catalyst for change in the communities we serve," said Neil Nicoll, president and CEO of YMCA of the USA. "The results are encouraging, but we're still striving for the ultimate goal to make living an active and healthy lifestyle an every day, every week, commitment."

America On the Move Week with the YMCA is part of Activate America(R), the YMCA's response to our nation's lifestyle health crisis. Through Activate America, YMCAs are redefining themselves and engaging communities across the country to provide better opportunities for Americans of all ages who are struggling to achieve and maintain well-being of spirit, mind and body.

A recent national poll by the America On the Move Foundation indicates that even though obesity is on the rise, efforts by Americans to lose weight might be stalling. The lack of a positive support network may be a factor for many. Only 40 percent of those polled said their immediate family members encourage them to eat healthy and nutritious foods, and only 16 percent said their close friends encourage these same choices.

"Our latest research tells us that many Americans are not getting the encouragement and support they need to live a healthier lifestyle," said James O. Hill, Ph.D., America On the Move Foundation co-founder. "Through our partnership with the YMCA, we have shown that we can provide the social networks needed to support those seeking to make healthy changes and positively motivate them."

During America On the Move Week with the YMCA, YMCAs throughout the country hosted a variety of activities to welcome people in their communities to come together for organized walks, educational programs and family health and well-being events. For example, YMCAs in Washington State joined forces to promote fitness at a large walking event lead by the governor at the Washington State Fair. In Attleboro, Mass., the YMCA led a walkability assessment to gauge the walk-friendliness of their community. Residents of Winter Haven, Fla., could choose to log steps through seven days worth of free events from walking to salsa dancing. The YMCA in Redwood City, Calif., led one of its walks through a grocery store to talk about healthy eating. The Longmont, Colo. YMCA engaged school districts, corporations and other partner organizations to join in a quest to log 100 million steps in Longmont.

America On the Move Week with the YMCA builds upon a national partnership between the YMCA of the USA and the America On the Move Foundation and aims to motivate and mobilize thousands of Americans to take small steps towards a healthier lifestyle. America On the Move Foundation is a national non-profit organization with the mission of improving the quality of life -- for individuals, families, communities and society. PepsiCo and its Smart Spot(R) products are supporting this effort as a national sponsor of YMCA Activate America and the national presenting sponsor of America On the Move Foundation.

About YMCA of the USA: YMCA of the USA is the national resource office for the nation's 2,663 YMCAs, which serve nearly 20.2 million people each year, including 9.4 million children under the age of 18. Through a variety of programs and services focused on the holistic development of children and youth, health and well-being for all and family strengthening, YMCAs unite men, women and children of all ages, faiths, backgrounds, abilities and income levels. From urban areas to small towns, YMCAs have proudly served America's communities for nearly 160 years by building healthy spirit, mind and body for all. Visit http://www.ymca.net to find your local YMCA.

About America On the Move Foundation: America On the Move Foundation (AOM) is the leading non-profit organization fighting the obesity epidemic by providing consumer-focused solutions for individuals, families, organizations, and communities. Through its programs and outreach, AOM initiates and maintains meaningful and measurable individual, social, and environmental behavior changes that support healthy eating and active living habits in our society. AOM's science-based programs provide the support and tools that help individuals of all ages manage weight effectively through energy balance. All programs are available at http://www.americaonthemove.org.

About PepsiCo and the Smart Spot(TM) Program: The Smart Spot program from PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) is the national presenting sponsor of America On the Move(TM) and a proud sponsor of YMCA Activate America(R). As one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, PepsiCo recognizes its responsibility to encourage people to adopt healthier, active lifestyles -- beginning with its products. In 2004, PepsiCo launched the Smart Spot symbol -- the symbol of smart choices made easy. This symbol is a simple labeling system that makes it easier for consumers to identify PepsiCo products that contribute to a healthier lifestyle and explains why each product is a better choice. The Smart Spot symbol appears on over 300 PepsiCo products including Tropicana Pure Premium(R) orange juice, Aquafina(R) water, Gatorade(R) Thirst Quencher, Baked! Lay's(R) snacks, Quaker(R) Oatmeal and Diet Pepsi(R) soft drinks, among many others. For more information, visit http://www.smartspot.com.

Contact:

Lynn Harmon Kelly Kennai Grunig

Harmon Group for YMCA of the USA YMCA of the USA

314.604.1145 202.835.9043 Ext. 15

lynnharmon@sbcglobal.net kelly.kennai@ymca.net


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SOURCE YMCA of the USA
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