(Family Features) - Jared Fogle, the man famous for losing more than 245 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches and exercising, and New York Giants Defensive End Michael Strahan are taking on childhood obesity. Strahan will serve as an honorary board member of The Jared Foundation, which helps educate children, parents and caregivers about the importance of a balanced meal plan and regular physical exercise. "Jared's personal story of weight loss-and the fact that he's kept it off for 10 years-is amazing," Strahan said. "But I'm even more impressed with his commitment to helping fight childhood obesity. That's why I've signed on to work with his foundation."
In the last 20 years, the rate of obesity in America has doubled for children ages 6-11, and tripled for teenagers, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control. About 25 million children are overweight. Those extra pounds often start kids down the path to health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The Jared Foundation is launching a 3-point plan to fight childhood obesity. "Our aim," says Fogle, "is to collect $2 million this year toward tackling obesity issues head on. My goal is to help children avoid the physical and emotional hardships I went through living with obesity."
The Jared Fogle Healthy Lifestyle Nationwide School Grant Program will offer up to 50 schools $20,000 grants this year to help schools implement the 2004 federally mandated wellness policies. Schools and community organizations who would like to apply for a grant can download an application at www.jaredfoundation.org.
The foundation's Parents in the Know Initiative is a multifaceted parent education program that will help parents identify at risk obesity behavior and redirect children toward healthy activities they can enjoy for a lifetime.
Fogle firmly believes that eating out can be enjoyable and healthy. He says that parents should set firm guidelines for kids on what they are allowed to order from the menu. "It's up to us to avoid the junk and to educate ourselves and our kids on what's in the food we choose." In partnership with a national association, Fogle will launch the Families Get Smart About Dining Campaign, to show how easy and fun it can be to dine out and select nutritious items from nearly any menu.
To raise awareness about his childhood obesity prevention program, Fogle will go on a nationwide "Tour de Pants," a year-long campaign featuring his famous 60-inch waist pants. Now that it's been a decade since starting his diet, a fit and trim Fogle says it's time to leave the pants behind. At each stop on the tour, consumers will have a chance to take a photo of themselves with Fogle and his pants, collect an Upper Deck Fogle trading card and get ideas for eating healthy while dining out. Fogle will also lead talks with children on making smart food and exercise choices. At the end of the farewell tour, there will be a retirement party for the pants, which will then be inducted into the new Advertising Icon Museum slated to open in the spring of 2009.
Famous athletes like Strahan, Reggie Bush, Tony Parker and Laila Ali are congratulating Fogle in a new Subway restaurants ad campaign. These messages, and others, can be seen at subwayfreshbuzz.com. The site also features a "Pants Dance" game, video highlights from Fogle's decade of fame, ways to donate to the Jared Foundation, and the chance to appear in a Subway restaurant commercial.