ESCONDIDO–Former San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson visited Felicita Elementary School to encourage students to eat healthy, be active and make healthy choices. The visit was part of Palomar Pomerado Health’s Project 21 San Diego program.
Tomlinson visited Felicita Elementary last year and asked all of the students to sign a Declaration of Health, challenging them to exercise daily and eat healthy. Tomlinson returned to the school to get an update on their progress, and learn more about the student’s use of the Bones in Motion (BIM) mobile health and fitness application. The children have been using mobile phones and the BIM program donated by Verizon and Qualcomm to track and record their physical activity.
Launched in July 2007 by Pomerado and Tomlinson, Project21SD – named for the Tomlinson’ jersey number-tackles obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a comprehensive community awareness, education and intervention campaigns. The goal of Project21SD is to educate children, parents, teachers, and the community about the risks associated with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease and the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle.
“It’s a personal mission and passion of mine to reduce diabetes and obesity in children,” says LaDainian Tomlinson. “My wife and I have seen first-hand how devastating diabetes can be. Diabetes is affecting children as young as age five, and we want to make sure we’re establishing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.”
Project21SD has a five-year plan based on measurable, evidence-based strategies to address obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease thorough the implementation of seven programs:
· Community awareness
· 1-on-1 coaching
· PPH employee food drive
· School-based intervention program – Project 21 San Diego TODAY – Transforming Obesity and Diabetes Awareness in Youth
· Home and family intervention program
· Health education
· Health assessment
Tomlinson recognized the top students who have run the most miles while participating in the elementary school’s Running Club.
The PPH Community Action Councils support the Running Clubs to give school children a rewarding and fun option to exercise and learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle at a young age. Nearly 10,000 children from every elementary school in the Poway Unified School District are participating in the Running Clubs. Children run on a school track during lunchtime, before school or during recess for incentives.
Representatives of Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm joined PPH and Tomlinson for this special visit. Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless have contributed to the program with a health and fitness application from Bones in Motion, preloaded on mobile phones and complete with a service plan.