Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tilly Smith, 11, from Oxshott, England, right, talks with Former President Bill Clinton, left, who is serving as the United Nations Special Envoy for the Tsunami Recovery, in New York Thursday, Nov. 3, 2005. Smith put her geography lessons to good use: By quickly recognizing the warning signs of a tsunami, the English schoolgirl saved about 100 people from near-certain death at a Thai resort. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Clinton on Nick News

In a Special Edition of Nick News With Linda Ellerbee: The Fight to be Fit, Former President Bill Clinton, award-winning journalist Linda Ellerbee, and a room full of kids talk about the barriers to getting fit and how kids might break them down. The program will air on Sunday, November 13, 2005 at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation – a joint initiative of the William J. Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association to prevent childhood obesity – recently entered into a partnership with Nickelodeon. The three organizations are combining forces on a comprehensive media and public awareness campaign to encourage young people to engage in healthy and active lifestyles. The special kicks off the effort and will engage kids to take an active part in building a movement combating obesity and promoting healthy lifestyles.

“The challenge is to persuade kids to care about their bodies now. One of the benefits of living fit is living a long time, but to kids, a long time is a long time from now. We tell them the truth: they need to care because in the end no one else may,” commented Ellerbee. “And they tell us what we can do to help them. The solutions to the obesity crisis—the health crisis facing kids in general—may be simple, but they’re not easy.”

“Spending time with these kids and participating in the Nick News special provided me with an opportunity to tell kids face to face that we need their generation to lead us in this fight to be healthy,” said President Clinton.

President Clinton candidly talks to kids during the special about the fact he was an overweight child. “I can identify with kids who have a problem controlling their weight and staying healthy. After my heart surgery, which was a wake-up call for me, I decided I needed to do something to help kids be healthier.”

He tells kids that later he began to exercise and got his weight down, but didn’t really change his eating habits until after his heart surgery in 2004. The kids, President Clinton and Ellerbee talk about what influences their decisions about eating; who chooses what they have for meals, if there are healthy choices in their cafeterias, whether junk food in school cafeterias should be banned (President Clinton thinks it should), whether the food industry has any responsibility for the rise in childhood obesity and related health problems, what part exercise plays in their lives (if any), whether they still have regular Physical Education in their schools (many do not), and the abundance of time today’s kids spend in front of their television sets, their computers and their video games (Ellerbee suggests turning off the TV more often).

The kids featured in the special include: 12-year-olds Tyler from Kansas, MO; Kim from Crystal Lake, IL; Cory from Morrison, CO; and Antonio from Dorchester, MA; 13 year-olds Adisa from Englewood, NJ; Jordan from Orange, CA; and Jessica from Roseville, CA; 14-year-olds Audrianna from Lexington, SC; Myll from Brookville, NY; and 15-year-old Allie from Roseville, CA. In the audience are kids from Long Island, NY’s Friends Academy, New York City’s KIPP Infinity Charter School, Grand Street School for Legal Studies and Young Women's Leadership School. The audience has an opportunity to ask President Clinton questions as well.

The special also highlights Chandler, a 13 year-old from Georgia, who started an initiative called AKA (Athletics Plus Kids Equals Academics) to increase awareness of childhood obesity, bring back PE classes in schools and provide healthier options in school cafeterias. Created in response to her school only allowing her to take PE for one semester, Chandler has visited and written letters to her state senators to ask them to make PE mandatory in schools and most recently addressed health and government officials, including the surgeon general, at the National Healthy Kids Summit in Washington, DC, where she was the only kid in attendance.

Also featured is the Children’s Health Improvement Program, a group of Latino kids from Chicago that promote health by going into communities and educating kids on diabetes prevention, reading food labels and the importance of exercise. Many of the kids in the group are struggling with their own weight and they know that Latinos are a high risk group for heart disease and diabetes.

Several experts in the fields of health and nutrition are also consulted for the Nick News special. Stephen Daniels, M.D., Chair of the American Heart Association’s Cardiovascular Disease in the Young committee and professor of pediatrics and environmental health at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, explains how kids are now developing what experts used to think of as “adult” illnesses and points out that African American and Hispanic kids are at greater risks for these. Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders and author of Food Fight, discusses how because we live in a world where food to satisfy these cravings is cheap and physical activity is lacking, it is difficult to make healthy choices. And Russell R. Pate, Ph.D., professor at the University of South Carolina in the department of exercise science, describes the importance of embracing a healthy lifestyle early in life.

The special will also air on Nickelodeon’s Cable in the Classroom on December 5, 2005 and December 21, 2005 at 6 a.m. (ET/PT), and stream on Nickelodeon’s online broadband video service, TurboNick, on Nov. 14. Lesson plans are also available on Kids are encouraged to provide feedback on or about the Nov. 13 special by participating in an online poll and message boards on and

The new partnership of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the American Heart Association, also known as The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and Nickelodeon’s “Let’s Just Play” pro-social initiative will provide the necessary tools to empower children and families to be agents of change in their communities through grassroots activities, events, and programming support through multiple media platforms. For more information on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, please visit: or, and Posted by Picasa