Hundreds Of Boys & Girls Club Kids Rally With Olympian Gail Devers To Eat Their Fruit & Vegetables At "Fruit & Veggie Fest" In San Francisco

Kids Celebrate National Fruit & Vegetable Month with Food Trucks & Interactive Veggie Zone to Learn about Healthy Eating, Have Fun with Fruits and Vegetables

SAN FRANCISCO, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of kids are sending a powerful message to their parents and peers at San Francisco's Treasure Island today; they are proclaiming "GIVE ME MY FRUITS AND VEGGIES!" June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month and, to celebrate, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) is hosting the first ever Fruit & Veggie Fest to show kids that healthy food options can be tasty, easy and fun.

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At the Fruit & Veggie Fest, more than 200 youth from Boys & Girls Clubs around the San Francisco area will meet three-time Olympic champion and gold medalist Gail Devers while sampling and judging kid-friendly fruit and vegetable dishes prepared by some of San Francisco's most popular food trucks, including Liba Falafel, Doc's of the Bay, Little Green Cyclo, and Tres Truck. Local kids will also participate in the Veggie Zone, an interactive area where they can create their own healthy snacks from farm fresh ingredients; squeeze tomatoes and mix vegetables to create the most flavorful salsa; and compete in a veggie-themed obstacle course.

The Fruit & Veggie Fest is part of BGCA's Triple Play program, which has engaged kids nationwide for almost a decade to reinforce healthy lifestyles through three focus areas – Mind (healthy eating), Body (physical activity) and Soul (healthy relationships). The Triple Play program is made possible by support from The Coca-Cola Company and the WellPoint Foundation.

"Finding new ways to help kids learn about eating healthy and the variety of tasty fruits and vegetables available is essential for promoting healthy lifestyles," said Gail Devers, Olympian and special host for the Fruit & Veggie Fest. "I am extremely excited to be here today to taste flavorful foods, teach kids the value of eating right and demonstrate how positive food choices can benefit their health."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports obesity rates in children and teens have nearly tripled since the early 1980s, and about one-third of adults are considered obese today.  Through Triple Play, BGCA, the WellPoint Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company are working together to help kids and families learn about active lifestyles and good nutrition to improve their health and avoid lifelong health issues. 

"It is challenging for kids to make healthy decisions if their environments do not offer or celebrate healthy foods and choices. With more than three out of ten kids categorized as overweight or obese, it is critical that we educate and provide the tools necessary for youth to make the right choices," said Wayne B. Moss, senior director, Healthy Lifestyles, BGCA. "Kids participating in this first Fruit & Veggie Fest will get elbow-deep in flavorful bell peppers and pineapple in the Veggie Zone, and have an amazing time while eating their fruits & veggies in America's 'culinary capital'!"

"Making fruit and vegetable choices fun and simple for kids is an important part of teaching healthy habits that last a lifetime," said Erika Von Heiland Strader, Director, Community Marketing, The Coca-Cola Company. "Through Triple Play, we are working together with BGCA to make an active and healthy lifestyle easier for kids, their parents and Clubs around the country."

"Building healthy habits from an early age can make a tremendous impact on long term health," said Lance Chrisman, executive director, WellPoint Foundation. "This event is all about showing kids that fruits and vegetables are not only healthy, but are also tremendously flavorful and satisfying. In an age where the faster choice is all too often the easier choice, we hope our efforts and events like the Fruit & Veggie Fest will prompt kids learn to look for better options to fuel their daily lives."

Kids at the Fruit & Veggie Fest will vote for their favorite food truck dish, and the recipe for the winning healthy dish will be shared for all Boys & Girls Clubs to prepare this summer. Thousands of Clubs will be encouraged to cook the winning recipe as part of the Triple Play Healthy Habits programming for kids throughout the country.   

For more information about Triple Play or to view the Fruit & Veggie Fest recipes, visit www.bgca.org/tripleplay.

Triple Play: A Game Plan for the Mind, Body and Soul

Triple Play, a healthy lifestyles game plan for the mind, body and soul, was launched in 2005 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services with support from The Coca-Cola Company. The goal of Triple Play is to encourage kids to eat healthier, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships. A two-year study of more than 2,000 children ages 9-14 showed that Triple Play succeeded in getting them to exercise more, eat healthier foods and feel better about themselves. The study found that Triple Play kids increased to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount of daily exercise, which is 60 minutes a day for children, while their peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent. Triple Play includes five program components, each of which serves between 20,000 and 500,000 youth annually.  Since its inception in 2005, Triple Play has made more than 6 million connections with kids across the country. In 2011, the WellPoint Foundation joined BGCA and Coca-Cola as a Triple Play sponsor. Learn more about the program at www.bgca.org/tripleplay.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America:

For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, more than 4,000 Clubs serve some 4 million young people annually through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. They provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun, friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Priority programs emphasize academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.bgca.org/facebook and http://bgca.org/twitter.

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands.  Led by Coca-Cola, the world's most valuable brand, our Company's portfolio features 16 billion-dollar brands including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply, Georgia and Del Valle. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, ready-to-drink coffees, and juices and juice drinks.  Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy our beverages at a rate of more than 1.8 billion servings a day.  With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that reduce our environmental footprint, support active, healthy living, create a safe, inclusive work environment for our associates, and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate.  Together with our bottling partners, we rank among the world's top 10 private employers with more than 700,000 system associates.  For more information, visit Coca-Cola Journey at www.coca-colacompany.com, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/CocaColaCo or check out our blog, Coca-Cola Unbottled, at www.coca-colablog.com.

About WellPoint Foundation

The WellPoint Foundation is the philanthropic arm of WellPoint, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of WellPoint, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that WellPoint, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company's annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates' campaign pledges. To learn more about the WellPoint Foundation, please visit www.wellpointfoundation.org and its blog at http://wellpointfoundation.tumblr.com.

SOURCE Boys & Girls Clubs of America



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