Boston, MA (February 9, 2010) – Major League Lacrosse announced today that they are joining First Lady, Michelle Obama in her efforts to end childhood obesity.
“We are very excited to be working with the First Lady, the White House, our existing league partners such as New Balance, and other sports leagues on such an important cause” said MLL Commissioner David Gross. “The First Lady is committed to ending childhood obesity over the next 18 years and as a league we are committed to supporting her efforts and working with her team to make this goal a reality.
In the last 30 years, the percentage of children who are obese has doubled and the percentage of obese adults has tripled, increasing the number of years that they are exposed to the health risks of obesity including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and several major cancers. Today, nearly one third of all children in America are now obese or overweight.
Major League Lacrosse supports getting kids active and has played a major role in getting kids to start and continue playing lacrosse, as participation in the sport of lacrosse has more than double since the inception of the league in 2001.
The six teams in MLL each host over 60 events helping to teach youth lacrosse players how to play the game. Over 27,000 kids have taken part in the team’s free clinics over the past year alone.
On site at league games, youth teams participate in multiple pre-games and halftime games. In 2009 roughly 9,000 youth players were afforded the opportunity to play in such a game. Our teams are reaching out into the inner city working to expose the sport of lacrosse to an underserved market. The Washington Bayhawks have taught over 150 kids involved in the inner city WINNERS Lacrosse program. The Boston Cannons routinely help over 700 youth involved in the highly regarded Metro Lacrosse, which fuses lacrosse and education in Boston. The Long Island Lizards donate equipment to local programs that cannot afford to buy the equipment on their own.
The Denver Outlaws run the Outlaws Physical Education Program in local elementary schools where players act as gym class teachers for one day. This program has been presented to over 2,000 students since its creation in 2009. The players teach the fundamentals of lacrosse, while at the same time emphasizing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and teamwork. The Outlaws are also involved with the City Lax Program, a community outreach program that teaches lacrosse to 600 inner-city youth with the goal of developing their personal, emotional and athletic skills. This program has been recognized in the documentary, “City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story” and has become an immediate success.
Over the next few months the MLL will work closely with the First Lady and the White House on new initiatives to encourage, support and inspire kids to make choices on how to keep them physically fit now and when they reach adulthood.