Television

Nickelodeon's president Cyma Zarghami meets president Bush to discuss child obesity

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MUMBAI: Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group president Cyma Zarghami, joined president Bush and the first lady at the White House to discuss the current effort towards the fight against childhood obesity on 1 February. They joined by other food and beverage industry and entertainment executives and CEOs, the Ad Council and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Nickelodeon and MTVN Kids and Family Group president Cyma Zarghami

The meeting stemmed from the recent announcement by HHS, the Ad Council, Dreamworks SKG, Nickelodeon, and others about the launch of a new series of public service advertisements designed to help prevent childhood obesity featuring characters from the movie Shrek.

Nickelodeon will premiere the Shrek "Be A Player" PSA on 1 February at 8 pm. ET/PT and air it throughout the year as part of the network's on-going "Let's Just Play" campaign, which strives to encourage kids and families to make healthy lifestyle choices, informs an official release.

"Nickelodeon is honored to be a part of this forum today, and to be able to discuss with the President and First Lady, and many leaders in the food, beverage and media industries, how we can all work together to further the solution to childhood obesity," said Zarghami. "We've taken great strides as a company to encourage healthy lifestyles among kids, and we're pleased to see so many corporations collaborate to move the needle on this issue."

Participants, along with Zarghami, included: Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.; Marc Belton, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Health, Brand and New Business Development, General Mills; Peggy Conlon, President and CEO, The Advertising Council; Alexander "Sandy" Douglas, Jr., President and COO, Coca-Cola North America; Roger Enrico, Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation SKG; Ivelisse Estrada, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Community Relations, Univision Communications, Inc.; Lance Friedmann, Senior Vice President, Global Health and Wellness and Sustainability, Kraft Foods, Inc.; Jeff Montie, Executive Vice President of North America, Kellogg Company; Tom Seddon, CEO, Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust; and Don Thompson, President, McDonald's USA.

More than 10 million school-age children in the United States are now considered overweight. The proportion of overweight kids tripled among adolescents over the last 25 years, and nearly doubled for children ages 6 to 12. This increases their risk for adult heart disease and diabetes, lowers life expectancy, and creates additional health-care costs. The Federal government spends more than $600 million annually to fight obesity, adds the release.

The channel claims to have committed more than $30 million and 10 percent of its non-programmed airtime to health and wellness messaging. This year marks the fifth year of Nickelodeon's "Let's Just Play" pro-social initiative, which is a multi-media campaign that empowers kids to recapture the spirit and benefits of active play for themselves and their communities. The campaign builds on

Nickelodeon's connecting with kids through all its lines of business including online, magazines and on-air messaging. Over the past two years, Nickelodeon has also awarded approximately $2.5 million in grants and through its "Let's Just Play Giveaway" to schools and after-school programs to help provide resources that will create and expand opportunities for physical play.

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