San Diego Chargers' Running Back LaDainian Tomlinson Brings Healthy Message To Children

ESCONDIDO, CA — LaDainian Tomlinson will make special visits to two elementary schools in Escondido on Wednesday, May 27, and Thursday, May 28, to encourage kids to sign a Declaration of Health certificate. It's all part of Palomar Pomerado Health's (PPH) Project 21 San Diego program, and is similar to the President's Fitness Challenge.

PPH and Tomlinson launched Project21SD — named for the football player's jersey number - in July 2007. Project21SD 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 educating them on the importance of exercising and eating healthy — establishing healthy habits today 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 will encourage more than a thousand elementary students to sign a Declaration of Health certificate, making a commitment to exercise, eat healthy foods and encourage others to do the same. The goal is to reduce diabetes and childhood obesity, and to improve the overall health of our communities. Tomlinson will then recognize the top students who have run the most miles while participating in elementary school Running Clubs in the past year.

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.

San Diego based Competitor Group Inc. Verizon Wireless and Qualcomm are joining PPH and Tomlinson for this special Declaration for Health program. Competitor Group Inc., organizers of the Rock & Roll Marathon and the Carlsbad 5000 will donate more than a thousand T-shirts and free race entries to students for Carlsbad's Junior Marathon in 2010. The free entries will go to children from low-income families who have never participated in an organized running event before.

Qualcomm and Verizon Wireless will encourage the success of the students by helping to provide the program with a health and fitness application from Bones in Motion (, preloaded on mobile phones and complete with a service plan. The BIM Active software turns a GPS phone into your personal fitness monitor.

"We've seen the personal empowerment and motivation of using mobile applications and our network to track fitness for our own employees and customers," said Mark Monteyne, Head Coach for Verizon Wireless. "Kids love mobile phones so we're thrilled to share those benefits through Project 21."

LaDainian Tomlinson to Visit Elementary Schools to Encourage Healthy Lifestyle

Wednesday, May 27 — 1:30 p.m. Lincoln Elementary School1029 N. Broadway Escondido, CA 92026

Thursday, May 28 — 9:00 a.m. Felicita Elementary School737 W. 13th AvenueEscondido, CA 92025

Who: LaDainian Tomlinson, more than a thousand school children, PPH Members of the Board, teachers, parents, Competitor Group Inc. and Qualcomm

Visuals: LaDainian Tomlinson cheering on children running and exercising, children signing the Declaration of Health certificate and LaDainian answering questions from students.

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