Subway Spokesperson Launches Foundation to Fight Childhood Obesity
The Jared Foundation will provide grants for educational programs targeting children who face obesity related issues. Leveraging his notoriety from Subway television commercials, Fogle will travel the country raising money to fund grassroots programs and organizations who share his mission.
“I am starting The Jared Foundation to help kids who are in the same situation I was in growing up,” said Fogle. “I was an overweight kid who turned into an even heavier teenager who turned into an obese young adult and this negatively affected every aspect of my life. Now I am in a position where I can have some influence with kids and hopefully, can help them learn to make better choices.”
A Nationwide Epidemic
According to the American Heart Association, more than 5 million children ages 6 to 17 are overweight and, of these, more than 2 million are obese. The prevalence of overweight children and adolescents has almost quadrupled from less than 5 percent in the 1980s to about 16 percent today. Among African Americans and Hispanics, the prevalence of overweight children is as high as 20 percent.
Fogle believes people of all ages relate to his weight loss success story, which combined Subway sandwiches and an increase in his physical activity level. Prior to founding The Jared Foundation, Fogle was reaching out to youth in the United States and around the world, telling his story through Jared’s F.R.E.S.H. Steps School Tour, sponsored by Subway.
“Through The Jared Foundation, I hope to teach kids about the mistakes I made and to motivate them to make better choices,” said Fogle. “My story is part of pop culture and the kids listen to what I have to say. When you look at the audience, they are listening intently, asking wonderful questions. And they ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ when I show them the big pants I used to wear when I was obese.”
The Jared Foundation will announce its first partnership with Feed Their Dreams Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization helping children reach their dreams by teaching them about food, nutrition and healthy choices.
The Feed Their Dreams Children’s Foundation was founded in 2003 by Rick Tarantino, Jr., who most recently was Executive Director of Advancement & Annual Giving at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I. A skilled fundraiser with experience in the food, beverage and hospitality industries, Tarantino works closely with food manufacturers and hospitality companies to build programs to address the growing concern about children’s eating habits, food additives, and childhood obesity and hunger.
Tarantino has worked with children for years, teaching them to cook and how to make smart nutritional choices. Feed Their Dreams Children’s Foundation offers a variety of outreach programs designed to help children learn to make better eating choices, such as "Get Liquid," which encourages children to drink more water, and "The Healthy Vending Exchange," designed to offer schools and community organizations ideas on alternatives to traditional vending selections.
“Obesity has no boundaries and affects children of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, income brackets, and geographic locations,” said Rick Tarantino. “As the number of obese children continues to grow each year, there is an increased need for educational and active programs to help children learn about food, nutrition and healthier lifestyles. Through programs like Feed Their Dreams Children’s Foundation and The Jared Foundation, Jared and I hope to offer a solution to this growing problem that presents a significant risk to the health and emotional well being of our nation’s children.”
Beginning this fall, Feed Their Dreams Children’s Foundation and The Jared Foundation will kick-off their “Kids Healthy Challenge” program in schools across America. The unique educational opportunity is a nationwide initiative aimed at addressing the challenges that face today’s children. By taking the challenge, children, families and communities will not only learn about valuable ways to lead healthier lives, but they will also be helping to fundraise for their school or community center.