ASU Athletics, UnitedHealth and Non-Profit Fight Against Childhood Obesity
On Saturday, February 4, 2012, the Phoenix-based U Saved Me Guidance and Development (USM) organization held an event to raise awareness about the importance of nutrition in an effort to battle childhood obesity.
With generous grants from UnitedHealth Heroes, YSA (Youth Service America) and the devoted time of volunteers from Arizona State University athletics, many children were able to enjoy a day of exercise and education.
USM is a professional 501(c)3 non-profit therapeutic sports and mentoring organization led by a team of mentors, coaches and former collegiate athletes working to unite and empower families.
Led by USM staff, a group of 14 children traveled to the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, AZ to hike the “A” Mountain next to Sun Devil Stadium. The children took on the challenge of the strenuous and steep climb with great enthusiasm.
After the hike, the group met with ASU athletics’ dietitian Beth Gevirtz and student Candace Davis, who both graciously donated their time to the event.
Gevirtz, a University of Florida graduate, has been working with ASU Athletics since September of 2011, and currently works with the 500-plus student athletes, which includes all sports.
Candace Davis, a dietetics major at ASU, is currently a student athletics volunteer working under the supervision of Gevirtz. Candace will graduate in the spring of 2012, and her aspiration is to be a dietitian at a major university.
Under the guidance of Beth and Candace, the children were led on a tour of the ASU athletic complex. The kids were able to see a behind-the-scenes look at the weight room, training and physical therapy rooms and the famous Tillman Tunnel.
Before being led through the Tillman Tunnel, the group was educated on the inspirational life and journey of ASU alumni, Arizona Cardinal and army ranger, Pat Tillman.
The kids were given the chance of a lifetime to tap the letters above the entrance of the tunnel, just as former and current ASU football players do when heading out onto Frank Kush Field.
The group was then led to the club level seats inside Sun Devil Stadium to listen to a nutrition presentation prepared by Davis.
The aspiring dietitian spoke about the importance of nutrition, balanced diet and how each nutrient within the food table affects the body on a daily basis.
Handouts, charts and visual tools were distributed to reinforce Candace’s presentation. At one point, she demonstrated the amount of fat in one fast food cheeseburger by pulling out three, three-inch test tubes filled with actual fat, in relation to what is actually consumed. This stressed the importance of making good choices and avoiding fast food.
Toward the end event, the group encountered a very unexpected visitor: newly hired ASU head football coach, Todd Graham. Coach Graham introduced himself to the kids, who were clearly delighted to meet him.
At the end of the day, the children were heard talking amongst themselves about the various topics mentioned in the presentation and the experience of a lifetime of touring the athletic facility, which undoubtedly left a lasting impact on each and every one of them.