June 24, 2008

CNN & national non-profit KaBOOM! team up to spread the word about the importance of play in an active lifestyle

WASHINGTON, D.C. – KaBOOM!, a national non-profit organization that empowers communities to build playgrounds, and CNN announced an agreement to promote play as part of an active lifestyle for children.

KaBOOM!, which has directly facilitated the building of more than 1,400 playspaces across North America since its inception in 1995, will join with CNN and Cox Communications to build a playground at Pontiff Park in New Orleans in just one day on June 28  that will provide more than 10,000 children with a great place to play. CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will participate in the build, which will be covered as part of CNN’s Fit Nation programming, a multi-platform initiative to stop obesity.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with CNN in this endeavor,” KaBOOM! CEO and co-founder Darell Hammond said. “We’re optimistic that promoting healthy and active lifestyles with CNN will produce positive change on multiple fronts. There’s no question that increasing the amount of time children play on a playground is a critical component to our goal of improving fitness and health.”

The build will be featured on CNN’s House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a program dedicated to the latest health and medical developments and airs on Saturdays and Sundays from 7:30 to 8 a.m. (CT), as well as Fit Nation segments across the network’s properties. The playground build also marks the first CNN Fit Nation activity in 2008. CNN’s Fit Nation initiative began in 2006 as an ongoing multi-platform initiative to stop obesity and encourage healthier lifestyles. Over the past two years, Fit Nation and Gupta have traveled across the country engaging people in their own communities to get more active and develop local programs to meet the challenges of being overweight.

“I had the opportunity to see the destruction Katrina caused first-hand while I was reporting from New Orleans after the hurricane,” Gupta said. “I’m glad that Fit Nation can contribute to the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast region by creating a space for the community to use in achieving an active lifestyle.”

Gupta is chief medical correspondent for the health and medical unit at CNN. Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and an assistant professor of neurosurgery, plays an integral role in the network’s medical coverage, which includes American Morning, the weekend show House Call with Dr. Sanjay Gupta and coverage of breaking medical news. Based in Atlanta, he also co-hosts Accent Health for Turner Private Networks, contributes health news stories to CNN.com, writes a column for TIME magazine, is a contributor to CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. In 2007, Gupta’s first book, Chasing Life: New Discoveries in the Search for Immortality to Help You Age Less Today, became a national bestseller.   
About KaBOOM!
KaBOOM! is a national non-profit organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.  Since 1995, KaBOOM! has used its innovative community-build model to bring together business and community interests to construct more than 1,400 new playgrounds, skateparks, sports fields and ice rinks across North America.  KaBOOM! also offers a variety of resources, including an online community, regional and national trainings, grants, publications and the KaBOOM! National Campaign for Play, which includes Playful City USA and the Playmaker Network – a national network of individual advocates for play.  Headquartered in Washington, D.C., KaBOOM! also has offices in Chicago and San Mateo, Calif.   For more information, visit www.kaboom.org.

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