Subway has launched a national campaign that it says will raise awareness and educate communities on the need to prevent and treat childhood obesity. Called the F.R.E.S.H. Steps Childhood Obesity Prevention initiative, the sandwich chain says the initiative empowers kids and adults to “Feel Responsible, Energized, Satisfied and Happy” by seeking healthy choices in their menus and in their overall lifestyle.

Subway also announced it has expanded its relationship with the American Heart Association, as the first-ever sponsor of their Jump Rope for Heart program.

The F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative includes a public awareness television campaign, a F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge, and healthy lifestyle tips on In addition, Subway franchisees have agreed to commit 20 percent of their national advertising budget to raise awareness about obesity.

“Obesity is a serious threat to the well-being of future generations,” said M. Cass Wheeler, CEO of the American Heart Association, in a statement released by Subway. “Prevention programs and education are critically important to controlling what many have called an obesity epidemic. We applaud the Subway F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative in drawing attention to this issue and helping parents and children understand the importance of making healthful choices and leading active lifestyles in the fight against childhood obesity and related conditions including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Jump Rope For Heart raises funds for American Heart Association education and research programs and develops rope-jumping skills for more than 4 million children annually, while promoting the life-long values of physical activity and proper nutrition in fighting heart disease and stroke.

The F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge, a key element of the campaign, is a tool to help kids and their families to commit to living healthier lives. By signing the F.R.E.S.H. Steps Pledge, kids and adults promise to be more active, eat a variety of good foods and be proactive in creating a healthy lifestyle.

The cornerstone of the F.R.E.S.H. Steps initiative is a multi-million dollar public awareness television advertising campaign that highlights the importance of taking steps to make healthier choices and lead active lifestyles.

An independent survey commissioned by Subway and conducted by Strottman Consulting Group probed the perceptions of more than 2,500 kids, ages 5-12, regarding wellness and healthy behaviors. Among the key findings, none of which is particularly surprising: obesity is something that kids are generally not concerned about; while kids understand the importance of eating healthy, few actually do so; and parents can do a better job as role models for healthy behaviors.

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