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NFL Quarterback Sam Bradford, Secretary Vilsack Urge Native Children to Get Outside and Get Active

St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford joined Secretary Vilsack in the USDA People’s Garden yesterday to urge Native American youth to spend the summer pursuing healthy outdoor activities.  About 30 Native youth from across the Nation, including Tuba City, Arizona and Southeast Alaska, planted a Native American Garden (part of the USDA People’s Garden) as Bradford, Vilsack and other dignitaries spoke.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (at podium) and St. Louis Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford (blue shirt, left) met at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, to encourage Native American Youth to pursue a healthy lifestyle. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)

Bradford, an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, was joined by Robin Schepper, executive director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative; Keith Moore, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Education Director; and Janie Hipp, Senior Advisory to Secretary Vilsack with the USDA Office of Tribal Relations. 

In his remarks, Bradford noted that heart disease and type II diabetes are a growing problem for Native American youth and that a healthy lifestyle, including eating quality food and engaging in outdoor activities, can counteract the effects of childhood obesity.  “When I was a kid,” said Bradford, “my mother made me get outside, get active and have fun.” Bradford, a first overall NFL draft pick and a winner of the Heisman Trophy, credits outdoor activities as a youth with providing the physical foundation for his football career. 

Ariculture Secretary Tom Vilsack met with Native American Youth at the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 2, 2011 to encourage them to pursue a healthy lifestyle. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)

Secretary Vilsack acknowledged the efforts of the First Lady, and programs like Let’s Move! and Fuel Up to Play 60 with making a real difference among children in rural America.  He thanked Bradford for his message to America’s youth and noted the importance of activities like the People’s Garden in promoting outdoor activities and health living, saying “You can’t ‘win the future’ if you are dealing with obesity issues.”  The Secretary said that 1,300 People’s Gardens across the country last year donated an estimated 90,000 pounds of fresh food to food banks and other organizations. 

Visit these sites to learn more about  Fuel Up to Play 60, Let’s Move! and the People’s Garden.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (left rear of group) met with more than 30 Students from Eastern and Western Tribes, Southeast Alaska, and Tuba City, Arizona who came to the Nation’s Capitol to plant vegetable seeds that are indigenous to North America. (USDA Photo by Lance Cheung)