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Video: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack

Ad Council Announce New PSAs Featuring Characters from Walt Disney's Pinocchio to Help Remind Moms About

NEW YORK, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack joins The Advertising Council today to announce a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to inspire parents to adopt healthier lifestyles for their families. The campaign, which is supported by the USDA's Food Nutrition and Consumer Services, features characters from the Blu-ray(TM) and DVD release of Walt Disney's Pinocchio and encourages parents to visit to find the right balance to a healthy lifestyle for their children.

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"Combating childhood obesity and encouraging all Americans to balance healthy eating with daily physical activity is a top priority for President Obama and me," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack . "Ultimately, eating well and exercising is a question of public health. Overcoming this epidemic of obesity requires that we work together at all levels -- parents, teachers, community and business leaders and government -- to achieve healthier lifestyles. USDA's provides a number of tools and resources to help all of us move to a healthier lifestyle."

Research shows that being overweight during childhood and adolescence is associated with being overweight during adulthood. Seventeen percent of children and adolescents are overweight in the U.S. today. The percentage of children (ages 6-11) who are overweight has more than doubled in about 25 years from 7% (1976-80) to 19% (2003-04). . Almost 14% of children aged 2 to 5 were overweight in 2003-04, up from 7% in 1994. Recent data indicates that mothers and caregivers know about healthy eating, yet struggle with turning that knowledge into healthy meals and snacks for their families.

The new PSAs are an extension of USDA's Nutrition Education campaign, which emphasizes that "good nutrition and physical activity can lead to great things for your children."

The new television, radio, print, outdoor, and online PSAs, created by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, remind parents that healthier lifestyle habits are critical for a child's mind and body and illustrate how much fun it can be to "Eat Right. Be Active." and "Make it Balance." Parents and caregivers are encouraged to visit the campaign's website and use the USDA's My Pyramid to assist them in making healthy choices for their families.

"I am delighted to continue our partnership with USDA and to work with Secretary Vilsack on this critical campaign to educate parents and children about My Pyramid. I hope these PSAs motivate parents to begin taking simple steps today with their child's nutrition and physical activity habits because a healthy lifestyle can lead to a bright future for our children," said Peggy Conlon , President and CEO of The Advertising Council.

The PSAs will be distributed to media outlets nationwide this month to appear in advertising time and space donated by the media.

U.S. Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.

The department increases food security and reduces hunger in partnership with cooperating organizations by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet, and nutrition education in a manner that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence.

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

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