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Soccer as a tool to fight obesity

The American Samoa National Olympic Committee has responded with several very popular and successful Biggest Loser competitions.
Now, an American Samoa Government agency (Department of Youth and Women’s Affairs) will spearhead a program with the acronym RESULTS — (Recreation, Exercise, Soccer, (U) You, Lose, Trim and Slim — that will target this social issue by using the sport of soccer through funds provided by the Oceania Football Confederation.
Their target audience will be youths between the ages 16-25 for a period of 16 months, playing “recreational soccer twice a week for 16 weeks,” according to a release from DYWA.
“What we hope to achieve out of this program is a healthy future for American Samoa’s young generation and for all the youth to be actively on the field playing sports together,” explained DYWA Director Leiataua Leuga Turner. “We also see this program helping to decrease diabetes and hypertension problems.”
She went on to say that she and her department hopes the program will “enhance self esteem and for the concerned population to be more productive members of our young generation in all that they do.”
FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet was also present during the PYASC welcomes the opportunity to work with another ASG agency and is fully supportive of the initiative that kicks off next week at Kananafou Theological Seminary.
“FFAS has a very positive relationship with the government, going hand-in-hand with First Lady Maryann Tulafono’s Boys & Girls Clubs of American Samoa Afterschool Program,” explained FFAS President Iuli Alex Godinet, “and now we are very proud to be working together with another ASG department, the Youth and Women’s Affairs.
“To Director Leiataua, I look forward to our two organizations working together along with several other RESULTS partners taking on the issue of obesity among our youth.”
When asked whether DYWA will look to partnering up with OFC and FFAS in other issues that they may have in the planning stages, she replied with an emphatic “defintely!”
“I see this ongoing partnership as our joint mission in the development of our youth for better sports initiatives, edecation and also their overall health,” she pointed out.
The funds were awarded to an American Samoa contingent attending the first ever Pacific Youth and Sports Conference in New Zealand that was organized by OFC and Manukau City Council in March 2010.
OFC General Secretary Tai Nicholas announced the availability of $100,000US for the five best projects presented by the various participating countries.
DYWA Deputy Director Pa’u Roy Ausage was the delegation’s leader and together with his group presented one of five winning projects.
Eight church youth groups have signed up for the first phase that will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays of the next 16 weeks. They are Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa, Methodist Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Samoa Independent Seventh Day Adventist Church, Happy Valley Baptist, First Samoan Full Gospel Pentecostal Church, Aua Village Youth and Big Bounce.
Materials such as team uniforms and shin guards will be handed out to the participants on Monday, May 9, 2011 at Pago Park Soccer Stadium.
The business community joining this venture are Panamex Pacific Inc., All Stars Signs, KHJ 93.1 FM, V103 FM, KSBS 92.1 FM, KNWJ 104.7 FM and Samoa News. CCCAS Kananafou and the First Lady’s Ta’ita’itama are also partners.
ASG agencies also signing on with RESULTS are ASCC Land Grant, the Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Public Safety – Highway Safety program, KVZK TV and the LBJ Medical Center – Nursing and Diabetes Division.

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