We envision a world where all children will enter adulthood physically and mentally equipped to live successful, healthy and productive lives.
During the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups in the United States, increasing more than four-fold among children ages 6 to 11. Today, nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. That’s more than 23 million kids and teenagers. And meanwhile, the childhood obesity epidemic is particularly severe in minority communities. There are also significant disparities in access to healthy foods and safe places to play.
If we don’t act to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, we’re in danger of raising the first generation of American children who may live sicker and die younger than the generation before them. Preventing obesity during childhood is critical because habits formed during childhood frequently continue into adulthood. Research shows that an obese teenager has up to an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.
Overweight and obese children are at a higher risk than their healthy-weight peers to develop a host of serious illnesses including heart disease, stroke, asthma, certain types of cancer, and depression. By reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity, we will make our nation healthier and stronger, save lives, ease the financial strain on our health care system and increase economic productivity for the next generation.
The latest research shows that the environments in which we live, and the public policies enacted by our political leaders directly impact how our children eat, and the physical activity in which they engage. When schools offer healthy foods and beverages in cafeterias and vending machines, students eat better. When communities feature parks and bike trails paired with vigorous physical education programs in school, children are more active. When neighborhood supermarkets and farmers’ markets
sell affordable healthy foods, families eat more nutritiously. However, when communities are dominated by fast food and have only a few places for our children to play, our children do not eat as well and are less active – and thus, their health suffers.
The Gasol Foundation focuses its time, energy, and financial resources on increasing physical activity and healthy eating, with an initial emphasis on school-age children in Memphis and Los Angeles. Specifically, the Gasol Foundation will work to reduce childhood obesity through three core areas of development:
1. Increased physical activity in school;
2. Increased physical activity in communities; and
3. Healthy, affordable food.
About The Gasols
Marc and Pau Gasol are brothers, Olympians and all-star NBA athletes committed to making a difference. Originally from Spain, the Gasols have garnered the national and international spotlight for both their athletic prowess and dedication to philanthropy.
Marc Gasol has played for the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis, Tennessee since 2008. He was an NBA All-Star in 2012 and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2013. He is widely considered the best passing center in the NBA. Additionally, Marc is a tremendous community advocate both in Memphis and back home in Barcelona, Spain.
Pau Gasol is a power forward for the Chicago Bulls. He played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 2008-2014 as well as the Memphis Grizzlies from 2001-2008. He is a four-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA selection, and has won two NBA championships. In 2012, he won the NBA J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for outstanding service, and is an ambassador for UNICEF, St. Jude Hospital and the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital.
Together Pau and Marc founded the Gasol Foundation in 2013. From a very young age, the Gasols have shared a passion for children’s health. Their mother was a doctor and their father a hospital administrator, Pau and Marc had regular access to and were educated on the importance of physical activity, healthy food and emotional security. Some of their fondest family memories were moments spent together actively living a healthy lifestyle. They strive now, as part of their own foundation’s work, to do everything they can to ensure that same level of access and enjoyment for today’s global youth. With past charitable endeavors Pau and Marc have seen first-hand the two-fold power of philanthropy: affecting both macro-level change and more personal, intimate change. They look forward to casting continued light on important issues through future philanthropic partnerships and the work of the Gasol Foundation.