FORT WORTH -- Continuing a commitment to tackling childhood obesity, the Dallas Cowboys opened their newest Play 60 Fitness Zone on Monday at The Salvation Army's Mabee Social Services Center.
Cowboys running back Felix Jones and Cowboys Executive Vice President Charlotte Anderson joined Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the facility, which serves as the hub of The Salvation Army's Tarrant County operations and is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is located southeast of downtown Fort Worth at 1855 East Lancaster Avenue.
"At any given point in the day, we have 25 to 30 children in this center and they will benefit greatly," said Stephen Hood, the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer for The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Command. "This Zone will help strengthen their bodies and sharpen their minds … and will assist The Salvation Army in building young people into strong and vibrant citizens for this strong and vibrant community."
The Dallas Cowboys Play 60 Fitness Zone features brand-new Strive fitness equipment, specifically made for adolescent users with interactive gaming systems geared at motivating kids to get up and moving. The Cowboys' rookie players helped prep and paint the rooms in team colors during a visit last month. Filled with Cowboys photos, posters and pennants, the space also includes a flat-screen television and an Xbox 360 with Kinect, a video-gaming system that promotes physical activity.
"It doesn't matter how you play. As long as you play for 60 minutes and you're active is all that matters," said Jones, who credited The Salvation Army's programs for helping him get in shape both physically and mentally during his childhood. "Fitness is very important. … It does create confidence. It does empower them and keeps them focused on their task."
Fitness is more important now than ever. Recent studies say this is the first generation of children that could have shorter lifespans than their parents. In Texas, more than 25 percent of children ages 6-18 are considered overweight or obese – statistics that Anderson called "very frightening."
"We are trying to help fight that," Anderson said. "We're trying to offer opportunities for our young kids to stay fit, to play 60 minutes, and to give it their best effort to really help them improve their bodies, improve their minds and improve their selves."
Price thanked the Dallas Cowboys, the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities, and corporate partners GlaxoSmithKline, Best Buy, Southern Painting and Sherwin-Williams for their generous contributions.
"Healthy kids make a healthy future for this city," Price said. "Kids who are healthier perform better in school. Their grades are better, their attention span is better. Fitness can help turn the tide on childhood obesity. It can keep kids from getting sick and can keep them in school longer."
This is the Cowboys' fourth Play 60 Fitness Zone in the Metroplex, joining locations at the Salvation Army Arlington (2008), Arlington Boys & Girls Club (2008) and the Grand Prairie Boys & Girls Club (2011). A fifth Fitness Zone is scheduled for this fall.
Photo Gallery: Play 60 Fitness Zone >>