Coca-Cola gives $50K to fight childhood obesity in Downey

DOWNEY - Coca-Cola has awarded the Downey YMCA a $50,000 grant in an effort to fight childhood obesity and further the city's "Healthy Downey" initiative.

Both Coca-Cola and the Downey YMCA are partners in Healthy Downey, a collaborative effort introduced last year by Mayor Mario Guerra to encourage and educate the community to adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles.

The grant will allow the YMCA to expand its "Youth Fitness and Wellness" program to elementary schools, which uses organized classes for physical activities and teaches nutrition education, motor skill development and social connections.

The program also addresses childhood obesity in Downey, where one in three youth is overweight or obese.

"Along with the skill-based curriculum, each program also incorporates character development, nutritional components and developmental assets that increase self-esteem and build confidence," said Anne Ullstrom, executive director of the Downey YMCA. "As a nonprofit organization, we rely upon our community's support and are very grateful to Coca-Cola for their generous contribution."

Coca-Cola and YMCA officials attended last week's City Council meeting where the grant was formally presented. More than 10 elementary schools are expected to receive the "Youth Fitness and Wellness" program as a result of the grant.

"Community organizations like the Downey YMCA are leading the charge toward a healthier Downey and we're proud to stand alongside them in this effort," said Nancy Limon, west region director of public affairs and communication for Coca-Cola North American Group.

"I applaud and thank Coca-Cola for sharing this vision by helping fund Downey YMCA programs that will serve to promote a healthier Downey," added Guerra. "We are lucky to have such a fine organization as the Downey Family YMCA is town and I am positive they will continue to do great things to promote healthy living for our city."