MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. // PRNewswire // - NBC's The Biggest Loser, General Mills, Subway, 24 Hour Fitness and Feeding America are partnering on the Pound For Pound Challenge, a program that encourages Americans to lose weight nationally to help provide hunger relief locally. For a second year, for every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, a pound of groceries will be delivered to a local food bank. The new season of NBC's The Biggest Loser, which premiers tonight, Tuesday, January 5 at 8 p.m. ET, will provide updates on Americans' participation in the Challenge and how their efforts are helping communities nationwide.
New this year, 24 Hour Fitness is joining this important initiative and www.PFPChallenge.com will highlight the top 10 participating states and food banks to help ignite friendly competition across the country.
Recent data from the U.S. government shows more than 49 million Americans struggled to get enough to eat at some point in 2008, the highest total in 14 years, making it the ideal time to get involved in the fight against hunger.
"Our network of more than 200 food banks across the nation have shown an average 30 percent increase in demand over last year," said Vicki B. Escarra, president and CEO, Feeding America. "At these rates, we all likely know someone affected by hunger and can help them in a big way by simply participating in the Pound For Pound Challenge."
To join the Challenge, people can visit www.PFPChallenge.com or www.BiggestLoser.com and enter their weight loss goals. For every pound of weight participants pledge to lose, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents to Feeding America - enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank - up to a maximum donation of $800,000.
"As a food company, General Mills is deeply committed to the hunger crisis," said John Haugen, vice president, Health and Wellness at General Mills. "Last year we helped Feeding America deliver more than 3.5 million pounds of groceries to local food banks through the Pound For Pound Challenge, and we are thrilled to give Americans yet another chance to help themselves while helping those in need in their communities."
To wake up Americans to the hunger issue, General Mills recently committed to donate 49 million bowls of Big G cereal made with whole grain to Feeding America for delivery to local food banks. General Mills CEO Ken Powell, NBC's The Biggest Loser's Bob Harper and Feeding America president and CEO Vicki B. Escarra travelled across the country to rally Americans to join the cause.
"I'm so inspired by the commitment I've already seen from Americans to help those who struggle to put food on the table," said Bob Harper, trainer, NBC's The Biggest Loser. "More than 1 million pounds have already been pledged to the Pound For Pound Challenge, and that momentum will only continue as we highlight the program on our show."
"Starting January 5, our viewers will watch as the show's contestants commit to improving their own health, and we hope that inspires them to join the Pound For Pound Challenge," said Mark Koops, Managing Director of Reveille, the production company behind NBC's The Biggest Loser. "The Challenge will be actively integrated into season 9, so viewers will get updates on how their own efforts are impacting their local communities."
Each person who pledges will be matched with a local Feeding America food bank nearest their residence, and donations will be delivered to those food banks when the Challenge ends. Participants who want their pledge to benefit other areas of the country can indicate that when they make their pledges. The Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 14 cents, enough to deliver one pound of groceries to a local food bank, for every pound pledged up to a maximum donation of $800,000 based on participation. Pledges will be accepted until June 30.
"Subway has long encouraged Americans to lead healthy, active lifestyles," said Tony Pace, Chief Marketing Officer of the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust. "By joining the Pound for Pound Challenge, Americans can turn their own healthy commitment into support for a great cause."
On www.PFPChallenge.com, dieters also can get helpful meal and weight loss tips from Yoplait, MultiGrain Cheerios, Larabar, Muir Glen, Eat Better America, Subway and 24 Hour Fitness.
"24 Hour Fitness is committed to helping people achieve their workout and weight-loss goals," said Tony Wells, Chief Marketing Officer at 24 Hour Fitness. "There is no better motivation to stay dedicated to a healthy lifestyle than to join the Pound For Pound Challenge."
With the rapidly increasing need for donations, everyone can do their part to spread awareness of the hunger issue and become a part of the solution. In addition to pledging to lose weight, at www.PFPChallenge.com you can create a PFP Challenge team on Facebook, invite a friend to join the Challenge via e-mail, donate directly to Feeding America and learn how you can volunteer at local food banks.
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in over 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A., General Mills had fiscal 2009 global net sales of US$15.9 billion, including the company's $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.
Feeding America provides low-income individuals and families with the fuel to survive and even thrive. As the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief charity, our network members supply food to more than 25 million Americans each year, including 9 million children and 3 million seniors. Serving the entire United States, more than 200 member food banks operate 63,000 agencies that address hunger in all of its forms.
The Biggest Loser airs on NBC Tuesdays at 8 pm (ET). The first reality series where everybody "loses," The Biggest Loser challenges and encourages overweight contestants to shed pounds in a safe and recommended manner through comprehensive diet and exercise as they compete for a grand prize of $250,000. Hosted by Alison Sweeney (Days of our Lives), the series provides the contestants with challenges, temptations, weigh-ins and eliminations until the final contestant remains to claim the title of "the biggest loser." Each team works out under the supervision of professional trainers Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper. The Biggest Loser is a production of Reveille LLC, 25/7 Productions and 3 Ball Productions.
Beyond the U.S. where more than 100 episodes of the show have aired, The Biggest Loser has become a worldwide hit appearing in over 90 countries and produced in 25 countries. Since its debut in 2004, The Biggest Loser has grown to become a standalone health and lifestyle brand by developing tools and products inspired by the show and approved by its doctors and experts.
Anchored by the online, subscription-based extension of the show, Biggestloserclub.com, from Rodale, The Biggest Loser consumer products program has generated over $100 million in spending, with presence at more than 25,000 major retailers to date. The program currently features a wide variety of health and fitness products including The Biggest Loser video game for Wii and Nintendo DS & DSi, The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge, which is a full-service, destination health & fitness spa, The Biggest Loser Meal Plan, a New York Times best-selling books series, a best-selling fitness DVD series, a line of appliances, fitness equipment, protein supplements and several other health and lifestyle based products.
Reveille is a leading independent studio focused on exploiting worldwide intellectual property rights in scripted and unscripted television and digital entertainment, and a world leader in creating integrated marketing opportunities for advertisers. Reveille is known for popular and award-winning hit series including THE BIGGEST LOSER, THE OFFICE, UGLY BETTY, THE TUDORS, TABATHA'S SALON TAKEOVER, SHEAR GENIUS and PARENTAL CONTROL. Reveille has developed many original online series for brands including the series FIT TO BOOM for Subway and IT'S EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS WITH JACK AND SUZY WELCH for Microsoft. Upcoming television series include THE BURIED LIFE, MASTERCHEF, GIGANTIC and BREAKTHROUGH WITH TONY ROBBINS. Through its distribution arm, Shine International, Reveille distributes its extensive library of programming to more than 150 countries. Reveille is part of the Shine Group, one of the world's foremost multinational entertainment and drama companies.
The SUBWAY(r) restaurant chain is the world's largest submarine sandwich franchise, with more than 31,500 locations in 91 countries. Headquartered in Milford, Connecticut, and with regional offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Brisbane, Miami, and Singapore, the SUBWAY(r) chain was co-founded by Fred DeLuca and Dr. Peter Buck in 1965. The SUBWAY(r) brand was ranked the number one Franchise Opportunity and the number one Global Franchise Opportunity in the 2009 edition of Entrepreneur magazine's "Annual Franchise 500(r)" survey, an honor that the SUBWAY(r) chain has received 16 times in the past 22 years.
Headquartered in San Ramon, Calif., 24 Hour Fitness, an innovative leader in the health and fitness industry, serves more than 3 million members in more than 400 clubs. Founded in 1983 as a one-club operation, 24 Hour Fitness pioneered the concept of making fitness accessible, affordable and a way of life for everyone. The company demonstrates its leadership through sponsorships like that of the U.S. Olympic Team and a commitment to the community through various charitable and in-kind donations. In addition, 24 Hour Fitness enjoys strategic partnerships with major consumer brands like Coca-Cola, Dial and Everlast and for the past eight seasons has partnered with NBC's popular reality TV show, The Biggest Loser.