The Living Heart Foundation, with support from the National Football League Players Association and Covidien (NYSE: COV), today announced the launch of the HOPE (Heart, Obesity, Prevention & Education) Program for former National Football League (NFL) players. The HOPE Program is a comprehensive obesity research initiative designed to promote healthy lifestyles and weight-management among former professional football players. These former players, when compared to smaller-sized men, are more likely to have cardiovascular problems and other health issues associated with being overweight.
The weight management initiative is an extension of the existing Living Heart Foundation programs that are aimed at promoting health services to specific groups that have been traditionally overlooked – including high school, college and professional athletes, as well as underserved populations.
“When a player’s athletic career ends, the level of exercise is reduced dramatically while caloric intake often remains high, and this could lead to obesity, along with other serious co-morbidities,” said Andre Collins , Director of Former Player Services of the NFL Players Association. “The HOPE Program provides former players with a team environment that encourages participants to adopt healthier lifestyle choices. Adverse health conditions due to obesity in former NFL players can be corrected with healthy diet, exercise and weight loss.”
The HOPE Program was launched in October 2012 at Temple University Hospital, under the leadership of Gary Foster , PhD, Director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University School of Medicine.“Through feedback generated during focus groups with former NFL players, we found that these men are primarily motivated to make lifestyle and fitness improvements for personal well-being and to benefit their families,” Dr. Foster said. “HOPE Program participants are generally competitive, determined individuals who view this program as an opportunity to motivate one another and achieve their weight-loss goals together.”