Carrying the ball for healthy living

Carrying the ball for healthy living

Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin to headline Scottsdale fundraising dinner for Healthy LifeStars

Childhood obesity is on the rise across the country and, according to the Child Policy Research Center, 30.6% of Arizona children ages 10 to 17 are obese or overweight.

Healthy LifeStars (HLS), a Valley nonprofit, is attempting to curb this trend in Arizona, boosted by a fundraising dinner in Scottsdale featuring two-time college football Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin.

The celebration is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 9, at Harley Davidson of Scottsdale, 15656 N. Hayden Rd. Tickets are $50, available online at

Admission price includes dinner. Silent and live auctions will be conducted. All proceeds go toward HLS LifeStar Challenge Program participation fees for children across the Valley.

Winners of an October weeklong HLS StepUp4Kids (SU4K) Walkathon, which also raises funds so children can continue to participate in the LifeStar Challenge Program for free, will be recognized at the dinner.

Dr. Susan Wilder, founder and CEO of LifeScape Premier medical practice and recent recipient of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce ATHENA award, will be honored during the celebration.

Wilder is a healthy lifestyle advocate for families and children. She has been on the HLS advisory board providing expert advice for more than 10 years.

Griffin, the former Ohio State star in the 1970s and the only two-time Heisman Trophy winner, is working with HLS to share his story about how leading a healthy, active life has positively impacted his life.

He wants inspire families to lead a more wholesome and nutritious life.

Healthy LifeStars has worked with more than 20,000 kids to promote healthy living in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada.

HLS, founded in 2003, offers the LifeStar Challenge, a program that implements healthy lifestyle activities during and after school at more than 30 Valley schools and youth organizations. The program was created to educate and motivate children to commit to living an active life by taking responsibility for their health at a young age.

“Healthy LifeStars has had great success in the Valley because we have a proven program built on more than a decade of evidence-based results,” says Julie Frankel, executive for development and operations of Healthy LifeStars. “Our program is grounded in three core elements of fitness, nutrition and goal-setting. The LifeStar Challenge teaches kids easy ways to incorporate healthy habits into their daily lives.”

Like the November dinner, proceeds from the second annual StepUp4Kids Walkathon, a weeklong challenge October 16-23, cover LifeStar Challenge participation fees for children across the Valley.

Walkathon participants will log their daily step count on the HLS website. For more information, to donate to HLS or to register for the walkathon go to

Children 17 and younger can participate in the walk for free. For adults 18 and older, the fee is $25. The three adults, team and 25 children who walk the most steps during the week will be recognized at the November dinner with Griffin and awarded prizes.

Healthy LifeStars, a 501(c)(3), partners with organizations and schools that reach youth in at-risk communities, populations that often lack access to fitness and nutrition programs.

“It’s no surprise that obesity rates are directly correlated to socio-economic status,” Frankel says. “We try to teach that even if you live in a food desert or don’t have access to a gym you can live a healthy, active life.”