Jack LaLanne, 91, Godfather of Fitness, Pops Off About School Soda Pop Ban and His War on Obesity in Children

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Jack LaLanne, 91, Godfather of Fitness, is thrilled schools are yanking sugary, carbonated beverages from school vending machines. “It’s about time!” he says. “They should have done it twenty years ago!”

Jack LaLanne, 91, Godfather of Fitness, is thrilled schools are yanking sugary, carbonated beverages from school vending machines. “It’s about time!” he says. “They should have done it twenty years ago!”

Striding forward energetically on stage as he recently addressed a school assembly of several hundred students, parents and teachers at Far Hills Country Day School, New Jersey, during his “War on Children’s Obesity” World Tour, LaLanne said: “I was a sugarholic and my baby teeth all fell out by the time I was four. At fifteen I gave up empty calories, had my last soft drink, began exercising and it changed my life!”

LaLanne went on to open the first modern gym in the US in1936, invent the first weight-lifting equipment (leg weights with cables and pulleys), broadcast the first fitness show (1951), found what is now called Bally’s Fitness clubs with millions of members, and promote eating more fresh fruits and veggies through “power juicing.” Jack tells the kids that what we eat today is “walking and talking tomorrow,” and that giving up soft drinks and empty calorie foods “can boost your health, increase energy and help you perform better in everything you do!”

And kids are believing it, says Principal Jayne Geiger. “He shows them the impact eating well, exercising and setting goals can have in life. As teachers, parents and community leaders, we’re trying to work together to help kids, cutting out soft drinks, increasing fruit and salad bars, challenging kids to get involved in sports, exercise and set goals. My students were mesmerized by him. I don’t know when a speaker has had this effect on kids--- and we get a lot of speakers!”

“He inspired me,” said Chris, 11. “I couldn’t believe it when he said on his 70th birthday he pulled 70 boats with 70 people, and he works out seven days a week, two hours a day---- wow!”

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“He looks pretty good for 91,” said Laura, 8. “I mean, he still looks old, but not that old. So I think I’ll drink more water instead of pop, and maybe I’ll jump on the trampoline more.”

Keith Mirchandani, CEO of Tristar Products, manufacturer of Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer (http://www.powerjuicer.com), attended the assembly with his two kids. “I’m surprised what an impact Jack has on everyone. Even my 5-year old daughter, Alicia, really got it--- telling me she wasn’t going to eat so much junk food. That’s one of the reasons we’re proud to be associated with Jack. He’s inspiring.”

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Valerie Brooks
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