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Giants Quarterback Eli Manning on Getting Kids (Including His!) Moving More

Eli Manning and New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham break down the 60 Million Minutes Challenge before the big game this weekend. (Photo courtesy Xbox360) Eli Manning and New Orleans Saints Tight End Jimmy Graham break down the 60 Million Minutes Challenge before the big game this weekend. (Photo courtesy Xbox360)

Whether you’re excited for the game, Beyoncé, or just an excuse to throw a party on a Sunday night, the Super Bowl is just around the corner. New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning (you may have heard of him a time or two, especially this time last year?) is teaming up with Kinect for Xbox360 and NFL Play 60 for the 60 Million Minutes Challenge, to recruit one million kids across the country to pledge to be active for 60 minutes each day. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, more than a third of American children and adolescents are obese or overweight, and with Kinect for Xbox 360, families can get off the couch and get in exercise without it feeling like a chore. We chatted with Manning, who is in his hometown New Orleans for the Super Bowl on the campaign, and how he keeps his own family active.

Tell us about the 60 Million Minutes Challenge with NFL Play 60 and Kinect for Xbox360. Why was it important for you to get involved in this?

I love the concept of getting kids to make it a priority to exercise for 60 minutes a day. It’s easy in the summer and when the weather is warm, but now that it’s winter and it’s dark and cold out activity levels can really drop. With Xbox360 Kinect, kids can still play beach volleyball or track and field or whatever else they love to do inside. We clearly have a problem in this country with obesity, and I hate to see kids who aren’t healthy and missing school because of their health issues. I also want to get kids out and running around above all else because it’s fun! It’s fun to be a kid and play outside with your friends or parents or grandparents. The more active kids are with others, the more it won’t seem like exercise.

Do you work out with your wife? How do you get your daughter Ava, 2, moving at such a young age?

During the season it gets tough but for the off-season we take lots of walks in the park and let her run around as much as she wants. Just chasing her is a pretty serious workout! We try to get her outside as much as possible, our yard is filled with soccer balls and basketballs, and we're always trying different things with her to keep her active and engaged.

It might be a little early, but do notice things Ava is starting to pick up that makes you think what kind of sports she’ll do in the future?

She’s actually pretty good at kicking and loves to kick the soccer ball. And she’s fast! This week we were at my nephew’s basketball game and she was so intrigued by what was going on up and down the court. After the game she was running around the court and trying to shoot the basketball. We went outside to the football field where I played in high school and she would run up and down the yard lines, my other nephews and nieces had to go run after her! So she’s definitely got some athletic skills in her.

With the Super Bowl on Sunday, we’ve been getting tons of tips from experts on how to lighten up our party menus. How does your family keep a healthy diet?

We always have grilled chicken or fish, with lots of vegetables. A lot of it is just being conscious of how you’re cooking things, which is why we love cooking at home. You can be aware of how much butter you’re using and what else goes into your recipes.

Who does most of the cooking, you or your wife?

We team up most of the time. I’ll do the grilling outside and she’ll be inside doing the baking, vegetables or throwing together a salad, we each have a role.

To learn more about the 60 Million Minutes Challenge and to take the pledge, visit Xbox Facebook page.

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