Los Angeles_When its television screens go blank on Saturday, the Nickelodeon cable network is advising its viewers not to fiddle with the buttons - but to go outside and play.
The three hours of dead air the children's network will begin broadcasting at noon (EDT/PDT) is part of its fourth annual worldwide day of play, an encouragement to kids to get outside and work on getting in shape.
Later that day, any kids who have gotten the exercise bug might tune into the network's "Let's Just Play Go Healthy Challenge" (6 p.m. EDT/PDT) and compare what they did with other kids whose exercise regimens have been spotlighted on the show.
If they have been following the program, an effort of the network and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, they'll see that one of those kids has made some impressive gains.
The 13-year-old, identified only as Kenderick from Little Rock, Ark., was a chubby youth and self-described "couch potato who played video games and didn't go outside much" when he joined the program in April. Since then, he says he has dropped 40 pounds and learned to swim and ride a bike.
"I could have learned to swim before, but I was really scared of the water," he told The Associated Press recently. "I got a bike for Christmas. I touched it once, fell off and never rode it again."
Over the past several months, however, he overcame those fears and got in good enough shape to take part in a triathlon in which he swam 100 yards, biked four miles and ran one mile.
Kenderick, whose family has a history of heart disease and diabetes, said he hopes he might have been an inspiration to some of the 750,000 kids the network says made a promise on its Web site to do their part to fight childhood obesity.
In the meantime, he still has some goals he wants to achieve.
"I still want to lose weight but I want to work on my muscles now," he said. "I want to get ripped now."John Rogers© 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
The White House is embarking on a major campaign to turn the public against the nation's largely family-based immigration system ahead of an all-out push to move toward a more merit-based structure.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio's potential defection has put a speed bump into GOP leaders' drive to push their big tax package through the Senate.
Generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans would be delivered in a sweeping overhaul of the tax laws, under a new agreement crafted by Republicans in Congress.
Federal attorneys prosecuting a multimillion-dollar opioid drug-ring case are moving quickly to sell seized bitcoin that's exploded in value to $8.5 million since the alleged ringleader's arrest.
Disney is buying a big chunk of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal, gaining U.S. cable channels and a major film studio and growing overseas as it tries to meet competition from technology...
Disney is buying a big chunk of the Murdoch family's 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal, gaining U.S. cable channels and a major film studio and growing overseas as it tries to meet competition from technology companies.