26th September 2007

Three Cheers for Nike

Thumbs Up for NikeSo often the news that the average citizen hears regarding Corporate America is negative – primarily because our news media loves to trumpet the latest accounting scandal, or tear apart the most recent disgraced executive. Corporate greed is running rampant in some industries (oil, pharmaceuticals, insurance, etc.) leaving many of us with a bad taste in our mouth for big business.

Less media noise is made when a corporation does something very good. Maybe it doesn’t “sell” as well. But when a company steps up to the plate and says “here’s a problem that we can help with” and it DOESN’T also boost their bottom line significantly, that’s worth trumpeting.

Nike, the giant footwear corporation, has developed a shoe specific to the needs of a segment of the population suffering most from severe health issues (including obesity and diabetes), Native Americans. Obesity generally causes major changes in one’s foot – which flattens, widens, and the arches fall – from carrying so much excess weight. Foot changes make it extremely difficult to find comfortable shoes, and not having comfortable shoes makes it difficult to get excercise in order to lose weight. American Indians, as an ethnic group, also have wider than average feet, making it even more difficult for them to find comfortable shoes.

Best of all, Nike is offering these shoes to American Indian tribes at wholesale, and all profits from the sale of the shoe will be reinvested in health programs for tribal lands, where problems with obesity, diabetes and related conditions are near epidemic levels in some tribes.

I would like to see Nike extend this wonderful program to include all Americans who have been diagnosed with morbid obesity, which is at near-epidemic levels amongst much of our population, including a large number of children, but regardless Nike deserves three cheers for exhibiting such a high level of civic responsibility.

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