(Newsroom America) -- First Lady Michelle Obama has launched "Let’s Move! Active Schools" – an unprecedented collaboration to bring physical activity back to America’s schools.
The program provides simple steps and tools to help schools create active environments where students get 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day.
Mrs Obama called on school staff, families and communities to work together to reach an ambitious goal of engaging 50,000 schools in this program over the next five years.
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation are the managing organizations guiding the development and implementation of the program.
Funding and other resources for Let’s Move! Active Schools are being kick-started by NIKE, Inc., the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente, and the General Mills Foundation, the inaugural sponsor of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.
Over the next five years, NIKE, Inc. will invest $50 million in the U.S. to increase the physical activity of kids in schools and communities as well as target advocacy efforts to inspire kids and draw additional resources to this important effort.
Collectively, the other groups are committing over $20 million to help America’s schools engage all students in quality physical activity.
In addition, the U.S. Department of Education will continue to support both physical and nutrition education in schools by realigning its $80 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program (“PEP”) to prioritize schools most in need and support applicants with plans to maximize their reach by building cost effective, sustainable programs.
Let’s Move! Active Schools combines effective elements of existing programs and draws on new resources to provide customized support for schools to encourage physical activity.
The program mobilizes physical education teachers, classroom teachers, administrators, staff, and even parents to be "school champions" for their community. School champions are encouraged to sign up at LetsMoveSchools.org, where they will be guided along a simple, six-step process. Participating schools will have access to free tools and resources, including in-person trainings, program activation grants, and direct, personal assistance from certified professionals. “With each passing year, schools feel like it’s just getting harder to find the time, the money, and the will to help our kids be active. But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that all of us – not just educators, but businesses and non-profits and ordinary citizens – we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative,” said First Lady Michelle Obama.
“That’s what Let’s Move! Active Schools is all about – it’s about all of us coming together to once again make being active a way of life for our kids. And with today’s announcement, anyone, in any community, can become a champion to bring physical education back to their school.”
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day to stay healthy.
Regular physical activity enhances important skills, like concentration and problem solving, which have been shown to improve academic performance. However, kids today are the most sedentary generation in America’s history.
Only 1 in 3 children is active on a daily basis and only 4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools and 2% of high schools offer daily P.E.. Meanwhile, only 9 states require recess in elementary schools.
Kids spend a significant portion of their time in school, which is why the First Lady is focusing this initiative on the school environment as a key place to increase access to quality physical activity, so that all students can stay healthy and reach their potential.
Let’s Move! Active Schools is designed to make this work easier for schools by recommending evidence-based, free or low-cost solutions and providing ongoing support to every school that signs up. Let’s Move! Active Schools also calls on parents and community members to build support for active lifestyles and help schools make movement a part of every student’s day.