First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new program today – Let's Move! Active Schools – designed to bring exercise back to the school environment and inspire students to become more physically active.
First Lady Michelle Obama announced a new, unprecedented collaboration designed to help students in American schools become more physically active. The new program, Let's Move! Active Schools, is a sub-initiative within the First Lady's larger Let's Move! campaign. It provides tools and assistance to schools to create environments where children get the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after school. The goal of the program is to engage 50,000 schools across the United States to participate in the next five years. The First Lady called for school staff, students' families and communities to sign up at LetsMoveSchools.org to support active lifestyles and help reach this goal.
The new program, announced at a "Let’s Move! Active Schools" event in Chicago, aims to boost physical activity in schools by combining elements of existing programs and utilizing new resources to help schools encourage exercise among their students. The resources and tools include assistance from certified professionals, training, and grants to activate programs. Let's Move! Active Schools aims to mobilize PE teachers, school administrators, classroom teachers and parents to be "school champions" and help get students to become more active.
First Lady Michelle Obama said, "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. 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."
The goal of the new initiative is to provide students with access to quality physical activity within the school environment, where they spend a lot of their time. The program will make it easier for schools to keep their students active and healthy by recommending the most effective solutions and providing support to schools that sign up.
Even though the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend a minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, only one in three American children engages in physical activity on a daily basis. Furthermore, daily physical education classes are offered only in 4 percent of elementary schools, 8 percent of middle schools and 2 percent of high schools across the United States.
"Children need at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day where they live, learn and play," said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. "With youth spending six to seven hours in school daily, schools are a great place to get kids moving. With the launch of this initiative, we are confident that schools will have the tools, resources, and support they need to inspire their students to be physically active for a lifetime."
Let's Move! Active Schools is managed by several organisations: the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN), and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. These organisations will guide the development and implementation of the program. Companies and organisations providing funding and resources for the program include NIKE, Kaiser Permanenente, the GENYOUth Foundation, the General Mills Foundation, and ChildObesity180.
"Physical educators have always known that children are designed to move," said E. Paul Roetert, AAHPERD CEO. "Now through Let’s Move! Active Schools, we are thrilled to elevate our efforts in increasing physical activity before, during and after school to a larger national stage. Our role will be to provide professional development training so that physical educators will create even more early, positive experiences for all children. We want physical activity to become an integral part of their daily lives."
Watch the video to see the First Lady announce the project.