Let's Move in School: Nation's Leading Education, Health and Sport Organizations Join Forces to Improve Health and Academic Performance

RESTON, Va., Feb. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Let's Move in School, a national initiative to increase physical activity before, during, and after school is being introduced to thousands of U.S. schools today. In support of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and its National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) are hosting a national Let's Move in School webinar that will bring together leading education, health and sport organizations to advance school-based physical activity.

Although it has been established by research that 60 minutes of physical activity a day is important for student health and academic performance, we are challenged with how to offer adequate physical education and physical activity in the face of other education demands, states Vicki Worrell, AAHPERD President. Let's Move in School provides a unified message along with tools and resources to implement a comprehensive school physical activity program.

With physical education as the cornerstone, a comprehensive school physical activity program enables students to practice and apply movement skills in a culture of active learning. These active outlets include morning announcements, classroom activity breaks, integration of activity into classroom lessons, recess, activity clubs, walk to school programs, and intramural and interscholastic sports.

Aligning Education and Health Leaders

Let's Move in School brings together leading national associations, federal partners, and corporate partners in an effort to help schools coordinate physical activity before, during, and after school. Strategic partners are ASCD, American Association of School Administrators (AASA), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association for Secondary School Principals (NASSP) and the National School Board Association (NSBA). In addition, more than 40 national nonprofits have joined as supporters of this new initiative.

According to Dr. Gene Carter, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of ASCD, The first tenet of ASCD's Whole Child Initiative emphasizes the health of children because, at the most basic level, students can achieve their absolute best only if they are healthy. Educating the whole child means teaching students about the importance of good nutrition and creating an environment in which students can practice healthy behaviors and be physically active.

To help increase the physical activity levels of young Kansans, the Kansas Health Foundation in partnership with AAHPERD/NASPE and Kansas AHPERD, has announced Let's Move in Kansas Schools. The foundation will provide funding and support to train physical education teachers in 200 schools to serve as a Certified Director of Physical Activity and lead implementation of a comprehensive physical activity program in their schools.

Getting Started

Schools can get started by planning a Let's Move in School celebration during National Physical Education and Sport Week, May 1-7, 2011. Schools that register their event online by March 28 will be eligible to win a visit from a President's Council for Fitness, Sports & Nutrition member – a federal supporter of this initiative.

To register a school celebration, find out more about the initiative, and access promotional videos, tools and more visit www.LetsMoveInSchool.org.

Let's Move in School is supported by the following corporate partners, committed to improving physical activity among youth: The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, American Beverage Association, Hershey's Track and Field Games, ING, Skillastics, HOPSports, PlayCore, Playworld Systems, Spark, Speed Stacks, and the US Tennis Association.

American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

AAHPERD, an alliance of five national associations, six district associations, and a Research Consortium, provides its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support, and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. It is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, recreation, fitness, dance, health promotion and all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. AAHPERD serves 20,000 members and has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, 25 miles west of Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.aahperd.org.

National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)

The preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is a nonprofit professional membership association that sets the standard for practice in physical education and sport. NASPE's 15,000 members include: K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, administrators, researchers, and college/university faculty who prepare professionals in these areas. NASPE seeks to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high-quality physical education, sport and physical activity programs. It is the largest of the five national associations that make up the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). For more information, visit www.naspeinfo.org.

SOURCE American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)