Over the past several decades, physical activity has been engineered out of everyday life. As a result, less than a quarter of children in the United States are getting the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day. At the same time, obesity rates have risen sharply; more than a third of kids are overweight or obese.
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) was created to help solve this problem by working with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to make healthier choices easier for busy parents and families.
One way PHA is helping to integrate physical activity into kids’ daily lives is through our support of Let’s Move! Active Schools (LMAS). As a national collaboration, LMAS empowers school champions to incorporate 60 minutes of physical activity into the school environment. With kids spending upwards of six to seven hours in school each day, creating regular physical activity opportunities before, during, and after school is critical to the health of our nation’s youth.
It’s no secret that active kids do better! Research shows that kids who are physically active on a daily basis perform better in the classroom and demonstrate increased attention span and improved behavior. Physically active lifestyles also lead to lower rates of childhood obesity and related conditions.
LMAS is currently at work in more than 8,700 schools, impacting more than 3.5 million students nationwide. With the support of leading health and education organizations, schools enrolled in LMAS gain access to tools and resources, which help students move more.
The great news is that schools across the country are already taking important strides to increase physical activity. Students at Memorial Elementary School in Natick, Massachusetts now have the opportunity to kick start the day with physical activity thanks to LMAS supporting organization BOKS, which provides a free morning physical activity program aimed at getting kids’ brains revved up and ready for the day. In Elk Grove Village, IL at the Ridge Family Center for Learning, kids have a chance to get up and moving during “brain breaks” which teachers use to energize and re-focus students throughout the day. Teachers at both schools report that kids in the program are exhibiting more confidence, a higher attention span, as well as improved overall academic performance.
These are just a couple of examples of how LMAS creates early positive experiences for students. To find out more about “Active Schools in Action” watch this video developed by LMAS partner NIKE, featuring DC Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvahlo: http://bit.ly/1ksRMeK
We know that solving the issues of physical inactivity and childhood obesity can’t be done alone. It’s up to all of us to help bring back physical activity to our nation’s schools. To find out more about LMAS and to get involved, visit