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Nike partners with First Lady on kids' health campaign

Courtenay Brown Special to the AmNews | 3/6/2013, 2:13 p.m.
First lady Michelle Obama talks Let's Move at U.S. Open

"I just don't want to keep disappointing our kids in this country," First Lady Michelle Obama said in a recent interview with ABC. "I want them to know we put them first."

And in order to do this she is getting help from big organizations like Nike to fund her ongoing campaign, "Let's Move," which she launched in 2010. "Let's Move" seeks to eliminate childhood obesity by creating healthy environments in which children can be active.

This week the First Lady announced the newest branch of her campaign that will bring physical activity back to America's schools. According to a statement released by the White House, the initiative, "Let's Move! Active Schools," will provide schools with the opportunities that will give children the chance to have 60-minutes of physical activity "before, during, and after the school day."

Over the next five years, Nike will contribute $50 million towards "increasing physical activity in the U.S.," in conjunction with the active schools initiative. Other organizations including GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente, and the General Mills Foundation will also contribute $20 million collectively, the statement said.

In 2008, The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), a union that represents teachers in New York, introduced a similar program, "24/7 Let's Go!". With this initiative, targeted towards elementary schools, students are rewarded for healthy eating and active behavior with stickers or points. Thousands of teachers in New York incorporated this program into their curriculum.

"We commend the First Lady for the attention she has given to the cause," Carl Korn, the spokesman for NYSUT said. "When kids eat right and get their blood flowing, they will be more attentive in the classroom."

To encourage physical activity in the classroom as well as outside of it, the "Lets Move! Active Schools" program emphasizes the importance of getting parents and other members of the community involved.

The First Lady emphasizes the importance of the involvement of different organizations when it comes to developing resources to encourage parents and other members of the community to encourage physical activity throughout the school day.

"...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, she said in the statement. "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 new initiative encourages these "champions," which can be teachers, administrators, or parents to sign up at LetsMoveSchools.org. The website will guide them along a six-step process and they can gain access to resources such as program activation grants and personal assistance from certified professionals