Initiative encourages Kentucky students to get active

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Jan. 27, 2014) — More Kentucky students are kicking their sedentary habits and getting active thanks to the “Let’s Move!” Active Schools initiative.

The physical education program empowers teachers, principals, administrators and parents to create active environments that enable all students to get moving; helps promote physical activity before, during and after school; and encourages parent and community involvement in helping students become healthier.

“The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) is committed to improving the health and wellness of Kentucky’s students,” said Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.  “‘Let’s Move!’ helps schools create active environments that get students moving every day and supports their success in school.”

Students need at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Since young people spend an average of six to seven hours in school each day, the school environment is an ideal place to help students achieve the recommended amount of physical activity. Studies show that students who participate in regular physical activity also perform better in school.

Schools in nearly 50 Kentucky school districts have signed up for the “Let’s Move!” program.  Jefferson County has committed to the program districtwide. In joining the initiative, the district recognized the need to provide physical activity opportunities for its students. “Let’s Move!” also will help support professional learning for school personnel as they work to align Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programs with Program Review expectations.

“We are excited about the commitment from the state’s largest school district to join ‘Let’s Move!’ Active Schools,” said Jamie Sparks, director of KDE Coordinated School Health. “This will help raise the amount of quality physical education opportunities for all the district’s students and improve school and district performance on the Practical Living Program Review.  I would encourage other districts in the state to follow suit and bring ‘Let’s Move!’ into their schools.”

Schools can sign up at www.letsmoveschools.org and find information to help build a team and develop a plan. Free resources and tools, including in-person trainings, program materials and activation grants, and direct, personal assistance from certified professionals, also are available.

The Kentucky Board of Education Health Subcommittee will officially recognize all Kentucky school districts that have made a commitment to the “Let’s Move!” Active Schools initiative at the Southern District American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) convention Feb. 20 in Lexington. Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition (PCFSN), will be a featured speaker and will help present recognition certificates to participating district superintendents.

AAHPERD and PCFSN serve as the managing partners of the “Let’s Move!” Active Schools program and work closely with organizations across sectors to support the program. Participating schools receive priority for physical education and physical activity grants associated with the program, customized technical assistance and professional development. Any U.S. school can enroll and receive assistance and support at no cost. For more information, visit letsmove.gov.

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