Shelbyville Daily Union

Local News

March 1, 2013

First lady announces effort to help kids exercise

CHICAGO (AP) — Imagine students learning their ABCs while dancing, or memorizing multiplication tables while doing jumping jacks.

Some schools are using both methods of instruction, and Michelle Obama would like to see more of them use other creative ways to help students get the recommended hour of daily exercise.

In Chicago on Thursday, the first lady was announcing a new public-private partnership to help schools do just that. “Let’s Move Active Schools” starts with a website, www.letsmoveschools.org , where school officials and others can sign up to get started.

Mrs. Obama said too many penny-pinched schools have either cut spending on physical education or eliminated it outright to put the money toward classroom instruction. But the first lady who starts most days with a workout — and other advocates of helping today’s largely sedentary kids move their bodies — say that’s a false choice, since studies that show exercise helps youngsters focus and do well in school.

The effort is one of the newest parts of Mrs. Obama’s 3-year-old campaign against childhood obesity, known as “Let’s Move,” which she has spent the week promoting.

“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,” the first lady said in her prepared remarks. “It means we should try harder. It means that all of us — not just educators, but businesses and nonprofits and ordinary citizens — we all need to dig deeper and start getting even more creative.”

She was being joined for the announcement at McCormick Place in her hometown by several Olympians, including gymnasts Dominique Dawes and Gabby Douglas, sprinter Allyson Felix, tennis player Serena Williams and decathlete Ashton Eaton, along with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and triathlete Sarah Reinertsen, whose left leg was amputated above the knee when she was a child. Thousands of students from city middle schools also were being brought in for the event.

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