Nike joins Michelle Obama for physical activity initiative

February 28, 2013

First lady Michelle Obama.

First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday announced an effort to engage 50,000 schools in an effort to bring physical activity back to the classroom, and she's getting a big assist from Nike.

The shoe-maker will spend $50 million on the "Let's Move Active Schools" effort over the next five years. Several other organizations are combining to donate $20 million, including the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente and the General Mills Foundation.

According to the White House, the initiative "provides simple steps and tools to help schools create active environments where students get 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after the school day. Mrs. Obama called on school staff, families and communities to work together to reach an ambitious goal of engaging 50,000 schools in this program over the next five years."

The White House also announced that, in partnership with the new initiative, the Department of Education's $80 million Carol M. White Physical Education Program (“PEP”) would be realigned to focus on the neediest schools.

"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," Michelle Obama said. "But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we should stop trying – it means we should try harder. It means that 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."

The Web site for the initiative is LetsMoveSchools.org.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · February 28, 2013