Iowa Business Council/PE4life “Adopt-A-School Challenge”
Iowa Business Council/PE4life “Adopt-A-School Challenge”
IBC Statement of Principle: The Iowa Business Council supports initiatives that seek to develop healthy, active, productive school children who will eventually grow to become healthy, active, productive adults.
Issue: Up to 34% of U.S. children and teenagers today are considered overweight or obese, the prevalence of which varies by ethnic group. Though not all obese children become obese adults, obesity tends to increase with age among both males and females, and there is a greater likelihood that early childhood obesity will persist through the life span. Numerous physical risks and psychological problems exist for obese children: pediatric hypertension; Type II diabetes mellitus; coronary heart disease; stress on the weight-bearing joints; lower self-esteem; and, negative relationships with peers. Unless the situation changes in dramatic fashion very soon, today’s children will be the first generation in memory to have a shorter life span than their parents.
Evidence exists that healthy, active children learn better and achieve best when they are physically fit. Cardiovascular exercise literally builds new brain cells. Exercise has also been shown to improve attention span and focus, lower anxiety and depression levels, and result in fewer discipline incidents – all factors that impact learning. After students exercise, they are less impulsive. Their motivation to learn is increased and they have less desire to get out of their chairs and move around.
Proposal - PE4life Adopt-A-School Challenge: PE4life programs combine today’s best practices in physical education to inspire and educate all students about the vital importance of lifetime physical activity and fitness. They incorporate cardiovascular fitness, muscular and strength endurance, team building, and adventure education within the curriculum; utilize technology and individualized assessments; and, encourage involvement with local health, medical, and business communities. The PE4life Adopt-A-School Challenge offers opportunity for a unique school/business/community partnership aimed at improving the health and academic achievement of our most vital resource, the next generation of Iowa youth.
At its June 2009 meeting, the Iowa Business Council adopted and recommended the implementation of PE4life as a preferred program for integrating an active health-oriented curriculum in an educational setting. Details of the Challenge:
• Goal: Initiate PE4life programs in 50 Iowa elementary or secondary schools over a five-year timeframe
o Provide training, professional development, support, & technology (e.g., heart rate monitors, data collection equipment)
o Increase school physical education programs to 3 days per week
• Cost generally: $45,000 per school ($40,000 for technology installation, $5,000 for necessary infrastructure updates) x 50 schools $ 2.475 million over 5 years o Potential source(s) of funding: corporate and institution foundations, State approps, community match, grants
• Cost to IBC: Discretionary funding support of up to $150,000 for initial program implementation needs, e.g., software training, university data collection & research costs —- administered by the IBC Executive Director.
PE4life is dedicated to significant expansion in Iowa, as it has hired two coordinators to lead school, community, and business engagement as the program is implemented throughout the state. For the level of investment identified, each school can be outfitted with the essential tools, training, and assistance necessary for PE4life to implement an effective program —- expanding into new schools as school-business partnerships develop. Philanthropic support can be targeted to your community schools/geographic area of business interest and paid when PE4life identifies a program ready for introduction. Benefits of adopting a PE4life school in Iowa include:
• Instilling healthier living habits & producing better performing school children who develop into healthier and more productive adults
• Creating a unique learning experience for all students, some of whom don’t always benefit from traditional physical education programs
• Positive community relations as awareness of programmatic support for PE4life broadens
There is already an initiative supported by the food and beverage industry, called the Healthy Weight Coalition, that is focused on developing four model PE4life schools in the Des Moines area and one Tribal school in the state. IBC Members will take this model to scale and expand the impact of the Coalition’s commitment to Des Moines and be a catalyst to expand it statewide. Iowa will be the first state nationally to attempt a PE4life-led initiative that blankets a state in a coordinated, intentional effort.
PE4life – background: Founded in January 2000 and headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., PE4life is a national non-profit advocacy organization committed to inspiring and promoting active, healthy lifestyles in all children through access to quality, health-related school physical education programs driven by data collection that produce measurable outcomes. PE4life is based upon the approach that physical education should: • be offered to every child every day.
• be available for all students, not just the athletically inclined.
• provide a wide variety of sports and fitness activities to promote an active and healthy lifestyle.
• assess students on their personal progress toward fitness and physical activity goals.
• incorporate technology on a regular basis.
• extend beyond the walls of the gymnasium.
As of March 2008, PE4life has trained 218 teams of more than 1,700 educators, administrators, and community leaders from 38 states across the U.S., impacting 2,412 schools and reaching nearly 2 million children. Please see www.pe4life.org for more information.