FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 1, 2012
White House Senior Policy Advisor Sam Kass lauded the steps taken to help end
the crisis of inactivity in the U.S.
Flushing Meadows, NY – Today at the U.S. Open, the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama to end the childhood obesity epidemic in America, unveiled a set of seven essential practices for increasing the quality and quantity of youth physical activity programming in America.
It also announced a new collaboration with the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) to build 3,200 kid-sized courts in 2012. The commitment exemplifies these essential practices by focusing on fun, mentoring and coaching as ways to increase availability of quality physical activity opportunities for children across the country.
“Children’s physical activity levels today are falling well short of the 60 minutes a day that they should be getting,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “This has implications for their physical and mental well-being, as well as their chronic disease risk. The seven practices announced today were developed over the last year in collaboration with some of the world’s leading experts. They are something that every youth physical activity program can strive for. USTA’s programs already meet several of these critical elements, and we are pleased to have them as a key partner today.”
Essential Practices for Youth Physical Activity Programming
The essential practices, also called program design filters, are part of a comprehensive process started by Nike, the American College of Sports Medicine and the International Council for Sport and Physical Education to unite key experts and practitioners around a common vision for increasing physical activity in kids worldwide. Later this month, the results of this collective work will publish in a report titled Designed to Move.
PHA has worked with this group to set two goals: reintegrate physical activity into the everyday lives of children and families, and inspire and enable children to choose active play and sport. The first step toward operationalizing these goals was to develop a set of evidence-based program design filters to ensure quality youth physical activity programs that will help build a foundation to ensure kids stay active and develop healthy habits throughout their lives.
To advance these efforts within the United States, PHA has worked in collaboration with a cadre of experts from the public, private, non-profit and academic sectors
to bring to life a set of filters that apply to all programs, all kids, and all activities. The best physical activity programs for children will be:
• Designed to provide universal access
• Age appropriate
• Geared toward recommended guidelines on dosage and duration
• Focused on motivation and incentives
• Able to track progress, individually and for the group
• Led by well-trained coaches and mentors
“We are raising the most sedentary generation of youth America has ever seen. It is urgent that we all act together to break this cycle and get our kids moving again. The design filters that PHA is releasing today are an important first step,” said Sam Kass, White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives. “By uniting around these seven filters, we will help make sure that all kids have access to positive physical activity experiences, which is critical to set them on a path toward an active, healthy life.”
Over the next several months, PHA will work with thought leaders, program managers and others to develop evaluation measures to help move the design filters forward.
More information on the filters, including a policy brief, is available at www.ahealthieramerica.org/designfilters.
Also this morning, PHA and the USTA announced that in 2012, USTA has committed to invest approximately $1 million to create or refurbish 3,200 kid-sized tennis courts in communities around the country. This commitment follows one made by the organization in 2011 to build 3,000 courts—in sum, the USTA is building 6,200 new courts over two years.
The organization also will offer training to 12,000 new and existing coaches to hone their skills, and will commit a minimum of $150,000 worth of new tennis equipment to support programs in schools and other youth facilities that are providing tennis programs for kids under 10.
“The USTA is proud to be working with the Partnership for a Healthier America and Let's Move! to help shine a spotlight on the crisis of physical inactivity among America’s youth and to encourage them to replace passive activities with a more active lifestyle,” said Kurt Kamperman, Chief Executive, Community Tennis, USTA. “We believe tennis is the sport of opportunity and has the ability to change lives by helping kids become active, healthier people and opening doors to social and educational opportunities. The USTA is reaching hundreds of thousands of kids in schools and public parks in countless communities by providing grants, programs and building and refurbishing courts so that more kids will have safe and fun places to play.”
“The USTA understands that physical activity is key to a healthy lifestyle, and that active kids grow into active adults,” Soler said. “The organization’s focus on tennis as a fun activity that begins with kids under 10 who have access to supportive coaches and mentors emphasizes some of the key attributes of quality programming that PHA announced today. We’re pleased that so many new activities will be available to kids around the country who want to try tennis.”
The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) is devoted to working with the private sector to ensure the health of our nation’s youth by solving the childhood obesity crisis. In 2010, PHA was created in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort. PHA is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that is led by some of the nation's most respected health and childhood obesity experts. PHA brings together public, private and nonprofit leaders to broker meaningful commitments and develop strategies to end childhood obesity. Most important, PHA ensures that commitments made are commitments kept by working with unbiased, third parties to monitor and publicly report on the progress our partners are making. For more information about PHA, please visit www.aHealthierAmerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.
The USTA is the national governing body for the sport of tennis in the U.S. and the leader in promoting and developing the growth of tennis at every level -- from local communities to the highest level of the professional game. A not-for-profit organization with more than 750,000 members, it invests 100% of its proceeds in growing the game. It owns and operates the US Open, the highest attended annual sporting event in the world, and launched the Olympus US Open Series linking 10 summer tournaments to the US Open. In addition, it owns the 90-plus Pro Circuit events throughout the U.S, and selects the teams for the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, Olympic and Paralympic Games. The USTA philanthropic entity, USTA Serves, provides grants and scholarships and helps underserved youth and people with disabilities. For more information on the USTA, log on to usta.com, “like” the official Facebook page facebook.com/usta or follow @usta on Twitter.