First Lady Michelle Obama helps kick off competition with video message
Washington, D.C. – Feb. 7, 2012 – ChildObesity180 today launched a new initiative, the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), in the continuing effort toward reversing the trend of childhood obesity. Because of their strong support for Let’s Move!, her initiative to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged participation in the competition with a new video message.
ASAP, in a commitment with The Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), is conducting a national competition to identify and reward the most creative, impactful, and scalable school-based programs and technological innovations that promote physical activity for children. The contest will award a total of $500,000 in prizes, with individual awards of up to $100,000. In addition to monetary awards, top winners will advance to participate in funded pilot studies aimed at expanding both reach and impact.
ASAP's national outreach campaign is underway to mobilize applications from schools, teachers, technology developers, entrepreneurs – anyone with a passion and a plan to get students active and healthy. The PHA is helping to promote the competition and encourage participation through their broad-based, multi-sector networks.
The First Lady’s video announcement and all competition details are available at www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org.
“We know there’s so much good work going on all across this country to get our kids up and moving every single day,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “So we want to find the best school programs and technology ideas that increase physical activity for kids – and then help them reach even more children throughout America.”
In an excellent example of the private sector stepping up to play a lead role in the fight to reverse childhood obesity, funding for the ASAP innovation competition has been provided by a consortium of the nation's leading health plans. According to David Cordani, President and CEO of Cigna Corporation and a Charter Member of ChildObesity180, "As health industry leaders, it is our responsibility to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity so future generations can live to their healthiest potential. With a commitment to making meaningful change, more than a dozen companies have come together to support this critical initiative."
The competition features two categories: “School Programs” and “Technology Innovation.”
Teachers, schools, or entire districts are encouraged to submit their in-school physical activity programs to the competition in the “School Programs” category. This may include any curriculum, activity, environmental modification, event, or other initiative that promotes quality school-time physical activity and is currently being implemented with their students.
Winners of the “Technology Innovation” category will demonstrate how their existing or emerging technology can be used to inspire kids to be physically active. This may include devices, tracking and measurement systems, software applications, innovative uses of social media, gaming, smart phones, and more.
“Many schools have found creative ways to incorporate physical activity into the daily routine of their students, helping them to build lifelong healthy habits,” said Christina Economos, PhD, Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180, Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, and a leading researcher in the field of childhood obesity prevention. "This competition is about recognizing those champions and identifying opportunities to bring their innovative solutions to scale."
In addition to school-based programming, ASAP wants to learn about innovative applications of technology, both in school and beyond, to get kids moving. "TVs and computers can sometimes be an impediment to physical activity," said the First Lady, "but we also know we can harness the power of technology to get our kids up and active."
Peter Dolan, Chair of ChildObesity180, adds, “We are grateful to the First Lady for her enthusiasm and support in launching this competition and to the 13 leading health plans that have stepped up and made a financial contribution to this initiative. Together, we will work to identify and highlight programs with the potential to improve the quality of physical activity in schools across the country and bring us closer to our goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.”
Applications to the competition will be accepted from February 7 through April 2, 2012. For more information, visit www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org.
Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) is an initiative of ChildObesity180, an organization which fosters cross-sector collaboration through a portfolio of high-impact initiatives which aim to reverse the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time. The ChildObesity180 membership is comprised of national leaders from the public, nonprofit, academic, and private sectors who are using their reach and expertise to drive an integrated national strategy to prevent childhood obesity. ChildObesity180 is chaired by Peter Dolan, former Chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb and Gemin X, and Vice Chair of the Tufts University Board of Trustees. Leading childhood obesity researcher Christina Economos, PhD, serves as the Vice-Chair and Director, and Miriam Nelson, PhD, as the Co-Director. Drs. Economos and Nelson are faculty of the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. Founded in 2009, ChildObesity180 is conducted in collaboration with Tufts University; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation serves as a strategic partner. For more information about ChildObesity180, visit www.ChildObesity180.org.