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Getting kids active ASAP

With help from First Lady Michelle Obama, ChildObesity180 seeks to uncover innovative school-based physical activity

First Lady Michelle Obama today released a video announcement introducing and encouraging applications to the Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP) Innovation Competition. ASAP—an initiative of ChildObesity180 at the Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy—is a nationwide competition for innovation in school-based physical activity and the first phase of ChildObesity180’s efforts to increase quality physical activity in schools.

“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 in a video announcing the competition. “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.”

The contest—supported by more than $1.2 million from 13 of the nation’s leading health plans—will award a total of $500,000 in prizes, with individual awards of up to $100,000 for the most creative, impactful, and scalable school-based programs and technological innovations that promote physical activity for children. In addition to monetary awards, top winners will advance to participate in supported pilot studies aimed at expanding both reach and impact, led by experts and staff at the Friedman School.

The First Lady's video announcement, and all competition details are available now at www.ActiveSchoolsASAP.org.

“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, N96, the Friedman School’s New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition who serves as Vice-Chair and Director of ChildObesity180. "This competition is about recognizing those champions and identifying opportunities to bring their innovative solutions to scale."

Peter Dolan, A78, A08P, vice-chair of Tufts’ Board of Trustees and 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 childhood obesity.”

The Active Schools Acceleration Project is the second initiative to be launched by ChildObesity180 since they received a $6.9 million dollar commitment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in September 2011. The first initiative, Healthy Kids Out of School, is a collaboration between nine of the nation’s largest out-of-school-time organizations. Convened by ChildObesity180, the leaders of children’s after-school, sport, and extracurricular organizations worked together to develop and adopt universal nutrition and physical activity principles from a broad list of evidence-based recommendations for combating childhood obesity—marking the first time leaders from these groups have worked together toward a common goal. Through their portfolio of initiatives, ChildObesity180 will continue to bring partners to the table to work together in pursuit of a common mission—reversing the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time.

About ChildObesity180

ChildObesity180 fosters cross-sector collaboration through a portfolio of high-impact initiatives aimed at reversing the trend of childhood obesity within one generation’s time. The ChildObesity180 membership is composed 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.