CHICAGO, Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, during an event where First Lady Michelle Obama discussed the need for increased physical activity opportunities in schools, the General Mills Foundation committed $10 million to help implement the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program, a comprehensive, school-based fitness assessment program.
At the event, Mrs. Obama launched "Let's Move! Active Schools," a program that emphasizes quality physical education. A central focus of that is the new Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP), which replaces the long-standing Youth Fitness Test, in place since 1958. The PYFP employs the latest science and promotes health and physical activity for America's youth.
"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. 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," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "That's what Let's Move! Active Schools is all about – it's about all of us coming together to once again make being active a way of life for our kids. And with today's announcement, anyone, in any community, can become a champion to bring physical education back to their school."
The General Mills Foundation is the inaugural sponsor of PYFP and has committed $10 million over six years to help implement the program in schools nationwide. A portion of the donation includes in-kind marketing expertise to raise awareness and school participation in the program.
"General Mills is thrilled to be here today to support the First Lady's efforts to improve youth fitness," said Kim Nelson, senior vice president of external relations at General Mills and president of the General Mills Foundation. "We believe the Presidential Youth Fitness Program will provide a groundbreaking, sustainable approach to improving the health and well-being of our nation's youth. This new partnership allows General Mills to broaden our commitment and positively impact even more young people."
PYFP includes a health-related assessment, as well as professional development for physical educators and recognition opportunities to empower students to engage in regular physical activity for a lifetime.
The new program is voluntary and represents a significant change in how schools approach kids' physical fitness. Instead of recognizing athletic performance as the Youth Fitness Test did, the new program assesses students' health-related fitness and helps them progress over time.
"The Presidential Youth Fitness Program isn't about who is the fastest or the strongest. It is about healthy kids and lifelong physical activity," said Dr. Jayne Greenberg, President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition council member. "The General Mills Foundation has a strong track record in supporting youth nutrition and fitness and we are grateful for their commitment and the marketing expertise they will provide to help us make this new program a success."
PYFP aims to reach an unprecedented 90 percent of schools across the nation by 2020 with assessment tools, professional development training and resources for teachers, as well as recognition for students. The program could have a positive impact on more than 50 million school-aged youth.
The General Mills Foundation joins PYFP partners, including the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN), the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), The Cooper Institute®, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure that all schools have access to resources that will support the implementation of PYFP.
General Mills Foundation has long been focused on youth nutrition and fitness. Through its flagship Champions for Healthy Kids grant program, in partnership with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, General Mills has reached nearly 1 million kids with nutrition and fitness programming since 2002.
About the General Mills Foundation
The mission of the General Mills Foundation is to nourish communities. Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed more than $143 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2012. General Mills invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that focus on alleviating hunger and advancing nutrition wellness. In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer. To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/GeneralMillsGives or visit us at GeneralMills.com/en/Responsibility/Community_Engagement.
About the Presidential Youth Fitness Program
Launched in September 2012, the mission of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program is to offer a comprehensive school-based program that promotes physical activity and fitness for improved health of America's youth. This voluntary program is the result of a partnership between the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Amateur Athletic Union and The Cooper Institute. For more information about PYFP, visit www.presidentialyouthfitnessprogram.org.
SOURCE General Mills