First Lady Applauds Sports Products Industry Leaders for Working Together to Promote Physical Activity
Mrs. Obama Challenges Industry to Do More
SILVER SPRING, MD – September 10, 2013 – First Lady Michelle Obama recognized SFIA members Reebok and Nike at a Let’s Move! Active Schools event for their continuing efforts in promoting physical activity and fighting childhood obesity. The First Lady emphasized that collective efforts to address the obesity epidemic are beginning to have a real impact on society and encouraged attendees that “now is the time to double down” on these efforts.
The event was attended by celebrity athletes Shaquille O’Neal, Allyson Felix, and Dominique Dawes and executives from the SFIA, Reebok, and Nike. Reebok President & CEO Uli Becker announced that BOKS, an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation which incorporates physical activity and nutrition into programming for kids before the school day, will provide approximately 500 schools with a grant of $1,000 each to bring BOKS to their school, giving priority to schools that are signed up for Let’s Move! Active Schools. This past spring, Reebok and Nike committed $30 million and $50 million, respectively, to get kids moving and increase physical activity.
“I want to give a huge thank you to Uli and to Reebok and the BOKS program. Along with Nike and nine other organizations, they are truly the driving force behind Let’s Move Active Schools,” said Mrs. Obama. “And I have to say that it is really inspiring to see two big competitors like Nike and Reebok coming together on behalf of our kids. I truly look forward to seeing more companies join our efforts to get our kids moving.”
The First Lady provided statistics that demonstrating tangible progress, including obesity rates among low-income preschoolers dropping in 19 states and territories from 2008-2011, and child obesity rates falling in cities like New York and Philadelphia; and states like California and Mississippi. The state of Mississippi now reports a 13% drop in obesity rates in elementary school kids.
For all the progress that has been made in the last few years, Mrs. Obama emphasized that much more needed to be done when it comes to childhood obesity. Parents and educators, just as much as they value math and writing skills, need to be committed to physical activity and good nutrition as they are the foundation to growing up healthy and doing well in school. She said kids who are more active may perform up to 40% better on tests, and are 15% more likely to go to college.
“We are truly at a pivotal moment…a tipping point when the message is just starting to break through,” said Obama. “And if we keep pushing forward, we have the potential to transform the health of an entire generation of young people.”
“We’re raising the most inactive generation in our country’s history,” said SFIA President & CEO Tom Cove who attended the event on behalf of the SFIA. “The sports and fitness industry has a tremendous opportunity, as well as obligation, to take a leadership role in getting our society to become physically active. It is uplifting to see two SFIA members and major industry players in Reebok and Nike coalesce on something that’s bigger than all of us. With our own industry program in PHIT America, I am confident that the sports and fitness industry hears the First Lady’s message loud and clear and we are prepared to make even more progress for this generation and future generations to come.”