WASHINGTON, DC — Research from Harvard Medical School’s Dr. John Ratey shows that for a person’s brain to function at its peak; the body needs to move. Dr. Ratey is not alone, as a growing pool of research has also shown a correlation between exercise and academics, including better performance on standardized test scores and higher GPAs. Today, World Champion Sprinter Tyson Gay, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, and The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) all joined forces to promote physical activity in school.
As an ambassador for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix program, Gay spoke to 150 physical education students from Turner Elementary, Johnson Middle and Ballou High Schools at Turner Elementary School in southeast Washington, DC in celebration of the second annual Let’s Move in School Showcase. The showcase is part of an initiative dedicated to helping students meet the nationally recommended 60 minutes of daily physical activity, through incorporating active play during both traditional academic classes and physical education class. During the event, students traveled to multiple stations, all of which promoted physical activity throughout the school day.
“I always tell students they need to make the right decisions at an early age,” Gay said. “As an athlete, I’ve worked hard to get where I am today and know that if I made poor decisions as a kid I may not be where I am. All of these kids can be successful, whether it’s in their community, through academics or in their sport. Today, I really want to remind them that to be successful they need to stand strong for what they believe in, avoid poor decisions, and say no to underage drinking.”
Gay challenged kids as they traveled to his station to test their fast feet against his in the running competitions on Ask, Listen, Learn’s interactive game. The game enables middle school kids to learn about the negative consequences of underage drinking and benefits of making healthy decisions while they exercise. The multimedia program includes the interactive game, print materials, and a supporting website that provides a place for kids to pledge to live a healthy lifestyle and an opportunity to play online games and read about positive role models. The website also provides parents and educators with information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking and empower kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking.”
President Irene Cucina of AAHPERD praised The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s efforts to reach kids on this important issue. “Staying physically active is a vital component to a student’s success. We are thrilled to work with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. The students enjoy playing the game which encourages physical activity and will hopefully translate to them continuing the conversations at home with their parents about underage drinking. It’s important that kids understand that the choices they make today – good or bad – will have a lasting impact on their lives.”
“We are happy to partner with AAHPERD on their Let’s Move in School Showcase to promote physical activity. Our program encourages kids that in order to reach their goals they need to make healthy decisions which include staying active and saying no to underage drinking. With 33% of teens saying that they have tried alcohol by the time they reach the eighth grade this program couldn’t be more important. We hope today’s event jumpstarts conversations between parents and kids about the risks of underage drinking and benefits of living a healthy lifestyle,” said Ralph Blackman of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “
About Ask, Listen, Learn
Ask, Listen, Learn was developed more than seven years ago and is the most widely distributed alcohol education program of its kind. Ask, Listen, Learn’s initiatives include:
Asklistenlearn.com encourages kids to “say ‘YES’ to a healthy lifestyle and ‘NO’ to underage drinking” by offering kids interactive and educational games and videos.
- Any kid can become a member of the Ask, Listen, Learn team by taking a pledge to make healthy choices.
- Ask, Listen, Learn utilizes role models such as swimmer Rebecca Soni, Paralympic swimmer Mallory Weggemann, track stars Tyson Gay and Bryan Clay, and the most decorated athlete in Taekwondo, Steven Lopez, as “Superstars.” Superstars encourage kids to make responsible decisions and live a healthy lifestyle.
About The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, is a national not-for-profit leader in the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility promotes responsible decision making regarding beverage alcohol and develops and implements innovative programs and public awareness campaigns which ignite action through strategic partnerships. Established in 1991, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s initiatives are highlighted on its website at www.responsibility.org and www.asklistenlearn.org.
About American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)
An alliance of five national associations, six district associations, and a Research Consortium, AAHPERD provides its members with a comprehensive and coordinated array of resources, support, and programs to help practitioners improve their skills to further the health and well-being of the American public. It is the largest organization of professionals involved in physical education, recreation, fitness, dance, health promotion and all specialties related to achieving an active, healthy lifestyle. AAHPERD serves 20,000 members and has its headquarters in Reston, Virginia, 25 miles west of Washington DC. To learn more, visit www.aahperd.org.
About Let’s Move in School
A national initiative to increase physical activity before, during and after school, Let’s Move in School is in support of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign and is a project of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) More than 7200 schools are currently signed up for Let’s Move in School. To learn ways to increase physical activity, go to: Let's Move in School, www.letsmoveinschool.org.
(202)637-0077 or LepakJ@responsibility.org