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Nike Raises Awareness of the Importance of Physical Education In Memphis Schools Through NikeGO PE

Nike Raises Awareness of the Importance of Physical Education In Memphis Schools Through NikeGO PE

Published 05-29-07

Submitted by Nike Inc.

MEMPHIS, TN- May 29, 2007 "“ As part of a five-city community education and awareness tour in honor of May’s National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Nike will host a special NikeGO PE event at 9am on Friday, May 25, at the University of Memphis Memorial Field near the Elma Roane Fieldhouse.

This field day event will feature approximately 1,000 fourth and fifth grade students from 21 area schools as well as Memphis basketball star Rudy Gay and Memphis City School District Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson. All will join together to participate in a NikeGO PE field day and address the important topic of rising inactivity in school-age Memphis youth.

This event will highlight NikeGO PE's custom physical education curriculum that is now available in over 400 schools nationwide and is based on the standards of "new PE," an approach to physical education that is more inclusive, active and fun than traditional PE classes and aims to deliver 30 minutes of constant physical activity.

"NikeGO PE seeks to instill a lifelong love of physical activity in young people and is designed to address rising inactivity rates in youth, a problem that we need to address in Memphis," said Dr. Carol Johnson, Memphis City School District Superintendent. "NikeGO PE provides elementary schools with tools to build a smart and effective approach to physical education, including a unique curriculum, teacher training and equipment."

Though every Memphis City School elementary student is required to have a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each week, statistics regarding childhood obesity and inactivity in Tennessee remain high. The state ranks third in the nation for childhood obesity, and it’s estimated that as many as 46 percent of children in Tennessee are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Tennessee is also among the top five states for Type 2 diabetes in children and ranks 48th in the nation for its population’s overall health (Sources: American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control).

Working together to create a new, innovative approach to physical education, Nike and SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids) teamed up to create the NikeGO PE curriculum, as well as "hands-on" teacher training and matched equipment sets. These tools help PE specialists and regular classroom teachers work together to provide supplemental "new PE" until more full time PE specialists are placed in schools. Activities in the NikeGO PE "Playbook" are designed to develop students’ fitness, motor, and social skills, while providing strategies that integrate literacy, math science, art, and nutrition into PE lessons.

"It is extremely important for all children to grow up healthy and strong," said Willie Gregory, director of US Business/Community Relations for Nike. "To reach this goal in Memphis, we are proud to have incorporated NikeGO PE in 26 area schools."

Schools participating in Friday’s NikeGO Field Day include Alton, Berclair, Bethel Grove, Caldwell, Cherokee, Crump, Cummings, Egypt, Georgia Ave., Germanshire, Getwell, Gordon, Hamilton, Holmes Rd., LaRose, Levi, Lincoln, Manor Lake, Sea Isle, South Park, and Winchester.

The Problem of Inactivity in Youth

American school-aged youth are becoming the least physically fit generation in history. In the past 30 years, overweight and obesity levels in children have more than doubled. There is evidence that today’s youth may develop significant health complications such as heart disease, Type II diabetes (adult onset diabetes) and premature death unless they exercise more. Children spend a considerable amount of time in school, and schools are a powerful motivator for helping them adopt healthy lifestyles. Several studies demonstrate school-based PE programs are one of the most effective ways to facilitate activity in youth.

Unfortunately, in many school districts across the country, the role of the PE specialist has been eliminated or drastically reduced. With recent national guidelines recommending that young people accumulate at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily, having a quality physical education program in every school should be a national priority. Through NikeGO PE, Nike seeks to increase the quality and quantity of PE in schools.

"The realities of the times we live in demand that we strengthen physical education in our schools and ultimately bring daily physical education, taught by qualified PE specialists, back to every school in the United States," said Paul Rosengard, executive director of the SPARK Programs. "Because physical activity must be done regularly over time to achieve health benefits, the goal of NikeGO PE is to encourage classroom teachers to supplement the PE instruction already provided by their school’s PE specialist."

Rosengard added, "NikeGO PE was created to bridge the gap until more full-time PE specialists are placed in schools nationwide "“ a shared goal of Nike and SPARK."

About NikeGO PE:

NikeGO PE is an innovative physical education program designed to increase the quality and quantity of physical activity in America’s schools with an end goal of improving children’s activity levels. NikeGO PE accomplishes this task by providing "the essential components": curriculum, teacher training, equipment, and follow up support to elementary PE specialists and classroom teachers. NikeGO PE is part of Nike’s signature U.S. community affairs initiative "“ NikeGO. Since its inception in 2003, the program has been implemented in more than 400 public schools, reaching more than 75,000 students. For more information, visit

About SPARK (Sports, Play, and Active Recreation for Kids):

SPARK is a research-based organization (of San Diego State University and Sportime, LLC, a member of the School Specialty Family of companies), dedicated to creating, implementing, and evaluating programs that promote lifelong wellness. SPARK strives to improve the health of children and adolescents by disseminating evidence-based physical activity and nutrition programs that provide curriculum, staff development, follow-up support, and equipment to teachers of Pre-K through 12th grade students. For more information, visit

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Nike Inc.

Nike Inc.

NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit

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