Amidst all the bad news about the
obesity crisis among American youth, comes some good news for a change. According
to P.E.4LIFE, the Washington, D.C.-advocacy group for physical education,
hundreds of schools and community organizations in 44 states, Puerto Rico and the
District of Columbia will receive millions in federal assistance this school
year for quality physical education.

The Department of Education announced on Oct. 2, the 256 winners of 2003
Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress (PEP) grants. A total of 1,365
applications competed for $59 million in federal aid to fight fat.

The Carol M. White Physical Education Program provides grants to local
educational agencies and community-based organizations to pay 90 percent of the
total cost of initiating, expanding, and improving physical education programs
designed to assist students in making progress toward meeting State standards for
physical education.

Congress initially appropriated $60 million for this program in fiscal year
2003. After an across-the-board reduction and payment of peer review costs,
approximately $59 million remained available for grants. The funds will be used
to provide equipment and support to enable students to participate actively in
physical education activities and to train teachers and staff.

“We feel quite honored to have been awarded this grant,” said Tim McCord,
Health and P.E Department Chair of the Titusville (Pa.) School District, which
received $342,000. “We have worked hard over the past four years to improve our
P.E. programs in association with P.E.4LIFE in building our program to its
current status. The PEP grant will allow us to continue our work toward further

Anne Flannery, president and CEO of P.E.4LIFE adds,
“Over the past three years, the PEP program has provided $110 million to help
schools and physical education programs across the country receive the training
and equipment needed so all students have the opportunity to be healthy and
active. In addition, it has helped raise awareness about the value of quality
physical education in the fight against childhood obesity.

Flannery continues, “Parents in particular should make sure their school
administrators and P.E. teachers know about the existence of this great grant
program. We help school officials develop a plan on how to best represent
their school districts to the Department of Education.”
Some grant recipients will use the additional funding to help pay for trips
for secondary school P.E. staffs to the P.E.4LIFE institute in Naperville,
Ill.; elementary school P.E. teachers will travel to the P.E.4LIFE Institute in
Grundy Center, Iowa.

Participants at the P.E.4LIFE Institute receive customized training on how to
secure more money for local P.E. programs and how to work to promote the
value that physical education provides to all the students.

“P.E.4LIFE’s mission is to help inspire, educate and motivate America’s
youth to live active, healthy lives,” says Flannery. “We will accomplish this
through supporting the improvement, expansion, and recognition of
school-based physical education programs and individual fitness level testing.”
P.E.4LIFE is a non-profit, advocacy organization dedicated to the delivery of
health, fitness, and sports activities to all students, every day in school.

Daily physical education provides a simple and inexpensive solution to reduce
children's exposure to chronic diseases, while fostering lifelong fitness