At the HealthierUS Fitness Festival, Nike urged the U.S. education system to add P.E. classes taught by P.E. specialists for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, to all American schools. The company claimed that the current PE curriculum is outdated and needs to be overhauled to mirror programs like SPARK (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids), which keeps kids constantly moving and active.
“For the first time in 100 years, kids have a shorter life expectancy than their parents,” said Gary DeStefano, president of Nike USA. “Our national epidemic of youth inactivity and unhealthy weight has worsened with the decline of school-based P.E. programs.”
Preliminary reports from education facilities who have implemented SPARK programs are very encouraging, Nike is saying that nine out of ten kids are more active, and enjoy it; three out of four kids learned physical activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime; three out of four kids learned to cooperate with others and improve social skills. The children are not the only ones to benefit either, P.E. instructors claimed their skills improved with the program.
With the help of Nike the SPARK program coordinators plan to reach more schools in current cities and school districts as well as explore other cities in order to bring this 'New P.E.' to more kids throughout the country.