Organizations support First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign by asking publishers to address health themes in curriculum development

WILMINGTON, DE, June 7, 2011 – The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) has announced today at its annual Content in Context conference that it is joining the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the National Association of School Boards of Education (NASBE) to support the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign by developing voluntary standards for curriculum development that call for healthy living examples in all educational materials.

Obesity has become a nationwide epidemic in the past 30 years, now with an estimated 31.7% of all children ages 2-19 considered to be overweight or obese. Children who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea and depression. Student obesity has also been known to cause increased absenteeism, bullying and teasing – all of which have a serious impact on academic achievement.

The Lets Move! campaign, launched by First Lady Michelle Obama, is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the epidemic of childhood obesity. The program provides parents with the information they need to help ensure their children will have healthy futures and students with environments that foster healthy attitudes and lifestyles, including healthy, affordable foods in schools and helping children become more physically active.

“The nation’s K-12 publishers have a long history of creating instructional tools and content to improve the well-being and academic achievement of all students,” said Tom Allen, President and Chief Executive Officer, AAP. “This new partnership will help change the culture in every classroom while teaching children healthy habits for a lifetime.”

“We can develop the greatest education system conceivable, but if children are not physically and mentally healthy—if they are distracted by these problems and miss days and weeks of school—they cannot learn to their potential,” said NASBE Executive Director Brenda Welburn. “At NASBE, we are proud of our long history of helping leaders develop policies that address all the needs of students that affect learning and lifelong success. This partnership aligns perfectly with our mission to promote educational improvement and foster a school culture promoting health and wellness. We are happy to join with new partners who can help us help children.”

“Publishers are very aware of the need to portray positive images in educational materials. This initiative will help them focus on portraying healthy eating as well,” said Charlene Gaynor, CEO of AEP. “Our anticipation is that the voluntary standards will be widely adopted and will have an impact on obesity in today’s classrooms.” In its simplest form, the initiative could ask publishers to use C is for Carrot instead of C is for Cupcake in an alphabet book. As part of this announcement, the AEP is calling for volunteers to serve on a working group to develop these voluntary standards. Individuals interested in volunteering should contact Charlene Gaynor at cgaynor@aepweb.org.

About AEP
The Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) is a nonprofit organization that serves and advances the industry of supplemental educational publishing. The membership of AEP represents the breadth of educational content developers delivering progressive educational products in all media and for any educational setting.

AEP’s thought leadership and market insight have created ground-breaking opportunities for its members to collaborate, network, and partner with each other as well as to acquire a voice in the development of government education policy. Founded in 1895, AEP now assists its members in navigating the global realities of educational publishing in the 21st Century. For more information, please visit www.AEPweb.org.
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