I like 'nPLAY because it isn't proscriptive about diet or dictatorial about exercising. We're simply trying to help the children learn at an early age that physical activity and a healthy lifestyle are important.
'nPLAY works with schools to help integrate physical activity and nutrition education into math, science, English and social studies. It's a proven methodology. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that children who were more physically fit outperformed their less-active peers in cognitive tests that measured knowing, learning and thinking. These weren't hyper-competitive, workout junkies. These were fifth- and sixth-graders who got an adequate amount of exercise every day -- enough to make them aerobically fit.
'nPLAY's methods have been incorporated across four states, and it is the reason the organization is a USDA partner on the HealthierUS Schools Challenge, a core component of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" initiative.
In order for this to work we need everyone's support. Parents need to push their schools to adopt this philosophy. Often schools are given multiple unfunded mandates -- but this strategy doesn't do that. It actually helps teachers find time without taking away from existing schoolwork by incorporating teachable, active moments into the curriculum. It increases the amount of minutes kids are active during the day.
This can't be done out of Washington, D.C. Federal agencies are facing more demands than they can meet. Through private funding from corporations and concerned citizens, organizations like 'nPLAY can step up to the plate to give the educators the professional development and tools they need to execute.
That's why fellow WVU players and I are launching a fundraising campaign through the 'nPLAY website to expand this much-needed program throughout the state.
This is a team effort. At WVU, the coaches, players, trainers and volunteers all worked together with a single-minded goal: to be the best. To win. Now I am asking the people and companies of my adopted state to stand alongside me.
Let's win when the next Gallup poll on the fattest states comes out. Except this time, I want to be in last place.Beasley is a former West Virginia University, All-American and professional football player who was a cornerback in the National Football League for nine seasons.