"World's Largest Exercise Class" Gets Kids Active Around the Globe

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ACSM, Youth Fitness Coalition celebrate Project ACES Day

In conjunction with May as Exercise is Medicine® Month, "The World's Largest Exercise Class" is coming to children and schools around the world today.

Project ACES® (All Children Exercise Simultaneously) engages millions of children, parents and teachers each year to participate in physical activity at their schools and homes. Through Project ACES, children learn the value and importance of good nutrition, adequate physical fitness and healthy decision-making – lessons they can carry well into adulthood.

The 23rd-annual Project ACES Day will take place today, with most events occurring at 10 a.m. local time. Project ACES is the signature program of the nonprofit Youth Fitness Coalition (YFC), which is based in New Jersey. Project ACES clubs continue the momentum all year.

Schools can choose their activity, from walking to jogging, from martial arts to dancing. Students typically exercise for 15 to 45 minutes following an educational component. In the past, schools have incorporated celebrity guest speakers or used music in their Project ACES activities. The program has been recognized by multiple presidents, including Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, and has inspired events in 50 different countries. This chain of local events creates a global wave of exercise.

Project ACES Day coincides with Exercise is Medicine Month, a time for physicians, health-and-fitness professionals, supporting organizations and the public to recognize and celebrate the valuable health benefits of exercise. Founded by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), Exercise is Medicine is a global program that encourages health care providers to assess patients' physical activity levels at every visit.

Project ACES was created in 1989 by physical education teacher Len Saunders as a method of motivating children to exercise. It started with a massive letter-writing campaign to schools across the U.S., gathering 240,000 students to participate in the program the first year. Last year, Michigan alone had more than 500,000 participants.

"We're addressing the need for novel physical education programs and promoting healthy lifestyle choices for students," said YFC President H.J. Saunders. "We are proud of how far we've come, and we are honored to partner with ACSM and Exercise is Medicine. Project ACES activities can help combat the childhood obesity problem by making fitness personal and fun."

For more information on Exercise is Medicine and how to get involved with Project ACES, visit http://www.exerciseismedicine.org/projectaces.htm and http://www.projectaces.com.

The Youth Fitness Coalition is a New Jersey-based nonprofit educational organization committed to combating childhood obesity by making exercise programs fun and by educating children, parents and teachers about the importance of lifelong fitness and making healthy lifestyle choices.

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H.J. Saunders

Dan Henkel
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