Eric Cohen, Mike Maccia, Scott Hunter-Smith, and Steve Conner founded the not-for-profit ‘nPlay Foundation in 2008.1 With combined experience in management, law, marketing, and advertising, they joined forces to establish “the professional athlete's foundation for the prevention of childhood obesity.”2
‘nPlay was put together to unite the athletes of the sports world to fight the children’s obesity epidemic. The primary goal of this coalition of active and retired professional athletes and Olympians from 17 sports is to raise money that will be directly put back into schools to help them meet the criteria of the USDA's HealthierUS Schools Challenge.3
‘nPlay is one of two official partners of the USDA on the program, which is a primary component of the Let’s Move initiative. The HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC) is a voluntary initiative established in 2004 to recognize those schools participating in the National School Lunch Program that have created healthier school environments through promotion of nutrition and physical activity.4
In February 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama introduced Let’s Move!, incorporating the HealthierUS School Challenge into her campaign to raise a healthier generation of kids. At that time, monetary incentive awards became available for each HUSSC award level: Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Gold Award of Distinction.5 ‘nPlay works with schools to help them meet the criteria of the HealthierUS School Challenge by changing the culture in their schools to one of health and wellness.
Dr. Chris Lineberry, a principal and head of ‘nPlay's Educational Advisory Board, created the framework that emphasizes teacher health and wellness and teaching the whole child. Noting that research indicates the brain focuses and learns better when the body is active, Dr. Lineberry, as a principal, utilized increased physical activity to revive two schools, which were borderline low-performance schools. By establishing an hour of physical activity each day with 30 minutes of free play, 15 minutes of walking, and 15 minutes of calisthenics, “grades went up and behavioral problems went down.” Within two years, both schools became schools of high performance and excellence.6
‘nPlay is a peer-to-peer movement where athletes join at the invitation of other athletes. As world class athletes they work both on the national and local levels to encourage not only students, but also parents and teachers to adopt a healthier lifestyle.7 They are also a partner of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.8
- 1. Kelly, Meg. “Back to the Future.” ‘nPlay Press. February 1, 2011. < http://www.healthyweightcommit.org/images/uploads/HWCF_nPLAY.pdf > 14 July 2011.
- 2. “Founders.” nPlay Foundation. < http://www.nplayfoundation.org/about-2/founders/ > 15 July 2011.
- 3. “About Us.” nPlay Foundation. < http://www.nplayfoundation.org/about-2/ > 15 July 2011.
- 4. “HealthierUS School Challenge.” USDA. < http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/healthierus/index.html > 13 Sep. 2011.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. Op. cit., Kelly.
- 7. Op. cit., “About Us.”
- 8. Op. cit., Kelly.