WASHINGTON, DC -- In an effort to help students develop an appreciation for lifelong healthy habits and meet state standards for physical education, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) today announced that Newport Public Schools will receive a $236,763 grant to strengthen its physical education program. The money will be awarded through the Carol M. White Physical Education Program to develop staff and curriculum, conduct fitness assessments, and purchase equipment to enable students to actively participate in physical education activities.

"Physical education teaches kids about fitness and puts them on the fast track to healthy living. This federal funding will help Newport's public schools upgrade their physical education equipment and curriculum," said Reed a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee which oversees federal funding for education programs and a senior member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which created this program. "This is a smart investment in our community. I am pleased the Newport school system is taking advantage of this federal initiative to improve and expand physical education options for our students."

On April 4, 2008, Senator Reed joined several of his colleagues in sending a bipartisan letter of support that requested a funding level of $100 million for the program in fiscal year 2009.

The senators wrote: "We must encourage our children to adopt healthier lifestyles. America's children are experiencing obesity in growing numbers, and emerging data continues highlight the link between obesity and diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening medical conditions. School-based physical education provides sustained, safe, and supervised instruction in physical activity. Educators and healthcare professionals are increasingly concerned about the high cost of allowing our young people to live sedentary life styles. Today 20% of the non-elderly population accounts for 80% of healthcare spending; we need to reduce this imbalance by advocating healthier, activity-oriented lifestyles."

Under the Carol M. White Physical Education Program, local educational agencies and community-based organizations receive funds to initiate, expand, or improve physical education programs for students in grades kindergarten through twelve. The program is authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education of 1965 as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.