SPARK Physical Education Programs

April 06, 2010 13:02 ET

Annika Sorenstam and Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe Celebrate Statewide Implementation of SPARK Physical Education to Fight Childhood Obesity

LITTLE ROCK, AR--(Marketwire - April 6, 2010) -  On March 11th, Annika Sorenstam, the most dominant player in women's golf; Honorable Mike Beebe, Governor of Arkansas; and Ginger Beebe, First Lady of Arkansas, presented the Arkansas Tobacco Settlement Commission (ATSC's) awards for its 2010 Child Wellness Intervention Project (CWIP) Grant Program in a ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol.

Arkansas ranks second in the nation for childhood obesity, and the Commission's new CWIP initiative will focus on reducing childhood obesity by increasing physical activity through quality physical education programs and providing critical health education. The Commission has partnered with the Arkansas Department of Education's Office of Coordinated School Health, Arkansas Children's Hospital, and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement to accomplish this goal.

The Commission was encouraged to attract the attention of golfing great, Annika Sorenstam. Mrs. Sorenstam is best known for her domination of women's golf in the last two decades. Her foundation, the Annika Foundation, has devoted significant resources to developing and implementing physical fitness and nutrition programs for children across the United States. Mrs. Sorenstam chose to endorse the Commission's new CWIP grant program based on its use of grade-specific physical education curriculum and equipment -- SPARK -- which her Foundation has recently partnered with.

"SPARK is a tremendous program that has the potential to dramatically improve the health of thousands of Arkansas students," said Mrs. Sorenstam. "I have a passion to get people active, especially children, and CWIP is providing the tools necessary to make sure students know and experience the importance of maintaining their body and their mind."

At the grant ceremony, the Commission awarded $578,704.10 in grants to 56 individual schools in 36 districts around the state. In the 2010 school year, over 12,000 students will participate in CWIP.


SPARK is a research-based organization that disseminates evidence-based Physical Education, After School, Early Childhood, and Coordinated School Health programs to teachers and recreation leaders serving Pre-K through 12th grade students. Each SPARK program strives to foster environmental and behavioral change by providing a coordinated package of highly active curriculum, on-site teacher training, extensive follow-up support, and content-matched equipment.

Since 1989, SPARK has provided curriculum, training, and consultation to over 100,000 teachers and youth leaders, representing many thousands of schools, organizations, and agencies worldwide. For more information on SPARK, visit or email or call 1-800-sparkpe.