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Feature Story

December 2013


AAHPERD Becomes SHAPE America

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The American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), a managing partner of the Let's Move! Active Schools initiative, announced that its membership has approved changing the association's name to the Society of Health and Physical Educators, doing business as SHAPE America.

According to President Gale Wiedow, interim dean of the College of Education at Dakota State University in Madison, S.D., "We are now poised to move forward in creating a new chapter in our 128-year-old history with our new name, vision and mission. A new logo, tagline and brand for the organization, as well as a new website, will be introduced early in 2014."

Through the new name, the association is looking to:

  • Shape a future where healthy is the norm.
  • Shape a standard of excellence in physical education and health education.
  • Shape the lifelong habits of young people.
  • Shape and influence policy related to physical education and school health education.

SHAPE America is the organization's seventh name change since its founding in 1885 as the Association for the Advancement of Physical Education. The largest organization of physical educators in the country, with close to 20,000 members, SHAPE America created the first ever National Standards for K-12 Physical Education, developed the Let's Move in School public awareness campaign to increase physical activity before, during and after school, and originated the "Shape of the Nation Report," which reviews the status of physical education across the United States, among its many professional firsts.

Earlier this year, the organization voted unanimously to unify what were five national associations and a research consortium under the AAHPERD umbrella. Among its many partners, SHAPE America works with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, American Heart Association, The Cooper Institute, First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative, and the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

"Having an acronym that actually says and means something helps to make our new name more memorable," Wiedow added. "In addition, the verb 'shape' means influence and communicates leadership and power. We want SHAPE America to have increased visibility and recognition among our primary audiences of physical and health educators, as well as our secondary audiences—parents, principals, school administrators, policy makers and the media. I am confident that our strong, memorable and simple new name will help us do just that."