The Arizona Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AzAHPERD), which promotes healthful lifestyles through education and provides leadership to school, community and statewide programs, is hosting its annual convention this week in downtown Phoenix.

With this year's theme "Inspire, Develop, Empower, Achieve," an open discussion of childhood obesity, children's nutrition and quality health and physical education programs in Arizona schools will be discussed with all attendees.

Convention hours are Thursday, Sept. 24, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Friday, Sept. 25, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St.

In conjunction with the AzAHPERD convention, renowned Harvard Professor Dr. John Ratey will be speaking with members of the Arizona Legislature, health and physical education professionals, university professors and members of the Arizona Department of Education at a breakfast from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Sept. 24, at the Hyatt Regency, 122 N. 2nd St., in downtown Phoenix.

Ratey is the foremost authority on exercise and the effects on brain-based learning. His bio covers a large span of study, including ADHD, autism and, most recently, the topic of exercise and brain development.

Ratey is the author of several books, including his latest, SPARK-The revolutionary new science of exercise and the brain.   

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