Press Release


Physical Literacy Advocate to Keynote SHAPE America’s National Convention & Expo in Boston

RESTON, VA, January 3, 2017 — University of Manitoba exercise physiologist Dean Kriellaars, Ph.D., will present "Physical Literacy: the Gateway to Active Participation" when he keynotes the 132nd National Convention & Expo of SHAPE America – Society of Health and Physical Educators, on March 17, 2017, in Boston. "Physical literacy is as essential as math or reading literacy," he says. "It's as important as reading and writing skills, and the ability to work with numbers."

"We've really pushed for 100 years the concept of literacy, reading and writing, and we've become the most knowledgeable society on the face of the planet," said Kriellaars. "However, we don't value movement. Physical education is a second rate citizen, it needs to be on equal footing. Learning to move is just as important as learning to read and write, if not more important."

More than 5,000 health and physical education teachers, researchers and other physical activity professionals are expected to attend the convention, which is the largest event of its kind in the country. The convention, which will take place March 14-18, is held in partnership with SHAPE America Eastern District and the Massachusetts Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD).

Kriellaars cautioned against blaming technology, whether it be television, cell phones or video games, as the reason behind a lack of fitness. An associate professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, School of Medical Rehabilitation in the Faculty of Medicine, he works in rehabilitation and high-performance sport. He is a member of the Spinal Cord Research Centre and a scientist of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health, and, as a member of the Leadership Team, he is the creator of the PLAY tools. Kriellaars trains athletes of all ability levels, educates health care professionals, coaches, trainers and educators about physical literacy and healthy lifestyles.

"We used to be in a culture where we moved a lot, and that means we participated with each other face to face, that means we developed social skills, we developed mental fitness skills, we developed physical fitness skills," said Kriellaars. 

According to SHAPE America President Jackie Lund of Georgia State University, "Dean Kriellaars has been a part of many initiatives directed at establishing physical literacy, thereby helping children develop their social, emotional and physical well-being. Once you have all those pieces together, you have a healthy child."

For more information about SHAPE America's National Convention & Expo, visit the website and follow #SHAPEBoston.


About SHAPE America
SHAPE America - Society of Health and Physical Educators is committed to ensuring all children have the opportunity to lead healthy, physically active lives. As the nation's largest membership organization of health and physical education professionals, SHAPE America works with its 50 state affiliates and national partners to support initiatives such as the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, Let's Move! Active Schools and the Jump Rope For Heart/Hoops For Heart programs.

Since its founding in 1885, the organization has defined excellence in physical education, and our resources provide the leadership, professional development and advocacy that support health and physical educators at every level - from preschool to university graduate programs. For more information, visit

Press Information

Contact SHAPE America at:
(800) 213-7193