Governor Promotes Fit & Healthy Kids Daylight Savings Challenge: Participants Exercise with Gold Medal Snowboarder Ross Powers & Governor

OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, April 21, 2005

Contact: Jason Gibbs
(802) 828-3333

Montpelier, Vt.—Enjoying the sun and some mid-day exercise on the State House lawn Governor Jim Douglas, Olympic gold medal snowboarder Ross Powers and dozens of young Vermonters celebrated the success of Douglas’ second annual Daylight Savings Challenge, a program that encourages children to take advantage of extended daylight hours to move more, eat more fruits and vegetables, and turn off their televisions and videogames in favor of other creative activities. 

For the week following daylight savings on April 3, the Governor encouraged young Vermonters and their families to keep a log of what they did to move more, eat more colorful foods, and watch less television and play fewer videogames.  At the end of the week, logs were returned by e-mail, fax, and traditional mail to the Vermont Department of Health and participating children received a variety of recognition and prizes, including items provided by Burton Snowboards. 

The challenge is part of Douglas’ larger Fit and Healthy Kids initiative, a comprehensive statewide plan to help Vermont’s kids get the tools they need to be fit and healthy throughout their lives. 

“The Daylight Savings Challenge is one of many fun educational events that involve our children, their parents and their educators in a coordinated effort to give kids the information they need to be fit and healthy throughout their lives,” Douglas said. “Children who eat right and exercise regularly perform better in school and are far less likely to suffer from chronic and costly disease as adults. It’s a way to improve their health and lower health care costs over the long term.”

The Weathersfield Elementary School, in Perkinsville, the most creative school to incorporate this challenge into their activities, and other individual award winners, were invited to exercise with the Governor and 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Half Pipe Gold Medalist Ross Powers at a the ceremony in Montpelier.

In a letter from the Governor, Vermont’s physical education teachers, school principals, preschool teachers and child caregivers were urged to participate. Schools and other organizations have also been encouraged to incorporate this challenge into existing programs, Douglas said.  

This year there were over 1300 participants from 94 schools, 2 preschools, 5 daycare and childcare centers, a group of home-schooled children and the age of participants ranged from 1 to 47. The Brewster-Pierce Memorial School in Huntington had the most participants with 88. 

According to the Vermont Department of Health the top three activities were biking, walking, and playing.  Other creative ways to be active included rock climbing, yard work, horseback riding, yoga, dancing, hiking, walking cows, jumping on a trampoline, climbing trees, and gathering sap buckets.

“Nothing is more important to our future than our youth. That is why it is critically important to move forward with a comprehensive effort to encourage and coordinate health education and activity programs for our children,” Douglas said. 

For more information visit www.healthyvermonters.info/hi/fit/fithome.shtml or call the Vermont Department of Health at (802) 863-7606.