For Immediate Release: May 17, 2007
Media Contact: Communication Office
BURLINGTON – Chasing your sister for half an hour is not always condoned by the State of Vermont as a worthwhile activity, unless you are a 9-year-old boy taking credit for a creative way he participated in the 2007 Spring Fit & Healthy Challenge.
This spring, more than 500 students from 50 schools participated in a statewide program that encourages them to eat more colors (fruits and vegetables), move more and turn off the television.
“Every year I am impressed with new ways young Vermonters find to jump-start their physical activity, such as helping with sugaring, pulling their cousins in a wagon, or playing football in the spring snow,” said Gov. Jim Douglas. “Many of the schools who participate also get the parents involved and we have found the focus on physical activity and good nutrition carries over beyond the designated one-week timeframe.”
Gov. Douglas developed the challenge four years ago as part of the Fit & Healthy Kids initiative promoting healthy eating and increased physical activity. The Fall Challenge was held Oct. 2 – Oct. 6, 2006. The Spring Challenge was held April 2 – April 5, 2007.
The weather this spring enhanced the challenge as a severe storm blasted across the state in April and forced young students to develop new ways to exercise.
“That was a bad week - a stormy week - and we had young third-graders who did things like shovel the deck in front of their house – knowing it was a creative way to exercise,” said Lorraine Matteis, school nurse at the Miller’s Run School in Sheffield, Vt. “The creativity was a challenge for a lot of them, and I know it is something they will remember.”
During the week, many schools found creative ways to incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into academics, including tracking daily fruit and vegetable consumption or minutes of physical activity logged each day.
The most creative schools to incorporate the challenge will be honored by Gov. Douglas on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Pavilion Auditorium in Montpelier. The two schools selected this spring are the Lakeview Union School in Greensboro, Vt., and the Clarendon Elementary School.
The Chester Community Preschool, visited by Gov. Douglas on Wednesday, was also selected for their efforts. The school had community members come in each day to lead different physical activities including an obstacle course, ballet and creative movement, karate, and yoga.
Sixteen of the most enthusiastic students who participated in the Challenge will walk with Gov. Douglas and meet celebrity guest Dave Watson, a member of the Smugglers Notch Ski Patrol, who has climbed Mt. Everest twice. The walkers will come together on the Statehouse lawn at 12 p.m.