National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Council Brings Campaign for Youth Fitness to Massachusetts

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The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils brought its multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign to Massachusetts today. The National Foundation supports youth fitness in schools by awarding innovative school programs with fitness centers. The program is open to all public or public charter elementary or middle schools in Gateway Cities across the state. A school selected by the National Foundation will be named a National Champion School and will receive a state-of-the-art Live PositivelyTM Fitness Center for their efforts.

“I couldn’t be happier that the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils has chosen Massachusetts as one of the key states in which to launch the National Champion School program,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “In addition to adding three new fitness centers in our schools, this program provides our students with a tremendous incentive to create good eating habits and to get healthy and physically fit today while laying the foundation for a lifetime of good health.”

"Our Administration is proud to partner with Jake Steinfeld and the National Foundation for Governors' Fitness Councils to launch this initiative in Massachusetts," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We encourage schools in our Gateway Cities to apply, and we hope this campaign will incentivize students and communities to promote high-quality fitness to help maintain healthy lifestyles."

“I am thrilled we are bringing this campaign to Massachusetts and applaud Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for getting behind our mission one hundred percent. Their dedication to our program will help students in the great state of Massachusetts get fit, not only physically but academically as well,” said Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils. “I’ve always said that academics and fitness go hand in hand and believe that if you provide the schools the tools, students will excel beyond their wildest dreams.”

"Physical activity is critical to a student's ability to focus and learn when in the classroom," said Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I am thrilled that Massachusetts has been chosen for this exciting initiative and look forward to partnering with the Fitness Council to make sure our students are happy, healthy and ready to learn."

Following a successful campaign in Pennsylvania, the National Foundation named four schools in the state National Champion Schools and granted each school a brand new Live Positively Fitness Center. Building on Pennsylvania’s success, the National Foundation will recognize three more schools in Massachusetts as National Champions, with each receiving a new fitness center. Schools may be nominated through self-nomination or by outside parties. The nomination process begins Tuesday, June 19 and will close on Friday, July 20, 2012. Nomination forms and a list of the selected cities are available online at: www.nationalgovcouncil.org.

Background

Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life and reduce health care costs. In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism and fosters better interpersonal relationships.

The National Foundation’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.

The Patrick-Murray Administration’s Gateway Cities Education Agenda is a set of strategies aimed at eliminating persistent achievement gaps that disproportionately affect children living in poverty, students of color, students with disabilities and students who are English language learners. Many of these students are heavily concentrated in the Commonwealth’s 24 Gateway Cities.

The Commonwealth’s 24 Gateway Cities, as defined by statute, are Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.

The Gateway Cities Education Agenda focuses on five goals: (1) getting every child to reading proficiency by the third grade; (2) providing every child with a healthy platform for education; (3) providing students, particularly English language learners, with the quality and quantity of education they need to succeed; (4) preparing all students for college and career success, and (5) seeding and incentivizing education.

About the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils

The National Foundation seeks to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness. The National Foundation envisions a fitness center in every school in the U.S., helping to build a nation that—through innovation and a “Don’t Quit” attitude—boasts the fittest kids in the world.