School fitness centers help fight childhood obesity

This graphic from the Centers ofr Disease Control and Prevention shows Colorado is one of three states with increasing numbers of low income children considered to be obese. The state was recently chosen to receive three school fitness centers to help combat the trend. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

This graphic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Colorado is one of three states with increasing numbers of low-income children considered to be obese. The state was recently chosen to receive three school fitness centers to help combat the trend. (Courtesy Creative Commons)

To help elementary and middle school students get fit and stay healthy, Colorado has been selected to help kick off the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils’ 2017 DON’T QUIT! fitness campaign.

Fitness icon Jake Steinfeld, chairman of the national group, and Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the state’s participation, which will see three Colorado schools chosen to receive a $100,000 state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! Fitness Center. Schools are chosen that show leadership in getting and keeping their students fit. The nomination process runs through the end of May. Educators are encouraged to nominate their school at natgovfit.org.

“I’ve declared war on childhood obesity and it’s inspiring to see elected leaders like Gov. Hickenlooper to immediately jump on board and welcome us into their state to help fight this disease,” said Steinfeld in a news release. “In fact, every state leader that I’ve met with recognizes that obesity is neither a Democrat nor Republican issue, it’s a kids issue and all have vowed to do everything possible to help.”

“Keeping our kids active is one of the keys to helping them lead healthy lives in adulthood,” said Hickenlooper. “We urge every elementary and middle school in Colorado to nominate their school to be in the running for a brand new fitness center.”

Each fitness center is financed through public/private partnerships and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. Since 2012, the group has delivered fitness centers in 19 states and this year plans to locate new fitness centers at schools in Colorado, Maryland and Louisiana.

Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life, reduce health care costs, improve academic achievement, increase confidence and self-esteem, reduce discipline problems, cut absenteeism, and foster better interpersonal relationships.

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