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Categorized | Business, Featured, Youth

National Fitness Campaign Comes to Connecticut

By Marlene Gomes, Staff Writer

HARTFORD — Greater Hartford schools can cash in on helping to stomp out childhood obesity. And they will get some help from a national fitness guru: Jake Steinfeld.

On Friday, Gov.  Dannel P. Malloy announced a partnership with Steinfeld, who chairs the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils. According to officials,  Steinfeld is bringing the Foundation’s multi-million dollar physical fitness campaign to Connecticut help combat childhood obesity.

About one in three Connecticut kindergartners and third graders are overweight or obese, and about one in seven are obese, according to a study by the state Department of Public Health. The study found  disparities by race and income, with 41 percent of black and 43 percent of Hispanic children considered overweight or obese, compared with 27 percent of white children. In addition, obesity rates were higher in schools in lower income communities, according to DPH.

Hartford has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country. Last year, Hartford officials unveiled a 2012 study conducted by the University of Connecticut’s Center for Public Health and Policy, which found that children living in Hartford are at high risk for becoming obese, finding that more than one-third of Hartford’s three year olds and 23 percent of kindergarteners are overweight.

The nation-wide campaign “encourages and rewards innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to elementary and middle schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness.”

The nomination process opens today at www.natgovfit.org and will run through the end of May.

Three Alliance District schools, selected by the National Foundation, will be deemedNational Champion Schools and will each be awarded $100,000 state-of-the-art Live Positively Fitness Centers for their efforts.  

The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program will make its way into all 50 states in the coming years.  The National Foundation’s goal is to “build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world.”

For more information about the National Foundation or to download a nomination form, visit www.natgovfit.org.

Photo Credit: African American Images.com

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