More than one million California students have signed up to participate in the 2010 Governor’s Fitness Challenge, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently announced at Kentwood Elementary School in Westchester.

The governor said that the approximately 1.3 million school participants sets a new standard for statewide fitness challenges, surpassing similar efforts in all other states, and makes California the clear leader in promoting physical fitness nationally.

“In California, we are showing the nation and the world that we are committed to fighting obesity, being fit and living healthy,” Schwarzenegger said. “This is why I issued a challenge earlier this year, when I hosted an Obesity Summit with President Clinton, to expand my Fitness Challenge to one million participants — more than any other state.

“I am proud to announce today that our students rose to that challenge with the help of our school administrators, teachers, parents and my dedicated Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Jake Steinfeld, we have reached well over our goal of one million. And, I am excited to join with our great partners at Coca-Cola, who have announced they will reward this record-breaking achievement with eight new fitness centers at our schools at no cost to the state.”

The governor made the announcement at Kentwood Elementary School in Westchester, where the school’s students have recorded 57,000 days of physical activity so far in this year’s challenge, more than any other school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

After joining the Governor’s Fitness Challenge, Kentwood Elementary saw its Academic Performance Index (API) score rise by more than five percent, making the school first in its neighborhood, a spokesman for the governor noted. The percentage of Kentwood students that scored in the “Healthy Fitness Zone” on all six categories in the California Physical Fitness Test also jumped from 49 percent to 63 percent.

Schwarzenegger instituted the Fitness Challenge Competition in 2006, encouraging participants to be active 30 to 60 minutes a day at least three days a week for a month. The challenge attracted 10,000 students in the first year and has continued to grow with more than 330,000 students participating last year to now over one million participants this year.

For more information on the fitness challenge,

www.calgovcouncil.org/.

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