Finalists were selected out of over 1,000 participating schools statewide based on the percentage and number of students in their school who successfully completed the Governor's Challenge of being active 30-60 minutes a day, at least 3 days a week for a month.
Both Burbank and Eliot had 100% of their students take and complete the Governor's Challenge this year. These two schools, along with two Pasadena schools (Webster Elementary and Roosevelt Elementary) and 11 other schools in the Greater Los Angeles area, are being considered for a Regional Award and $5,000 for new physical activity equipment. Grand Prize and Regional Award winning schools will be announced at a special ceremony at the Capitol in September.
Statewide more than 339,000 participants recorded more than 5.8 million days of physical activity through the Governor's Challenge in 2009. Complete physical activity records of participating schools in the Governor's Challenge can be found at www.CalGovCouncil.org
"I want to congratulate everyone at both Burbank Elementary and Eliot Middle for stepping up to make fitness a priority. Whether one of your schools wins a Governor's Challenge top prize or not, you're both Champions for Fitness in my book" said Steinfeld. "I want to especially thank Principal Kelly Lawson from Burbank, and Principal Peter Panell from Eliot for their leadership. They are part of a growing movement of educational leaders who recognize that healthy and active bodies lead to healthy and active minds, and I couldn't be prouder than to have them on our team."
"I'm also thrilled that our Council has been able to promote physical activity and fitness without adding any burden on California taxpayers," said Steinfeld. "Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, like Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, CVS/pharmacy and General Mills, we were able to encourage a record number of California children and teachers to take the Governor's Challenge this year. In fact, thanks to our sponsors, our Governor's Challenge attracted more participants in California this year than a similar effort led by the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports attracted nationally."
Over the next couple of months the Governor's Council will be reviewing how each of the Competition's school finalists supported physical activity and good nutrition on their campus in order to help determine its awardees.
Anthem Blue Cross Foundation is a founding sponsor of the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and the title sponsor of the Governor's Council Spotlight Awards that fund the Competition's three grand prize fitness centers. CVS/pharmacy sponsors the Governor's Council Activity Guide and funds the Governor's Challenge Competition $5,000 Regional Awards. General Mills' sponsorship funds the Certificates of Completion for which students completing the Governor's Challenge qualify. Partners of the Governor's Council include iTech Fitness, which helps design and build the fitness center awards called XRKades, 24 Hour Fitness which provides free passes to students, teachers and parents taking the Governor's Challenge, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area which provides free lift tickets to k-12 students taking the Governor's Challenge, the Network for a Healthy California and Paramount Farms.
Research shows that regular physical activity during childhood and adolescence helps build healthier bones and muscles, increases self-esteem, and reduces the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Research also shows a connection between students' levels of physical fitness and their academic performance.