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Ca. Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Actions to Fight Obesity, Promote Healthy Living

SACRAMENTO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — Following a moderated discussion with President Clinton at the Governor’s 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity: Actions for Healthy Living, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced eight specific actions he will pursue to support healthy living in California. The actions announced by the Governor will fight childhood obesity and encourage all Californians to live a healthy, active lifestyle through promoting healthy beverages, increasing physical activity and incorporating the idea of “health in all policies.”

“My top priorities include the health and well-being of our children and all Californians, and reducing obesity will help improve both,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “At the 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity, we discussed the link between fitness and educational success, the importance of making sure kids have healthy beverages and water available at school and the relationship between the environments that we live, work, study and play in and access to physical activities, like walking and riding bikes, and healthy food choices. Now I want to take what was discussed at the Summit and turn our state goals into action that will attack obesity on every level and create a healthy foundation for California’s future.”

Since taking office, Governor Schwarzenegger has led the fight against California’s obesity epidemic and the actions he announced today will continue the state’s legacy of promoting healthy living and active lifestyles. The Governor’s 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity brought together a cross-section of public health, education, community and local government leaders from around the state who have been active in promoting healthy eating, physical fitness and community-level health efforts.

In addition to the Summit, the Governor’s Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshé, Department of Public Health Director Dr. Mark Horton and staff have been working since the fall to identify promising practices and innovative policy developments to further combat obesity. This includes reviewing current state programs and studies on community health and meeting with a wide variety of stakeholders including physical education, public health and think tank groups. As a culmination of this work and discussions at the Governor’s 2010 Summit on Health, Nutrition and Obesity, Governor Schwarzenegger is taking specific actions to increase healthy living in California, particularly for schoolchildren, in order to reduce the rate of obesity. The Governor’s actions are:

Promote the Consumption of Healthy Beverages in Schools
Adequate hydration is necessary for the academic achievement and health of students, but many students do not have access to fresh, free water in schools, particularly in low-income communities. In schools where there is water available, it is often not provided in food service areas during mealtimes, and while some school districts have found ways to provide access to water in food service areas, it is currently not a requirement for California schools.

Additionally, the consumption of electrolyte replacement beverages, which are becoming increasingly popular in public schools, is associated with weight gain, diabetes and obesity. In fact, beverage standards recommended by the Institute of Medicine call for the elimination of electrolyte replacement beverages from public schools to promote healthy beverage consumption.

To promote the consumption of healthy beverages in schools, the Governor proposes to:
• Increase Access to Free Drinking Water during School Mealtimes: SB 1413, by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Governor Schwarzenegger, has been introduced to require school districts to make fresh, free drinking water available in food service areas by January 1, 2012. Click here to read more about the proposal.
•Eliminate Electrolyte Replacement Beverages from California Public Schools: SB 1255, by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and sponsored by Governor Schwarzenegger, has been introduced to eliminate electrolyte replacement beverages, commonly known as sports drinks, from being sold during the day in public middle and high schools by July 1, 2011. Click here to read more about the proposal.

Increase Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in Educational Programs
After school programs provide the opportunity for youth to achieve the recommended daily dose of physical activity in a safe environment, but California’s After School Education and Safety program includes physical activity as an optional, not required, education enrichment component. Further, moderate to vigorous physical activity in physical education (PE) classes has the greatest potential for increasing health benefits for the most students and contributes to obesity prevention while improving self-esteem and concentration. California requires all students to participate in PE classes for a specified number of minutes per every 10 days, but studies show that students spend as little as four of every thirty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity in PE classes. Moreover, schools that have participated in the Governor’s Fitness Challenge have seen benefits to their students, from increased test and API scores to improved levels of fitness. As a result of their participation in the Governor’s Fitness Challenge, many schools have also won new state-of-the-art fitness centers and facilities to promote physical activity.

To increase moderate to vigorous physical activity in educational programs, the Governor proposes to:
•Increase Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in After-School Programs: AB 2705, by Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D-Compton) and sponsored by Governor Schwarzenegger, has been introduced to require after-school programs to provide at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity to all students in after-school programs using the new Physical Activity Guidelines commencing January 1, 2013. Click here to read more about the proposal.
•Increase Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity in PE Classes: AB 2705, by Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D-Compton) and sponsored by Governor Schwarzenegger, has been introduced to require that students spend at least 50 percent of PE class time in moderate to vigorous physical activity by January 1, 2013. Click here to read more about the proposal.
•Expand the Governor’s Fitness Challenge to 1 Million Participants: Through public-private partnerships, Governor Schwarzenegger will work with Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Chairman Jake Steinfeld to expand the Governor’s Fitness Challenge to 1 million participants in 2010. Click here to read more about the proposal.

Incorporate Healthy Living Options through “Health in All Policies”
Physical, social and economic environments influence individual health behaviors and health outcomes; considering health in all policies can improve health and advance other statewide goals such as economic well-being and addressing climate change. Policies and practices that support joint use of school facilities – where schools jointly share recreational facilities with another governmental agency, community-based organization or the community – can provide opportunities for physical activity for the community before, after or during the school day. Additionally, Safe Routes to Schools aims to allow students to safely walk or bike to and from school, thereby promoting physical activity and healthy living. But, currently many low-income communities face barriers in applying for funding in terms of regulations and a resource-intensive application process.

To incorporate healthy living options through “health in all policies,” the Governor proposes to:
•Increase Flexibility to Develop Joint Use Facilities: AB 2705, by Assemblymember Isadore Hall (D-Compton) and sponsored by Governor Schwarzenegger, has been introduced to expand eligibility opportunities and flexibility for communities to apply for joint use funds. This proposal aims to ensure vital joint-use projects are not hindered by burdensome restrictions. Click here to read more about the proposal.
•Simplify and Focus Safe Routes to Schools: Through a letter to Caltrans Director Randell Iwasaki, Governor Schwarzenegger has directed the Safe Routes to School funded Technical Assistance Resource Center (TARC) to analyze whether or not the schools that have the highest concentrations of children in need are participating in Safe Routes to Schools. Based on the findings, the Governor also directed Caltrans and TARC to develop strategies that will ensure equitable access to Safe Routes to Schools funds. This proposal seeks to eliminate barriers and ensure that communities in need are receiving funding. Click here to read more about the proposal.
•Strategic Growth Council Executive Order: The Governor has issued Executive Order S-04-10 instructing the Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to establish a Health in All Policies Task Force, facilitated by the California Department of Public Health, to work with existing SGC working groups to identify priority programs, policies and strategies which improve the health of Californians. Click here to read more about the proposal.

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