Today Governor Susana Martinez and National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) Chairman Jake Steinfeld announced three New Mexico schools will receive new fitness centers through a partnership between the State of New Mexico and NFGFC. The three New Mexico schools are Jemez Valley Elementary and Middle Schools in Jemez Pueblo, East San Jose Elementary School in Albuquerque, and Mesa Elementary School in Shiprock.
“Childhood obesity affects 16 percent of our children here in New Mexico,” said Governor Martinez. “These schools have taken the lead in helping students to get and stay fit, and we are so proud to support them by establishing new fitness centers to help continue their progress. Results like these show that our students and teachers always rise to meet high standards, and we must never let up in our efforts to enable every child to succeed in school and in life.”
These three schools will receive new fitness centers with training and cardiovascular fitness equipment, including design, delivery, and installation within the schools’ existing structure. These three schools’ applications demonstrated a robust plan for using the equipment and improving physical education and academic program.
“I’ve declared war on childhood obesity and it’s inspiring to see that leaders like Governor Martinez are capable of working together on a common cause for a common good. The fight to stop childhood obesity in its tracks is something we can all support,” said NFGFC Chairman and fitness icon Jake (Body by Jake) Steinfeld. “Academics and fitness go hand in hand, and when we give schools tools like these, we can build strong bodies and minds while boosting confidence, self-esteem, and focus in the classroom.”
NFGFC seeks to encourage and reward innovation in the field of youth fitness by awarding fitness centers to schools that use new and unique methods to promote student physical activity and wellness. The National Foundation envisions a fitness center in every school in the U.S., helping to build a nation that-through innovation and a “Don’t Quit” attitude-boasts the fittest kids in the world.
“Principal Estrada, our Physical Education teacher Blake Miller, and others have worked so hard to help more of our students get and stay fit,” said Jemez Valley Public Schools Superintendent Jerald Snider. “We know that is a key piece to helping more of our students to continue to succeed in the classroom, and we are grateful to Governor Martinez and Jake Steinfeld for their commitment to helping this cause.”
The National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils program plans to bring its challenge to all 50 states in the coming years. An attractive and unique feature of this campaign is that the Live Positively Fitness Centers are fully funded through public/private partnerships with companies like Coca-Cola and AOL and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding.
Along with working to help more children get and stay fit, Governor Martinez continues to make New Mexico a leader in ensuring students are eating health as well so they can be better focused and prepared to learn in school. New Mexico has been ranked number one in the nation in serving breakfast to low-income school children, in part due to the Breakfast After the Bell program that Governor Martinez signed into law in 2011.
Governor Martinez’s efforts include a significant expansion of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), which provides nutritious meals to New Mexico children while school is out for the summer. Since 2010, 29 sites have been added statewide, including an additional 7 sites for 2014, which makes 36 NEW summer sites since 2010. In 2013, SFSP served 91,000 more breakfasts than in 2010, and 23,000 more lunches. For 2014, statewide sponsoring organizations are expecting to serve more than 2.1 million meals across New Mexico.