Governor Announces Second Annual Daylight Savings Challenge; Program Promotes Fit and Healthy Kids

For Immediate Release: March 24, 2005

Contact: Jason Gibbs
(802) 828-3333

MONTPELIER — Governor Jim Douglas today announced the details of his second annual Daylight Savings Challenge, a program that encourages children to take advantage of extended daylight hours to move more, eat more fruits and vegetables, and turn off their televisions and videogames in favor of other creative activities. 

The challenge is part of Douglas’ larger Fit and Healthy Kids initiative, a comprehensive statewide plan to help Vermont’s kids get the tools they need to be fit and healthy throughout their lives. 

For the week following daylight savings on April 3, the Governor is encouraging young Vermonters and their families to keep a log of what they do to move more, eat more colorful foods, and watch less television and play fewer videogames. At the end of the week, logs can be returned to the Department of Health and participating children will be eligible for a variety of prizes that will be awarded by the Governor at a State House ceremony on April 21. 

“The Daylight Savings Challenge is one of many fun educational events that involve our children, their parents and their educators in a coordinated effort to give kids the information they need to be fit and healthy throughout their lives,” Douglas said. “Children who eat right and exercise regularly perform better in school and are far less likely to suffer from chronic and costly disease as adults. It’s a way to improve their health and lower health care costs over the long term.”

In a letter from the Governor, Vermont’s physical education teachers, school principals, preschool teachers and child caregivers were urged to participate. Schools and other organizations have also been encouraged to incorporate this challenge into existing programs, Douglas said.  

Douglas is also expected to sign a proclamation declaring April as Fit and Healthy Kids Month in an effort to highlight his initiative throughout the month.

Last year, nearly 1500 young Vermonters from 136 schools, a group of home-schooled children, a playgroup, seven childcare centers, and four preschools took time to learn about the details of the Fit & Healthy Kids Initiative and participated in the Daylight Savings Challenge. Douglas said the inaugural event was “a remarkable success.” 100 percent of participants reported that they played fewer video games and watched less television. The top three physical activities were biking, playing, and walking.

“Nothing is more important to our future than our youth. That is why it is critically important to move forward with a comprehensive effort to encourage and coordinate health education and activity programs for our children,” Douglas said. 

For more information visit Fit and Healthy Kids on the Vermont Department of Health website at: www.healthyvermonters.info/hi/fit/fithome.shtml