California Governor and former body builder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, has a challenge for the state's public school children - exercise more!
Schwarzenegger unveiled a new plan to get kindergartners through high school seniors more active and physically fit.
Like many schools across California, Samuel Jackman Middle School dealt with lean budget years by holding some physical education classes without balls, racquets or anything else. Instead of giving up on P.E., the school came up with a dance class.
"Equipment is something that has been far and few between for the past number of years. As the state has had their budget problems, we've obviously had our budget problems," Principal William Del Bonta said.
The toll is evident. Numbers from the State Education Department show about a third of California kids are overweight and three-quarters unfit.
Known for his bodybuilding days, Governor Schwarzenegger kicked-off the second annual statewide competition to promote increased physical activity and better health among California's kids. The school getting the highest percentage of students working out at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week for a month outside regular P.E. classes will win a brand new fitness center.
"This is just the beginning. Really what you want to do is look at exercise like eating and sleeping. It's part of life. It's something you have to do everyday," Schwarzenegger said.
With 30 years of research behind her, Dr. Judith Stern is an internationally renowned expert on obesity. Stern said the governor's plan is a good start, but doesn't go far enough to make a dent in the childhood obesity problem. (Sot) Stern
"I think we should start even sooner before school, before grade school. And the parents and the kids should be involved in family physical activity," Stern said.
But with no control over family life, principal Del Bonta welcomes the contest because he can control their school life.
"The long term benefit is that what they learn here, they can take with them throughout their lives," Del Bonta said.