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Kentwood Elementary Receives Special Appearance from Laila Ali and the Live Like a Champion Tour to Knock Out Childhood Obesity

Friday, October 30, 2009 General News J E 4
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WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., Oct. 29 -- World Champion athlete Laila Ali joined the Live Like a Champion Tour at Kentwood Elementary to combat the growing epidemic of childhood obesity by teaching children the importance of eating healthy and staying active in a fun, interactive way. The award-winning initiative is a partnership between the California Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and Anthem Blue Cross.  Now in its fourth year, the Live Like a Champion Tour features interactive games and challenging sports-themed activities that encourage children to bring out their "inner champion."  

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20091029/CG01999)

As the newest council member, Ali unveiled her very own "Champ Corner," a hands-on physical education piece where children learn about the importance of conditioning activities such as push-ups, sit-ups and jumping rope and how to use a speed bag. "It is an honor to take on this role with the Governor's Council and the Live Like a Champion Tour," said Ali. "I am committed to promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles and hope that children learn the importance of exercise and a balanced diet through the Champ Corner."

A select group of Governor's Council celebrity athletes lends its support to the Live Like a Champion Tour to help raise awareness and promote physical fitness for all Californians.  These California icons serve as role models and share their favorite exercises, and their choice of healthy fruits and vegetables depicted on life-size posters throughout the event-site.

"The Live Like a Champion Tour is a great way for me and my fellow Council members to encourage kids to get moving and eat right," said Jake Steinfeld, Chairman of the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. "Few kids will ever have the opportunity to become world champions like Laila Ali, Jerry Rice and Misty May-Treanor, but through our Live Like a Champion Tour, kids across the state experience how fun it is to get active.  They also get to learn how important it is to never quit on themselves or their dreams. Don't Quit!"

The tour is traveling to schools, local community and special events, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs and other after-school program locations throughout the state of California.  Special effort is focused on reaching out to the state's underserved communities.

According to the 2009 "F as in Fat" report by Trust for America's Health, nearly one in three children in California 10-17 years of age are either overweight or obese. "Encouraging healthy eating and activity routines can help children stay healthy and focused. Research shows that active and well-nourished children have stronger bones and muscles, higher self-esteem, and improved performance at school," said Harvinder Sareen, PhD, Director of Clinical Programs, Anthem Blue Cross.

"As the state's largest health insurance provider, Anthem Blue Cross recognizes its responsibility to respond to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.  We are committed to addressing the issue and empowering families and communities to adopt healthier lifestyles," said Leslie A. Margolin, President of Anthem Blue Cross.

Laila Ali is the youngest daughter of Veronica Porsche Anderson, and of the legendary Muhammad Ali.  Ali is deeply committed to helping ensure the adults of tomorrow are getting a healthy start today.

Athletes who are featured in the campaign and their event experiences include:

  • Olympic Style Opening Ceremony: Children pledge to put down the remote and get active.
  • Laila Ali's Champ Corner: Inspired by world champion athlete Laila Ali, children step into the ring for a round with a speed bag and learn about the importance of conditioning activities such as push-ups, sit-ups and jumping rope.
  • Misty May-Treanor's Dig, Set and Spike Like A Champion: Inspired by Olympic volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor, children step up to the net and learn how to dig, set and spike a volleyball as another way to be active and have fun.
  • Jerry Rice's Catch Like A Champion: Inspired by Super Bowl champion Jerry Rice, children make the winning catch in the end zone by diving onto an inflatable mat while hearing messages encouraging 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day.
  • Lisa Leslie's Hoop Like A Champion: Inspired by Olympic basketball champion Lisa Leslie, children shoot to score by attempting different basketball shots with various colored balls representing different healthy foods.
  • Julie Foudy's Kick Like A Champion: Inspired by World Cup champion Julie Foudy, children shoot multicolored soccer balls representing fruits and vegetables into a goal to learn the importance of a balanced diet.
  • Closing Ceremony: Children engage in post-activity stretch exercises and join in an award ceremony, declaring all who participated champions.

About Anthem Blue Cross

Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California.  Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. Ū ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc.  The Blue Cross names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association.

Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

A non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting physical activity for all Californians with an emphasis on children and youth. Governor Schwarzenegger is the Honorary Chairman and Council members include Chairman Jake Steinfeld, Vice Chairman Peter Vidmar, and California sports legends such as Jerry Rice, Lisa Leslie, Misty May-Treanor, Laila Ali and Julie Foudy. For more information visit www.CalGovCouncil.org.

Governor's Council Key Initiatives include the Governor's Challenge, the Governor's Council Spotlight Awards Presented by the Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, the Governor's Council Activity Guide, the Live Like a Champion Tour powered by Anthem Blue Cross and Exercise is Medicine.

SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross

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