Governor, Clinton visit El Monte school

first_img• Photo Gallery: Clinton, Schwarzenegger go to school • Video: Clinton, Schwarzenegger go to school “How many reps have you done already? A thousand?” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was in his element Wednesday, urging students to “get pumped up” and stay healthy as he and former President Bill Clinton toured Columbia Middle School on California Avenue. The visit was meant to recognize the school’s award-winning physical education and nutrition programs. Columbia was one of only 26 schools nationwide to receive a bronze award from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between Clinton’s philanthropic foundation and the American Heart Association. The former president’s group has teamed with Food Network TV host Rachael Ray, community group KaBOOM! and Nickelodeon on programs to encourage better eating habits, build recreation facilities in urban neighborhoods and get children to exercise more. Clinton said actions at the school level are the first line of defense in the fight against obesity. He also lauded Schwarzenegger’s administration for its efforts to promote healthier attitudes among the state’s students. The governor noted that California is already way ahead of other states with laws banning junk food and soda sales at schools and investing $40million a year to hire more physical-education teachers and equipment. But Schwarzenegger added there is a lot more work to do. “In the last decade, Californians collectively gained 360 million pounds of body weight,” the former Mr. Olympia said. “The average 10-year-old gained 10 pounds in the last 15 years. And one out of three kids and one out of four teenagers are overweight.” Dr. Daniel Jones, president of the American Heart Association, said programs like the one at Columbia will go a long way toward preventing students from having to deal with many of the health problems related to excessive weight, including hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. “I want to particularly applaud the school’s parent advisory group, which has been working with the school’s food services program to make sure the food you have is not only healthy but appropriate culturally and for (students’) dietary needs,” Jones said. (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “We are all here because you are a model for the rest of the nation,” Schwarzenegger, the alliance’s co-chairman, told an auditorium packed with students, faculty and staff. Nearby, students from the school’s elementary and middle school classes jumped rope, played ball and did jumping jacks in the school yard. “You are doing really extraordinary work here to exercise, eat well, stay fit and all of these things,” Schwarzenegger said. Clinton touted the alliance’s mission, noting that over the past 20 years, the number of young people in America who are seriously overweight has tripled. “We have to reduce our caloric intake … and we have to have more calories burned by more exercise,” Clinton said. last_img

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