Governor Schwarzenegger Issues Challenge to All California Schools’ Students

Written by Patricia Hawke for

Long before Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor of California, physical fitness was at the forefront of his career. He won a succession of bodybuilding titles from 1964 to 1970. He had been named Mr. Germany and Mr. Universe by the age of twenty. Schwarzenegger brought bodybuilding to the national spotlight, when he won the Mr. Olympia title, holding it from 1970-1975 and 1980.
His acting career took off with the successful Conan the Barbarian with Schwarzenegger in the lead and chosen specifically for his perfect physique. In 1997, he was proclaimed the greatest bodybuilder of the 20th century, and the Guiness Book of World Records named him “the most perfectly developed man in the history of the world”. 
Among his many business ventures, Schwarzenegger owns World Gym Enterprises and All Star Fitness Products, and is co-responsible for the Arnold Classic Pro Bodybuilding and Fitness shows. Additionally, he headed the Council on Physical Fitness and Sports for former President Bush.
Is it any wonder that, as governor for the state of California, Schwarzenegger wants California public schools’ students to exercise more, eat better, and be more physically fit. To that end, he has issued a challenge to all California schools’ students in order promote an increased level of physical activity.
He wants all kindergarten through 12th grade California schools’ students to run, jump and squat for 30-to-60 minutes a day, at least three times a week for the next four weeks. The incentive — the school with the highest percentage of participation at the end of the four-week challenge wins a new fitness center/gymnasium. The next eleven school runner-ups will each receive $1,000 with which to purchase fitness equipment.
Schwarzenegger’s promotion of healthy California schools’ students doesn’t end there. Two bills have been introduced to improve school nutrition, effective July 2007. One bill requires all foods sold in California schools’ vending machines to meet high nutritional standards, regulating the number of calories for both fat and sugar. The second bill limits the type of drinks sold at California schools to water, milk, and some fruit and sport drinks that are low in sweeteners.
Not only is Schwarzenegger big on physical fitness and its benefits to California schools’ children, who are among the nation’s growing obese statistics, but a statewide review on physical fitness within the California schools was released last November 2006. The findings were atrocious.
The study found that nearly half of the California school’s ninth graders could not briskly run one mile. Almost 1.4 million California school’s students were tested in fifth, seventh and ninth grades. Less than a third met all minimum benchmarks for body fat, abdominal strength, and flexibility.
Governor Schwarzenegger is doing what it takes to help California schools’ students become and stay physically fit. If children do not do it while in school, it can affect their entire adult life with obese-related illnesses and health problems.
Parents, teachers and California schools interested in participating can register online and track their schools’ progress against other California schools at: