Littleton, CO (April 26, 2012) – Nearly 30,000 middle school students across the country, including many from Goddard Middle School, are participating this spring in the third annual World Fit Walk, a six-week program inspired by local Olympic, Paralympic, and other high-level athletes to help promote health and fitness.
Approximately 81 middle and elementary schools from around the country are slated to participate in this year’s event, boosting the total number of participating students to nearly 30,000. With Olympians, Paralympians and world-class athletes as guides, World Fit pairs the athletes with schools to inspire their students about the importance of health, fitness and the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect. By providing a community-based school exercise initiative, World Fit is able to achieve its mission, while promoting Olympic Values worldwide.
“The World Fit Walk inspires students to exercise with elite athletes serving as health ambassadors to the schools,” said three-time Olympic medalist Gary Hall, Sr., co- founder of the World Fit Foundation. “The program allows children to get the exercise they need and motivates them to keep going with the encouragement of these athletes.” “This program not only establishes relationships between the schools and their local athletes, it helps boost exercise among families and loved ones through the World Fit Buddy program” Hall says. “If we can encourage children to get their parents, siblings and friends to engage in more physical activity, we can win the fight against childhood obesity.”
The World Fit Walk kicked off in Dallas, Texas on March 26 with a walk led by Pat Sapp, Wheelchair Games athlete and Paralympic gold medalist in Hockey. Programs in Colorado, California, Kentucky, Nevada, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Washington, D.C. to follow in April. Lexington, Kentucky will lead the country with 11 participating schools followed by Colorado and Texas with 8, Indiana with 7. The cities of Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami and the communities of the Santa Ynez Valley each have four participating schools.
Today, Olympian Andrea J. Wieland, Ph.D., the US National Field Hockey Team’s 1996 Summer Olympic Games Goal Keeper was the featured speaker at Goddard Middle School in Littleton. Wieland, an avid athlete and performance coach, stressed to the middle schoolers the importance of making fitness a lifetime habit, not just something that you do as a young person. “The World Fit programming values closely match those of an Olympian and I am honored to assist World Fit in celebrating what Goddard Middle School has accomplished and the goals the students and teachers have met. Its very uplifiting!” Wieland is the Chief Enthusiasm Officer of Every1Fit, an online fitness, mental preparation and nutritional planning program that assists athletes and organizations to “Prepare for Amazing.”
World Fit, an initiative of the U.S. Olympians Association and developed by U.S. Olympians, Paralympians, and high-level athletes, encourages middle and elementary school students to walk at least 60 miles in six weeks, a time period that typically starts after spring break. Participating students log the number of miles walked daily on the website, and at the end of the 6-week period, they are awarded medals and certificates for reaching milestones.
With obesity rates continuing to increase in the United States, the World Fit Foundation continues to do its part to eradicate both childhood obesity and the enormous toll obesity has taken on families, society and healthcare systems.
In each community, the program is supervised by a World Fit Leader. A volunteer or organization that identifies potential schools, will work as a liaison between the school and World Fit.
World Fit has gained support both nationally and globally from The U.S. Congress, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). In 2010, the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a resolution in support of the World Fit program, and last year, the IOC selected World Fit for the Sport for the All Patronage Award.
Download the full press release as a PDF document - World Fit Press Release – April 26, 2012