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State kicks off healthy futures challenge

From the Department of Health and Social Services:

February 6, 2012

Contact: Ann Potempa, (907) 269-7957, Cell (907) 230-4001,

Greg Wilkinson, (907) 269-7285, Cell (907) 382-7032,

FOR MEDIA RELEASE ONLY: The Department of Health and Social Services

ANCHORAGE — Several health and education leaders in Alaska will kick off the statewide Healthy Futures Challenge at Susitna Elementary School Tuesday, Feb. 7, at 10 a.m. The Department of Health and Social Services is a new partner of Healthy Futures, an Alaska organization that has been promoting childhood physical activity since 2003. The Healthy Futures Challenge is part of the department’s new Play Every Day campaign, which stresses the importance of playing and being physically active for overall health and to maintain a healthy weight. About three out of every 10 children in Alaska are overweight or obese.

Speakers will announce the significant increase in the number of schools signed up for the 2012 Healthy Futures Challenge, a three-month challenge for Alaska children grades K-6 to track their physical activity and win prizes. The Department of Education and Early Development worked with DHSS to send invitations to school principals and physical education teachers across the state this winter, encouraging them to sign up their schools for the Challenge. By January, almost 125 schools throughout Alaska signed up to participate. School organizers estimate about 16,000 children could complete the physical activity challenge.

Kindergarten through second-grade children will attend the event. Mao Tosi – Susitna Elementary parent, campaign supporter and athlete – will end the event by challenging several Susitna students to an obstacle course that shows how to be active indoors.

WHAT: Kickoff of the 2012 Healthy Futures Challenge

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

WHERE: Susitna Elementary School gymnasium, 7500 Tyone Court, Anchorage


Mike Lesmann, Special Assistant, Office of the Governor
Carol Comeau, Superintendent of the Anchorage School District
Cindy Norquest, Healthy Futures program director
Karol Fink, DHSS Obesity Prevention and Control Program manager
Kim Bautista, Susitna Elementary Principal
Ben Elbow and Niki Underwood, Susitna Elementary physical education teachers
Mao Tosi, Susitna Elementary parent, campaign supporter and athlete
NOTE: To accommodate the young children’s school schedule, the event will last only a half hour. However, the speakers will remain for a short time afterward to do follow-up interviews.

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