Run challenges kids to make fitness a goal
PASADENA – Hoping to reverse an “epidemic of obesity” among youngsters, state health officials on Friday announced the Kids Fitness Challenge, a 5K run/walk to be held April 8 at the Rose Bowl. An estimated 10,000 children from across Los Angeles County are expected to participate in the event, founded in 2003 as a regional 5K and 10K run in Warner Center. “The need for nutrition, the need for good exercise habits, the need for healthy lifestyles has never been more obvious,” Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said during a news conference at the Rose Bowl. “We know what we need to do for the young people of our country, and that is to educate them, to motivate them and to give them the opportunity for healthy living.” Sandra Shewry, director of the state’s Department of Health Services, said the event will be a perfect way to mark Public Health Week, April 3-9. It’s important to exercise, she said, because “you can get fat and tired.” Teammate Katharine Pontrelli, 11, runs a strict regimen of three miles, three days a week. “I like sprints because it’s fun and you get a lot out of it,” she said. Teammate Jazzmyne Urquiza, 15, likes long distance runs of 10 miles to 13 miles. “Before I was on this team I was really lazy,” said Urquiza, a freshman at Verdugo Hills High School. “Then I joined, and I’m real active now and I enjoy doing sports.” Jason Kandel, (818) 546-3306 firstname.lastname@example.org IF YOU GO The Kids Fitness Challenge 5K Run/Walk will be held April 8 at the Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena. Registration will open at 7 a.m. Register online at www.kidsfitnesschallenge.com or at the event. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant “It’s a reminder to all of us of the importance of public health,” she said. “While the achievements of public health are many, we’ve got a really big challenge in front of us.” She said the state is experiencing an “epidemic of obesity,” caused by poor diet and a lack of physical activity. Nearly 74 percent of California children ages 9-11 are unfit, and roughly 40 percent are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, officials said. Just 40 percent participate in an hour of physical activity a day – the minimum target for children. “If we don’t switch these trends the kids today are going to live shorter lives than their parents,” Shewry said. “That’s just wrong.” Lucina Asatryan, a sixth-grader at Mount Gleason Middle School in Tujunga, and more than 100 other members of the Mount Gleason Runners plan to participate in the Fitness Challenge – after they run in the 21st L.A. Marathon on March 19.