ACES Goes Island Hopping For A Fit Michigan

Contact: Risa Wilkerson (517) 347-7891

April 19, 2006

For the first time ever, children from both of Michigan’s peninsulas, all 83 counties and five surrounding islands, will experience the joys of exercise concurrently with millions of children worldwide.

ACES: All Children Exercising Simultaneously is an international celebration recognizing the importance of physical activity for youth. Held at 10 a.m. on the first Wednesday of May each year, children in every U.S. state and in more than 50 countries worldwide get out of their seats and get moving to experience the joy of exercise. Michigan’s participation in ACES has grown nearly every year and this year representation covers the entire state.

“Poor diet and lack of physical activity are second only to smoking as causes of preventable death,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “Without some immediate intervention, this is the first generation of young Americans who are expected to have a shorter life span than their parents or grandparents. ACES helps raise awareness in Michigan about the need for healthy lifestyles and lifelong fitness.”

From the suburban schools of Lansing to the Island communities of Grosse Isle, Boise Blanc, Beaver, Drummond and Mackinac Islands, ACES will motivate students and communities around the state. The students of Grosse Isle Middle School will kick off ACES day with a pedometer-based program tracking every student’s steps for one week with prizes for the most active people. Students from Bois Blanc Island Pines Elementary will also be participating in a community bike ride around the islands non-paved seasonal roads. Other island residents are invited to join them.

Michigan’s efforts are coordinated by the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports and sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance.

Last year, Michigan set the record for the most participants from a single state when 994 schools and their 450,000 plus students participated in ACES. ACES launches both National Fitness Month and the Active Michigan Summer campaign, an effort to encourage citizens to use the warm months of May through September to become or stay active.

For more information or to register your school for A.C.E.S., please visit www.michiganfitness.org.