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Governor Launches the Georgia S.H.A.P.E. Partnership

Governor Perdue also signs an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition   MEDIA CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 651-7358,  - Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook    September 23, 2010 -- Today Governor Perdue announced the creation of the Georgia Student Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Partnership, a public-private initiative that will launch a five-school system pilot program focused on fitness assessments in grades 1 – 12.  This partnership is the result of HB 229, signed by Governor Perdue during the 2009 legislative session, which focuses on student health and wellness by requiring all students in a physical education course to receive an annual fitness assessment.   “A big part of getting better in anything – school work, athletics or personal fitness – is knowing how you measure up and what you need to improve on,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “The formula for a healthier Georgia starts with measuring fitness levels but it is sustained through healthy living choices.”   In June, the State Board of Education adopted the Fitnessgram program as the state’s physical fitness assessment tool. Five school systems were chosen to participate in this pilot program - Bibb, Hall, Gwinnett, Lowndes and White - before it goes statewide during the 2011-12 school year, as required by the SHAPE Act of 2009.   “Good nutritional and physical fitness habits help produce a more positive and well-rounded student in the classroom,” said State School Superintendent Brad Bryant. “We look forward to working with these five school systems to learn how to best implement this program statewide.”   The Georgia SHAPE Partnership includes the Governor’s Office, the Department of Education (DOE), the Division of Public Health within the Georgia Department of Community Health (DPH), the Georgia Children’s Health Alliance (GCHA) and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Each organization will play a role in providing training, centralizing data, rewards and recognition and creating a sustainable plan for long-term results. The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has given a $130,000 grant to support the Georgia SHAPE Partnership and this pilot program.   “There is no greater cause than helping the children of our state become healthier and happier,” said Donna Hyland, President and CEO of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. “This is an important first step for the children and families of our state. Working with the SHAPE Partnership, we can begin to change the future for the next generation of Georgians.”   Governor Perdue also signed an Executive Order creating the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in conjunction with the Georgia SHAPE Partnership. The Council will consist of public and private experts who are charged with advising the executive branch in areas focused on health and wellness and obesity, while also ensuring the sustainability of programs like the Georgia SHAPE Partnership.   About Fitnessgram  Fitnessgram was created in 1982 by The Cooper Institute to provide an easy way for physical education teachers to report to parents on children's fitness levels. Then and now, students are assessed in these areas of health-related fitness: cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. Scores are evaluated against objective criterion-based standards, called Healthy Fitness Zone standards, that indicate the level of fitness necessary for health. Fitnessgram software generates the student and parent reports, which contain objective, personalized feedback and positive reinforcement. These reports serve as a communications link between teachers and parents.   The Healthy Fitness Zone standards were developed by The Fitnessgram Scientific Advisory Board, a team of scientists and practitioners who are experts in the field of health and fitness, based on extensive research on the relationship between fitness, activity, and health.