Governor Philip B. Scott, joined by Jennifer Butsch, Anna Coon, Sierra Martin, Dr. Mark Levine, Emily Park, and Janet Franz, declared May Physical Fitness and Sports Month in Vermont, encouraging Vermonters to be active this spring. He will sign the proclamation on May 10, 9:30 a.m. in the Governor’s Ceremonial Office at the State House. Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Janet Franz, Chair of the Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, will speak about the importance of physical activity to health and wellbeing. The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports hosts the event.
The Governor’s proclamation aligns with the national designation of May as Physical Fitness and Sports Month, an effort by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to raise awareness about the benefits of physical activity. It also helps promote the council’s mission to promote Exercise Is Medicine.
“Vermonters have a perfect setting to get outdoors and exercise, and May is a great time to start,” said Franz. “We can get outdoors for a hike, jog or bike and enjoy our beautiful environment. Doing this regularly helps us feel better, physically and mentally. Being active reduces risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stiff backs, sore knees, depression, low energy and a host of other ailments, reducing the need for medicine and medical care. Exercise is medicine.”
In Vermont, 60% of adults and 29% of youth are overweight or obese, according to the state Department of Health, which cites lack of physical activity as the reason. More than three quarters (77%) of Vermont’s youth do not participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, and 20% of Vermont adults participate in no leisure time physical activity. The department estimates that medical expenses attributable to adult obesity in Vermont total $291 million annually.
The health department recommends that adults aim for 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity each week. Moderate activity includes walking fast, bicycling, dancing and swimming. Children should participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, including walking to school, playing in the yard or playground, climbing trees, riding bikes and participating in sports.