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Gov. Sanford, First Family to Begin 2005 Family Fitness Challenge

Location: Columbia, SC

Gov. Sanford, First Family to Begin 2005 Family Fitness Challenge


Gov. Mark Sanford and his family will participate in two events this April to kick off the 2005 Family Fitness Challenge, the First Family's second annual effort to encourage healthier choices among South Carolinians in their day-to-day lives. In last year's Family Fitness Challenge, Gov. Sanford and his family completed a 170-mile bike ride across South Carolina - keeping a promise the governor made during his 2004 State of the State address. During this year's State of the State address, Gov. Sanford expanded the Family Fitness Challenge to include events organized by supportive groups. By participating in the first two of these events - the 28th Annual Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston on April 2 and the 2005 March of Dimes WalkAmerica event in Orangeburg on April 9 - Gov. Sanford said he hopes to encourage South Carolinians to be just a bit healthier in their day-to-day lives.

"Jenny and I believe simply that making healthier choices is key to advancing quality of life in our state, whether it's exercising more, eating the right things or generally looking after our health better," Gov. Sanford said. "We have a long way to go in improving our state's overall health picture, but the good news is we can start today with some simple solutions that will have a material impact on how we look and feel as a state."

Whether or not individuals can attend these two events - or any of the events the First Family plans to participate in throughout the year - Gov. Sanford stressed that people becoming more active on their own was still the most important thing they could do toward becoming healthier, even if it means just working in the yard or walking around the block. The need for South Carolinians to become more active was highlighted by a 2004 United Health Foundation study that reported the Palmetto State performed poorly in a number of health categories, including obesity, physical inactivity, and the percentage of adult smokers. Overall, the study found South Carolina had the nation's 4th-worst health ranking, despite ranking 11th in per capita public health spending. South Carolina has not been rated higher than 40th in the annual study since 1990.

Gov. Sanford will be joined by his wife, Jenny, and their four boys for the Cooper River Bridge Run. Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter will join Gov. Sanford in Orangeburg for the WalkAmerica event. Those wishing to join Gov. Sanford in the Cooper River Bridge Run should contact organizers at (843) 937-4183 or visit Those wishing to participate in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica event should contact the South Carolina Chapter of the March of Dimes at (803) 252-5200, or visit

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