Lawmakers Kick Off “Steps for Schools”

Dozens of Idaho state legislators are stepping up to bring awareness to children’s health as part of High Five Children’s Health Collaborative’s Steps for Schools Challenge, which rallies legislators to increase — and count — their steps throughout February.

The Challenge, now in its third year, invites lawmakers to wear a FitBit fitness measurement device as they walk between meetings and hearings, as well as after hours. Those who mark an average of 10,000 steps a day during the month of February will earn funding for physical activity equipment or walking programs at schools in their legislative district. Legislators with the highest step counts will earn $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. The funding comes from High Five, an initiative of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health, created to promote and encourage better health for all Idahoans through wellness and prevention programs.

“Legislators have really stepped up to be a positive influence in their communities,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health Executive Director. “The simple act of increasing their activity and sharing their story with their constituents will inspire thousands of people to get more active and improve their health. It’s a powerful way to give back and promote healthy habits in our children.”

Though designed as a friendly competition, Steps for Schools has led to significant results. Last year’s Steps for Schools top finishers, Rep. Steve Harris (R – Meridian), Sen. Roy Lacey (D – Pocatello), and Rep. Mat Erpelding (D – Boise), combined to walk more than 2.5 million steps in just 28 days and thousands of dollars donated to local schools.

This year, in addition to their daily walking activity, legislators will join children from local schools on February 22 at 12:15pm to walk around the Capitol.

“Idaho has some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the country,” Witt-Doyle said. “Steps for Schools provides a fun, engaging way to get them and our leaders moving, ultimately making a positive impact on their health and the health of our state.”