BATON ROUGE— The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has unveiled a new strategy for challenging teens and young adults to take a more active role in promoting physical activity and a healthier lifestyle among their peers. 

The Council has turned over operation of the Lighten Up Louisiana Youth program to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council to coordinate the 2009 version of Lighten Up Louisiana, enabling kids, teens and young adults to take an active role in recruiting and reaching their peers to encourage fitness and weight loss.

“The input from the Legislative Youth Advisory Council will give us a fresh perspective on how to effectively reach out to the younger generation,” said Rudy Macklin, director of the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.  “They will be able to implement innovative methods to sign up participants, distribute health and wellness tips geared toward youth, and use popular Web sites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube to promote the program.”

The Legislative Youth Advisory Council facilitates communication between youth and the legislature and gives students an opportunity to be involved in the process of government.  It is comprised of 21 civic-minded teens who represent each of the seven federal congressional districts.   In order to serve on the council, students must apply and be selected by the Louisiana Commission on Civic Education.  The council addresses issues as varied as education, employment, poverty and youth access to state and local services.

“This is an excellent opportunity for teens and young adults in our state to take ownership of their own health and well-being,” said LDH Secretary Alan Levine.  “We are proud to support this group of students and their peers in their efforts to be more active and encourage healthy behaviors for all Louisianans through the new Lighten Up Louisiana.”

Television and radio commercials are already in the works for this new campaign.  A newly restructured Web site allows participants to keep track of their daily/weekly exercise activities, from jogging and swimming to walking and mowing the grass.  At, participants are offered a wide array of features to encourage activity and healthy eating such as tracking daily fruit, vegetable and water intake. Individuals and teams can also create walking routes in nearby parks, trails or neighborhoods which log distances and their number of steps. 

In addition, the youth will open up the site to not only Louisianans, but also anyone with Louisiana ties to participate in the program, essentially taking Lighten Up Louisiana global.  Adults can still sign up and take advantage of the new fitness tracking system, but it will be the youth that direct the program.

The Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports aims to promote physical fitness and health through participation in competitive sports, workshops and conferences.  The Council was formed in 1989 by the Louisiana Legislature to encourage Louisiana residents to be physically fit through the production of high-quality amateur sporting events and recreational activities.  Its 15 members are appointed by the Governor. 

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit