DES MOINES – Governor Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education are partnering with the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils (NFGFC) and its chairman Jake Steinfeld to participate in the DON’T QUIT! campaign which aims to reverse growing trends in mental illness and childhood obesity. NFGFC will gift a state-of-the-art DON’T QUIT! fitness center to three elementary or middle schools in Iowa.  

“Since becoming Governor, my administration has made historic investments in Iowa’s mental health, including the first-ever children’s mental health system in our state,” stated Governor Reynolds. “I believe in supporting mental health in a variety of ways and am excited about how the DON’T QUIT! campaign can help improve the mental and physical health of school-age children by providing fitness centers for three Iowa schools.” 

Steinfeld, also known as fitness icon “Body by Jake”, has spent the last 40 years promoting the importance of physical activity to combat childhood obesity, and has seen firsthand that the benefits don’t stop there. “Exercise has been proven to provide a positive effect on a child’s mental health as well,” Steinfeld said. “Our kids are our most precious resource and by providing them with a strong foundation in health and fitness, we will be helping them excel beyond their wildest dreams. It’s inspiring to see elected leaders like Governor Kim Reynolds champion the DON’T QUIT! vision and we look forward to bringing the campaign to Iowa.” 

The NFGFC’s goal is to build a nation of the fittest, healthiest kids in the world. To date, it has provided fitness centers to 42 states plus Washington, DC. This year, the campaign will benefit four more states: Iowa, Vermont, Wyoming, and Montana. Each fitness center is financed through public-private partnerships with companies like The Coca-Cola Company, Amerigroup Foundation, Wheels Up and Nike, and does not rely on taxpayer dollars or state funding. Fitness Supply provides the fitness equipment.  

Schools interested in receiving a fitness center can apply starting Tuesday, February 14, 2023, until Sunday, March 26, 2023. School districts will receive more information about the application process from the Iowa Department of Education and can visit, then click on the Iowa button to download the application. Schools are asked to submit a short video expressing why they deserve a new fitness center and what they plan to do with it. 

Physical activity and exercise are shown to help prevent and treat more than 40 chronic diseases, enhance individual health and quality of life, and reduce health care costs. In schools, studies show that physical activity improves academic achievement, increases confidence and self-esteem, reduces discipline problems, cuts absenteeism, and fosters better interpersonal relationships. 

For more information about the NFGFC, visit