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Fact Sheet: Encouraging Child Fitness

February 01, 2007

Today, The President And Mrs. Bush Met With Corporate Leaders To Encourage The Private Sector To Join The Federal Government's Efforts To Promote Child Fitness And Prevent Obesity. The President and Mrs. Bush met with executives from industries dealing with product development, entertainment, retail sales, and advertising to youth to discuss the importance of improving healthy food offerings and encouraging physical activity in their marketing campaigns.

Meeting Participants Included:

  • Marc Belton, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Health, Brand and New Business Development, General Mills
  • Peggy Conlon, President and CEO, The Advertising Council
  • Alexander "Sandy" Douglas, Jr., President and COO, Coca-Cola North America
  • Roger Enrico, Chairman of the Board, DreamWorks Animation SKG
  • Ivelisse Estrada, Senior Vice President, Corporate and Community Relations, Univision Communications, Inc.
  • Lance Friedmann, Senior Vice President, Global Health and Wellness and Sustainability, Kraft Foods, Inc.
  • Jeff Montie, Executive Vice President of North America, Kellogg Company
  • Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, Inc.
  • Tom Seddon, CEO, Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust
  • Don Thompson, President, McDonalds USA
  • Cyma Zarghami, President, Nickelodeon Television
  • Following Today's Meeting, U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt Will Join DreamWorks Animation SKG Chairman Roger Enrico And Ad Council President And CEO Peggy Conlon To Launch A Public Awareness Campaign To Help Prevent Childhood Obesity. The campaign is in partnership with the Ad Council and will include ads featuring characters from the Shrek animated movies encouraging children to "Be a Player: Get Up and Play an Hour a Day."

Childhood Obesity Is A Serious Public Health Problem. More than 10 million school-age children in the United States (approximately 18 percent) are now considered overweight, and the problem is getting worse. The proportion of overweight kids tripled among adolescents over the last 25 years, and nearly doubled for children ages 6 to 12. This increases their risk for adult heart disease and diabetes, lowers life expectancy, and creates additional health-care costs.

The Administration Is Working To Fight Obesity

The Federal Government Spends More Than $600 Million Annually To Fight Obesity.

  • The President's FY 2008 Budget Proposes $17.3 Million For Approximately 3,600 Schools To Receive $3,000 To $5,000 Grants From HHS To Help Implement School Health Index Improvement Plans. These plans will help schools assess and measure the health of their students. Grant recipients will develop action plans for promoting physical activity and healthy eating. The initiative will reach more than 3 million young people and their families.

In June 2002, President Bush Launched The HealthierUS Initiative To Promote Personal Fitness And Health. As part of this initiative, the President announced the revitalization of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS). The President also directed certain Federal agencies to review and revise policies, programs, and regulations related to physical activity and nutrition in accordance with the goals of the HealthierUS initiative.

  • HHS Activities: HHS activities to promote the HealthierUS initiative include the recent launch, with the Office of Personnel Management, of HealthierFeds, the HealthierUS Fitness Festival, PCPFS challenge partnerships, and various forums and workshops. HHS also partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs to launch HealthierUS Veterans and has also convened four National Prevention Summits. In 2005, HHS launched the We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) program, a resource for tools to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. Through the CDC, the Steps to a HealthierUS initiative operates a cooperative agreement program office that provides funding to 40 communities nationwide to support evidence-based community interventions.
  • U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) Activities: USDA has partnered with States and local schools to promote the availability of healthful foods and encourage physical activity, assist in the implementation of Local School Wellness Policies, and establish the Healthier US School Challenge. USDA has also initiated a number of efforts to make the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children more effective vehicles for improving nutrition and preventing obesity. Two USDA campaigns - "Team Nutrition" and "Eat Smart. Play Hard." - are helping to deliver messages on the importance of healthy eating and physical activity.
  • USDA And HHS Dietary Guidelines For Americans: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a joint effort by HHS and USDA, were updated in 2005 and serve as the basis of Federal food programs and nutrition education programs. The MyPyramid Food Guidance System incorporates the science-based recommendations of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and replaces the Food Guide Pyramid of 1992.

This Year, The Administration's Actions To Fight Obesity Will Include:

  • Public Messaging Partnerships: HHS will continue working with the advertising, entertainment, arts, food, and beverage industries to recognize achievements and increase support for obesity prevention initiatives.
  • School Wellness Policies: USDA is helping schools across America to implement their Local Wellness policies. This school year, districts nationwide are required to establish goals for nutrition education and physical activity and to set school food nutrition guidelines. HHS and other agencies have also produced Federal tools and curricula on healthy diets and exercise.
  • Outdoor Recreation: The Interior Department will promote physical fitness by facilitating greater access to public lands and National Parks. This will encourage young people and their families to participate in hunting, fishing, hiking, biking, and other forms of outdoor recreation.
  • Physical Activity Guidelines For Americans: In 2006, HHS announced that it would issue comprehensive Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in 2008. These will complement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and are based on the premise that Americans must engage in physical activity as well as have a healthy diet. HHS will establish a Physical Activity Scientific Advisory Committee in 2007 to formulate recommendations that will serve as the basis for the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
  • Dietary Guidelines For Americans: HHS and USDA will continue promoting the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the revised MyPyramid Food Guidance System, as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education. USDA will also continue to promote MyPyramid for Kids as a vehicle encouraging children ages 6 to 11 to make healthy eating and physical activity choices.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Encouraging Child Fitness Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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