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HealthierUS: The President's Health and Fitness Initiative


President Bush's HealthierUS Initiative is based on the premise that increasing personal fitness and becoming healthier is critical to achieving a better and longer life. Extensive research, much of it conducted or funded by the Federal Government, has shown that improving overall health, and thus preventing disease and premature death, is as easy as making small adjustments and improvements in the activities of daily life. The President’s HealthierUS Initiative uses the resources of the Federal Government to alert Americans to the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in physical activity, nutrition, and behavior.

Nearly half of American adults report that they do not exercise at all, and seven out of 10 do so infrequently. Too many of America’s youth do not exercise at all, are overweight, and have poor dietary habits. Five chronic diseases associated with obesity -- heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (e.g., bronchitis, emphysema, asthma), and diabetes -- account for more than two-thirds of all deaths in the United States. In addition to claiming more than 1.7 million American lives each year, these diseases hinder daily living for more than one of every 10 Americans, or 25 million people. More than 100 million Americans live with chronic disease, and millions of new cases are diagnosed each year.

Although these chronic diseases are among the most prevalent and deadly health problems facing our nation, some of them are very preventable. Effective measures exist today to prevent or delay much of the chronic disease burden and curtail its devastating consequences. Families can take simple, affordable steps to work physical activity, good nutrition, and behavior changes into their daily routine. You don’t have to become a marathon runner or be able to afford a gym or health club membership to improve personal fitness. The health of Americans would improve with modest but regular physical activity and better eating habits.

People of all ages can benefit from these actions. For the nation’s seniors, poor health should not be a foregone consequence of aging. Improvements in diet and physical activity can greatly improve the quality of life at any age. Regular physical activity also helps older Americans maintain joint strength and mobility and substantially delays the onset of functional limitations and loss of independence.

The Administration is announcing two actions to promote fitness:

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

Agency-Wide Activities to Promote Personal Fitness.

The HealthierUS Initiative is based on a very simple formula: every little bit of effort counts. The Administration has identified four keys for a healthier America and is taking the following actions to promote them:

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