For Immediate Release
Office of Media Affairs
June 19, 2002
President Outlines 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 The President '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.
The President's Press Secretary, Ari Fleischer, previewed Thursday's announcement during his press briefing:
Q Ari, can I just briefly have a preview of the four-day fitness campaign that begins tomorrow? And does the President want Americans to emulate his example?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President is very much looking forward to addressing an important domestic issue which not only is close to his heart, but it's also an important health care initiative for the American people. And the fact of the matter is, often in our country when Presidents step out and use the bully pulpit of the presidency, many Americans listen. And when it comes to exercise, there are many people who just need that extra little nudge to go out there and do a little bit more exercise. And the President hopes the initiative he is about to launch will help Americans exercise more and stay healthy or keep healthy or get healthy.
So tomorrow, the President will launch an initiative beginning with the announcement of his Physical Fitness Panel on the South Lawn of the White House. There will be health screenings available on the South Lawn of the White House for our invited guests.
The next day, Friday, the President will travel to Florida where the President will visit a senior citizens' center, and the President will discuss age-appropriate physical education and exercise with seniors. You're never too old to exercise, and that will be one of the messages of the President.
Q Do you exercise?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen, you exercise me every day. (Laughter.)
On Saturday, the President is going to probably lead White House staffers in a three-mile run at a local facility. And we have -- already have some 400 White House staffers. It instantly sold out. Instead of paying a registration fee, the staff was asked to donate their time to local charities. And then there will be a tee-ball game on the South Lawn on Sunday.
But in a serious way, it is a fact that people do take cues from the President about a number of areas, and health and exercise is one of them. The President hopes in some small way to get Americans to change their behavior or increase their exercise or start exercising.
Q Will there be health screening for reporters? (Laughter.)
Q Will Nurse Ratchet be available --
Q Ari, talk a little bit about the President's own fitness regiment.
MR. FLEISCHER: The question was the President's own physical fitness regimen. The President continues to work out on virtually a daily basis. He will run, typically about three miles a day. He will do a bit of a workout in terms of live weights also. The President believes in cross-training.
And the President finds it very healthy in terms of just physical strength, physical endurance, keeping in shape. But it's also good for the mind. And I think that's something that the American people know, when they run, when they exercise, it's a healthy aspect of daily life, hopefully daily life, in many ways, physical and mental.