For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 20, 2002
Fact Sheet: President Bush Launches HealthierUS Initiative
Today's Presidential Action
President Bush today launched a new HealthierUS initiative to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. The HealthierUS initiative will encourage all Americans to:
A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services confirms that "virtually all individuals can benefit from regular physical activity." Unfortunately, the HHS study found that Americans pay a staggering physical and financial cost for sedentary lifestyles, including an estimated $117 billion annually in problems associated with overweight and obesity alone. The study also found that more than a third of children in grades 9-12 fail to exercise at least 20 minutes a day, three times a week.
The President's HealthierUS initiative is designed to help Americans of all ages take steps to improve their personal health and fitness. As part of the initiative, the President announced two new Executive Orders that reinvigorate the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and direct key federal departments and agencies to develop plans to better promote fitness and health for all Americans.
The President also introduced the new members of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, including Chair Lynn Swann and Vice Chair Dot Richardson. The Council will be charged with promoting fitness and athletic activities to Americans of all ages.
Background on Today's Presidential Action
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.
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 behavioral changes into their daily routine.
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 has shown that making small adjustments and improvements in the activities of daily life can improve overall health and prevent disease and premature death. 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.
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.
Today, President Bush announced two immediate steps to promote fitness:
The President also announced that the Administration has identified four keys for a healthier America and is taking the following actions to promote them:
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