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 Home > News & Policies > July 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
July 18, 2003

President Bush Highlights Health and Fitness Initiative

Today's Presidential Action

Today, President Bush visited the Lakewest Family YMCA in Dallas, Texas to highlight his HealthierUS initiative designed to help Americans, especially children, live longer, better, and healthier lives. The President's HealthierUS initiative helps Americans take steps to improve personal health and fitness and encourages all Americans to:

  • Be physically active every day;
  • Eat a nutritious diet;
  • Get preventive screenings;
  • and Make healthy choices.

The President was joined today by members of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, including football legend Lynn Swann, Chair of the Council; and Olympic softball gold medalist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dot Richardson, Vice Chair of the Council. The Council promotes the President's message on fitness and health to Americans of all ages and today unveiled a new tool for Americans to use to increase personal fitness and become healthier. The new Presidential fitness challenge is easy to start and individuals can track weekly fitness activities at the website .

Background on Today's Presidential Action

The four keys for a healthier America:

  • Be Physically Active Every Day - Many chronic diseases can be prevented with modest exercise, in some cases as simple as walking for half an hour. For example, if just 10% of adults began walking regularly, America could save $5.6 billion in costs related to heart disease.
  • Eat a Nutritious Diet - Americans should make simple adjustments to their diet and avoid excessive portions. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a central part of a healthier diet, and good overall nutrition lowers the risk of getting heart disease, stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Get Preventive Screenings - Americans may be surprised to learn how a simple test like a cholesterol screen or a blood pressure check can reveal current health status and identify a need to adjust diet or behavior.
  • Make Healthy Choices - Avoid tobacco and drugs as well as the abuse and underage use of alcohol and make smart and safe choices in your everyday life.

Steps to a HealthierUS
Obesity, diabetes, and asthma are some of the most prevalent and costly chronic health problems facing the nation. Increased exercise and better nutrition are simple measures that can prevent or delay many chronic diseases. The Steps to a HealthierUS program will fund innovative community-based programs that seek to adopt proven measures to reduce the burden of obesity, diabetes, and asthma-related complications, with a particular focus on youth. The President's 2004 budget requests $125 million for Steps to a HealthierUS.

The President's Challenge -
Over the past year, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has worked to create a new, more widely accessible President's Challenge awards program. The Council has set the goal of attracting an additional 20 million Americans to physical fitness and exercise. Using, the new President's Challenge allows individuals to track weekly fitness activities, and receive Presidential fitness awards for achieving defined fitness goals.

For more information on the President's initiatives, visit