May 02 2016

Presidential Proclamation — National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, 2016

NATIONAL PHYSICAL FITNESS AND SPORTS MONTH, 2016 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION For generations, sports have brought Americans of all ages together and helped us celebrate our country's competitive spirit. When we work to instill an appreciation for physical fitness in our people, we do more than honor an age-old tradition -- we take a critical step toward ensuring the prospect of a long and healthy life. During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we highlight the importance of staying active, and we encourage all Americans to partake in physical activity to maintain their health and well-being. Sports and other forms of physical activity inspire us -- they bridge differences, unite Americans from every walk of life, and teach the importance of teamwork. Whether exploring the great outdoors or shooting hoops with friends, regular physical activity can also relieve stress, boost energy and self-esteem, and prevent numerous chronic diseases, including some of the leading causes of death, such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease. Children should engage in physical activity for at least 1 hour each day, and adults should do so for at least 30 minutes. Critical to enabling our youth to reach their fullest potential, regular exercise must go hand-in-hand with healthy eating and proper nutrition -- because our children's well-being tomorrow depends on what they eat today. This year, we ...

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May 04 2015

NATIONAL PHYSICAL FITNESS AND SPORTS MONTH, 2015: A Presidential Proclamation!

A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA     Sports are a fundamental part of American culture.  They foster our country's competitive drive, help us stay healthy, and teach us what it takes to succeed -- not only on the softball diamond or the basketball court, but also in life. Sports and fitness reflect our national character, and they help us unlock our full potential.  During National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, we recognize parents, coaches, educators, and all those who instill in our children the importance of regular exercise, and we invite all people to invest in their own wellbeing by finding a way to be active each day. Physical fitness is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle.  Regular exercise can produce long-term health benefits; it can help prevent chronic diseases, combat obesity, relieve stress, and increase the chances of living longer.  By making physical activity part of your daily routine -- at least 30 minutes for adults and 60 minutes for children -- you can put yourself on the path to better physical and mental health. This year marks the fifth anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! initiative, which has helped increase opportunities for physical activity and inspire Americans of all ages to lead healthy, active lives.  To celebrate, the First Lady is challenging everyone to #GimmeFive things they are doing to eat better, be more active, and ...

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Feb 25 2014

The White House and USDA Announce School Wellness Standards

First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announce proposed school wellness standards and roll out of breakfast and lunch programs for schools that serve low income communities WASHINGTON, Feb. 25, 2014 – Today, First Lady Michelle Obama joins U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce proposed guidelines for local school wellness policies. The bipartisan Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 mandated that the USDA set guidelines for what needed to be included in local school wellness policies in areas such as setting goals for nutrition education and physical activity, informing parents about content of the policy and implementation, and periodically assessing progress and sharing updates as appropriate. As part of local school wellness policies, the proposed guidelines would ensure that foods and beverages marketed to children in schools are consistent with the recently-released Smart Snacks in School standards. Ensuring that unhealthy food is not marketed to children is one of the First Lady's top priorities; that is why it is so important for schools to reinforce the importance of healthy choices and eliminate marketing of unhealthy products. "The idea here is simple—our classrooms should be healthy places where kids aren't bombarded with ads for junk food," said First Lady Michelle Obama. "Because when parents are working hard to teach their kids healthy habits at home, their work shouldn't be undone by unhealthy messages at school." This ...

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Mar 28 2011

Take the Million PALA Challenge!: Graehm Gray

As you all know, my pal Nerdel and I are big supporters of the Presidents Challenge and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move programs. The intent of both of these fantastic programs is to get all Americans, young and old, into better shape. Both programs encourage you to eat healthier meals and snacks at school, at home, at work and whenever you go out to eat! And both programs emphasize the need to perform some type of physical fitness activity each and every day.  The Presidents Challenge program has many individual activity categories based on age and lifestyle and you can earn many cool awards and medals by registering your fitness performance. Here’s a little history: On September 14th, 2010, the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius along with the co-Chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition-Dominique Dawes and Let’s Move Executive Director Robin Schepper, launched the Million PALA (President's Active Lifestyle Award) Challenge. The goal of the Million PALA Challenge is to get 1,000,000 youth and adults, from all over the United  States, to sign up and participate in the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) over the year.  The ending date is slowly approaching-September 2011. How does the Million PALA Challenge work? “The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, or PALA, can be earned by taking part in 60 minutes of physical activity for kids ...

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May 23 2010

Graehm Gray: I Had A Dream….

My friends, I had a wonderful dream that I want to share with you: It all started as I awakened one morning, and smelled some incredible aroma coming from the kitchen. I walked downstairs to find the table set with all sorts of colorful fresh vegetables and fruits. I saw egg whites, and hard boiled eggs. Whole grain breads and muffins were baking. Wow, what a terrific smell. My wife and kids were already sitting and eating and the topic of discussion was how to stay fit and healthy! I couldn’t believe it. But it was as real as it could be! Even the television, which is consistently tuned to either  CWTV’s “America’s Top Model,” Food Channel’s “Food Challenge,” Travel Channel’s-“Andrew Zimmern,” or even TLC’s “Buddy Valastro of Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey,”-now was showing a Science Channel (Discovery) show on the Universe with Stephen Hawking Stephen Hawking's Universe). Am I dreaming? I guess I was, but it was sweet! Even better was when I asked my kids how school was, and they answered that it was “great” and that they were learning about organic foods in the organic garden they had at school and they even prepared some basic recipes in the “kitchen.” I couldn’t believe my ears! Organic garden, organic foods, kitchen-which dimension had I awakened in? My daughter continued to describe the yoga and Tai Chi ...

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May 19 2010

Graehm Gray: The White House To Reduce 1.5 Trillion Calories From Food and Beverage by 2015! Yes We Can!

First Lady Michelle Obama, in a press conference with members of the Food and Beverage Industry,   announced that the Partnership for a Healthier America has signed an agreement with The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF) whose members are pledging to take actions aimed at reducing 1.5 trillion product calories by the end of 2015.  As an interim step to this goal, HWCF will seek to reduce calories by 1 trillion in 2012.  “Solving the obesity epidemic requires far more than anything government can do alone and today’s announcement represents an important step forward to providing Americans with healthier choices so that they can choose to lead healthier lives,” said Mrs. Obama, who also serves as honorary chair of the Partnership.  “This is precisely the kind of private sector commitment we need.  I want to thank the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation for stepping up to the plate and I hope this encourages others to do the same.”  “On behalf of the Partnership, I am pleased to acknowledge this major first step by the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation.  Pledges like this one – with targeted and achievable results that are meaningful and measurable – will help us reach our goal of curbing childhood obesity within a generation,” said Dr. James R. Gavin III, chairman of the Partnership’s board of directors. So how will these companies do it? Here is their plan: growing and introducing lower-calorie options changing ...

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May 17 2010

Graehm Gray: The White House Weighs In On Childhood Obesity

The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity issued a report to the President on childhood obesity on May 13th, 2010 entitled: Solving The Problem Of Childhood Obesity Within A Generation. It is a summary of recommendations on how to approach the epidemic and focuses on four “priority” areas: 1. Empowering parents and caregivers; 2. Providing healthy foods in schools; 3. Improving access to healthy, affordable foods; and 4. Increasing physical activity. The goal for the Task Force is “returning to a childhood obesity rate of just 5% by 2030.” Can this be achieved? I am not so certain. Of course additional indicators such as measuring the number of children eating a healthy diet, making sure that children eat less sugar in their diet, increasing fruits and vegetables and increasing physical activity will be extremely important for the success of this plan.  The report indicates that: A. one in every three children (31.7%) ages 2-19 is overweight or obese,  B. that obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States, C. one third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes and D. even more starling that the current generation may be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents. Additional points from the report are the following: Each year obese adults incur an estimated $1429 more in medical expenses than ...

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Mar 24 2010

Graehm Gray: The New National Health Plan-a Boon or Boondoggle?

Congratulation Mr. President on this historic moment-signing a new health care mandate into law-The New National Health Plan. I guess we would consider this on par with the enactment of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Millions of uninsured Americans will now be able to get health coverage. Pre-existing health issues will not prevent Insurers from providing affordable coverage. Small businesses will get tax credits to supply employees with health coverage. There may be a penalty for not carrying health coverage. And taxes will go up on the wealthier Americans. And like every bill signed into law, there are pro’s and con’s. Will we all be pushed into some sort of HMO? Will doctors fee’s be cut so much that we will be seeing an exodus of physicians from the health care program? How high will my taxes go? Will V.I.P./Concierge practices start springing up? Will there be more seats available in Medical Schools as enrollment drops? Will medical school applicants be forced into a Primary Care track? So many unanswered questions? And what about the rifts in Congress? After all, this plan was passed only by Democrats and signed into law. There were no Republicans in support. Well I guess the majority rules, but you would think that maybe, just maybe, something so important would have some bipartisan support? Not here. What does that say ...

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Feb 23 2010

Graehm Gray: Childhood Obesity Definitions – Part Two

Okay, let’s review: what do we know so far? A. We know that obesity is an extra accumulation of fat. B. We know that the problem is coming from an imbalance-more energy in the form of calories (food) coming into the body-our children are eating more and not enough energy (calories) being burned off-not enough exercise. C. We  know that a pediatrician and researcher uses the Body Mass Index (BMI) as a way to identify weight problems in children-a way to measure your child’s weight against other children of the same age and sex and tell us whether he or she is at risk; D. We know that there are lots of consequences from being obese-heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea and psychological problems and finally, E.  We know that President Obama said that 30 percent of our children are either overweight or obese .So what’s next?  Are we all sure we know whether our children are obese or just overweight? And what do we do to solve this problem? Class, let’s continue our journey-now Part two: Overweight vs. Obese: (CDC) These are terms used to classify kids and adults and based on Body Mass Index (BMI-height and weight). BMI for kids and teens takes into account growth changes, differences in body fat between boys and girls. BMI calculator for Child and Teen. So go to your pediatrician’s (or primary ...

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Feb 19 2010

Graehm Gray: Childhood Obesity Definitions – Part One

I guess by now, everyone, everywhere has heard that President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle have placed childhood obesity on the top of their “to get rid of” list. I think its actually ahead of some Republican pundits. Yes, childhood obesity has finally made it to the front page headlines. All of us in the press and academic fields have known for quite a while that our children have been gaining weight at an alarming rate. The President informed us that over 30 percent of our children are either overweight and or obese. We also have known that our children are not exercising as much. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is an imbalance-more calories going in and less calories being burned up. Result: a positive weight gain. Okay-that’s means overweight. But the one item that still needs clarification is: how do I know if my child is overweight or obese? I need to know that definition. So here is a sampling of what I could find out:   Merriam-Webster-doesn’t have a definition of childhood obesity. Their definition of obesity is: a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation of fat in the body (Merriam-Webster) Medilexicon.com-Ideal Body Weight: a weight that is believed to be maximally healthful for a person, based chiefly on height but modified by factors such as gender, age, build, and degree of muscular ...

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