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Policy Corner: New Focus for President's Council

Proponents of physical activity and exercise paid close attention June 23 as First Lady Michelle Obama presented the Administrationís long-awaited appointees to the Presidentís Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In an event at a Washington, D.C. high school, Mrs. Obama also announced a new focus for the Council, now known as the Presidentís Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

As a White House news release explains, the change reflects the Administrationís emphasis on combating childhood obesity, embodied in the First Ladyís Letís Move! initiative. Prior to the announcement, President Obama signed an executive order adding the phrase ďand good nutritionĒ to language laying out the Councilís mandate. Answering to the secretary of Health and Human Services, the Council is to ďdevelop and coordinate a national program to enhance physical activity, fitness, sports participation, and good nutrition.Ē

Shellie Pfohl, executive director of the Council, attended the announcement, as did three-time Olympian and former U.S. national champion gymnast Dominique Dawes. Dawes will co-chair the Council along with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Sixteen other members were announced, including celebrities such as Billie Jean King (tennis), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Ted Bruschi (NFL) and Michelle Kwan (skating), among others. The appointment of chef Dan Barber signals the Councilís expanded emphasis. The Council is authorized for up to 25 members. Future appointments might include researchers, clinicians or educators who could clarify issues relating to energy balance reinforce the importance of physical activity in achieving and maintaining good health.

The American College of Sports Medicine is a science partner of the Presidentís Council. As part of that relationship, ACSM has recruited members to serve as state-level volunteer Demonstration Center Coordinators, helping to recognize model physical education classes and curricula.


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