Physical Fitness Takes Priority at White House and at Gallaudet!

Gallaudet baseball coach Curtis Pride and other members of the 2010 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition (see bios below) were sworn in by Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on June 23 at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.

In conjunction with the first lady’s Let’s Move! initiative to end the childhood obesity epidemic, President Obama has broadened the scope of the council, formerly known as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. On Tuesday, June 22, the president signed an executive order outlining the council’s new emphasis on good nutrition and physical fitness.

After they had been sworn in, the council members proceeded to Bell Multicultural High School in Columbia Heights where First Lady Michelle Obama introduced the members and 2010 council co-chairs Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, and Dominique Dawes, three-time Olympian and former U.S. national champion in women’s gymnastics, and led a discussion on the expanded mission of the council. The first lady and council members then participated in a series of activities with the students.

Keeping Americans healthy
The council’s mission is to engage, educate, and empower all Americans to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition. As part of this committee of volunteer citizens, Pride will help advise the president through the secretary of health and human services about opportunities to develop accessible, affordable, and sustainable physical activity, fitness, sports, and nutrition programs for all Americans regardless of age, background, or ability.
Michelle Obama is confident that the council will help make the Let’s Move! program successful. “The council will play an important role in our effort to help combat childhood obesity in this country, and I am grateful to the athletes, chefs, doctors, and nutrition experts who are volunteering their time on the council to help make a difference,” Michelle Obama said.

“It is truly an honor to be appointed to serve on the President’s Council for Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition,” Pride said. “I am extremely excited about working with the other esteemed council members to support the president and first lady’s initiative to promote a healthier lifestyle for children and adults throughout the country.”

An accomplished coach
Pride, who has been deaf since birth, just completed his second season at the helm of the Gallaudet baseball program. He played for six Major League Baseball teams during his career–New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Montreal Expos, and Atlanta Braves–and batted .250, hit 20 home runs, and knocked in 82 RBIs (runs batted in) in over 421 major-league games. Pride is the only council member from the National Collegiate Athletic Association program, and he is the only active coach among the group.

Keeping America active
Part of the council’s role is the get Americans off their couches. “In the past, being healthy wasn’t that hard,” said Michelle Obama. “Today, we have so many distractions. Video games and computers are keeping our kids inside. We are trying to change that now.”
Therefore, in addition to advising the president, the council will promote and maintain the President’s Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards program (also known as the President’s Challenge), which encourages all Americans to include physical activity–30 minutes per day for adults and 60 minutes per day for youth–in their lives.

2010 President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
(Brief bios on each council member)

Drew Brees is the 2009 Super Bowl MVP-winning quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. During Brees’ nine-year career, he has been elected to four Pro Bowls, named the 2004 Comeback Player of the Year, a member of the 2006 All-Pro Team, the 2006 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, the 2008 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and Super Bowl XLIV Champion and MVP.

Dominique Dawes is an Olympic gymnast who competed in three Olympic Games and has a permanent place in the U.S. Olympic Committee Hall of Fame. She was a member of the gold medal-winning team at the 1996 Atlanta Games, where she also won a bronze medal in the floor exercise, becoming the first female African American gymnast to win an individual medal.

Dan Barber is a New York-based chef and co-owner of Blue Hill restaurant, where he features local and sustainably grown foods.

Tedy Bruschi is a former football player who spent 13 years with the NFL’s New England Patriots, claiming three Super Bowl rings.

Carl Edwards is a championship NASCAR driver and currently in the top 10 in overall standings for both the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series.

Allyson Felix is an accomplished Olympic gold medal track and field sprint athlete who helped the U.S. women’s 4×400 meter relay team secure victory in the Beijing 2008 games.

Grant Hill is a professional basketball player with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.

Billie Jean King won 39 Grand Slam singles, doubles, and mixed doubles tennis titles, including a record 20 titles at Wimbledon.

Michelle Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history. She has won five world championships, nine U.S. national championships, and silver and bronze Olympic medals.

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey is the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization devoted to improving health and health care.

Cornell McClellan, the owner of Naturally Fit, Inc., is the fitness consultant and personal trainer for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Dr. Stephen McDonough has worked for 30 years as a pediatrician in North Dakota.

Chris Paul is a professional basketball player and team captain for the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Hornets.

Curtis Pride is the head baseball coach at Gallaudet University and a retired Major League Baseball player. In 1996, as a member of the Detroit Tigers, Pride became the first regular full-season deaf player in the modern history of Major League Baseball.

Donna Richardson Joyner is a fitness instructor who has spent more than 20 years working to educate, empower, and energize children, women, and families about living healthy lifestyles.

Ian Smith is a prominent healthy-living advocate. He is best known for his promotion of the 50 Million Pound Challenge and his contributions to TV and radio programs.

–Sam Atkinson

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