Official Newsletter of the President's Challenge
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President's Challenge News


Presidential Youth Fitness Program Logo  

Monthly Webinar: Engaging Parents in the Next StepMonthlyWebinar
In our last webinar you learned how to implement health-related fitness programs before and after school. The February webinar will focus on how you can engage parents in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.

Join us February 26, 2013

1:00-2:00 pm EST 


Register Now for Monthly PYFP Webinar  



If you missed any of our previous webinars, you can catch them on the PYFP YouTube Channel! To learn about upcoming webinars, visit Presidential Youth Fitness Program Professional Development.    


Monthly Resource: Parent Resource GuideMonthlyResource


Parents, download your free informational guide to the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, PALA+, FITNESSGRAM, and tips on how to create an active lifestyle for your family.


AAHPERD Convention to Host a PYFP SessionAAHPERD


The American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) convention in Charlotte, NC April 23-27 will host a Presidential Youth Fitness Program presentation at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 24. Representatives from each partner will be available to answer questions about this new program.  

Trek Water Bottle
Stay hydrated and protect your heart! Researchers at Loma Linda University in President's Challenge Trek Water Bottle California found that subjects who drink five or more glasses of water per day have half the risk of fatal coronary heart disease compared with those who drink less than two glasses of water each day. Researchers say when people drink water it is absorbed quickly and easily into the bloodstream and thins the blood -- helping to prevent artery-clogging clots. Other liquids require digestion, which may require fluids to move from the blood into the gut -- creating a blood-thickening effect. It's easy to drink water on the go with this 20-ounce, BPA-free aluminum sports bottle featuring a carabiner clip, screw top, and President's Challenge logo.





For information on how to order the Trek Water Bottle or any of our other merchandise, visit our  online shopping center.   


USDA SuperTrackerSuperTracker


Type any food into Food-A-Pedia to learn its nutritional value-or lack of it. Food Tracker allows you to type in what you eat each day then presents it back to you in easy to understand bar graphs. How you're doing in meeting your daily requirements of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and protein becomes very clear. On the other hand, you won't be able to hide from the Daily Limits bar, which monitors your daily intake of calories, oils, saturated fat, sodium, and empty calories. A person eating 1800 calories a day is only granted 161 empty calories. Pass your limit of beer, pizza, and ice cream and your empty calories show up in red. Pass it up too much and you get a warning sign!
USDA Super Tracker Tomato Bike Wheel


While the President's Challenge will keep you motivated by tracking your progress and giving you awards, the USDA's Supertracker is another set of powerful and fun educational tools to assist with your health goals.




Supertracker allows you to set multiple goals at once--for target weight, activity level, food groups, and nutrients like certain vitamins and dietary fiber. As you enter information about your eating and activity habits, you will get instant feedback in the form of charts and reports. While My Weight Manager and My Top 5 Goals will keep you on track, My Reports will help you view your trends over time. Use the reports to see where you're meeting your goals and identify areas you'd like to work on.


 Celebrating National Girls and Women in Sports DayNGWSD

By Dominique Dawes, Co-Chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition


National Girls and Women in Sports Day Logo

February 6th was National Girls and Women in Sports Day! Each year, this observance provides us with a tremendous opportunity to help get more girls in the game, and make a significant investment in the future of our Nation. I am proud to serve as co-chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and sound the alarm about the importance of ensuring equitable physical activity opportunities for all Americans.


Throughout my life, I have been transformed and inspired by sports. Since the first time I tumbled into a gymnasium at six years old to becoming an Olympic gold medalist, I was motivated and excited by the opportunities presented to me as an athlete and a coach. I owe my participation and success in gymnastics (and so much more) to the passage of Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, which has transformed the lives of millions of girls by granting them greater access to participate in sports.


One amazing example of making this investment is in Daly City, California with the Benjamin Franklin Middle School girls' basketball team. Their coach is 28-year-old Sarah Egan, who in addition to teaching social studies also teaches how to dribble, make layups, and block. The school has mostly low-income students from immigrant families, and Sarah faces significant challenges with her athletes.


In the first season the team didn't win any games. But that's not what Sarah focused on. She told her team, "You're taking baby steps now. But you have it in you to catch up." The next season 80 girls tried out and Sarah began to pick up the intensity. In the third season the team caught up and won their first game. Things only got better from there: they went to the championship finals. While Sarah taught these athletes the rules of the game, they learned more from each other and the game itself.


Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in educational programs. The law applies to all aspects of educational opportunities, but is most known for how it has impacted sports. Title IX requires that schools provide equal opportunities for male and female students to play sports, give male and female athletes equal athletic scholarship dollars, and provide equal benefits and services to athletes overall.


Since 1972, there has been over a 940% increase in sports participation for females in high school and the NCAA reports that there has been a 456% increase in female varsity athletes as well. In addition to the physical health benefits sports participation provides, female athletes are more likely to graduate from high school and have higher self-esteem than non-athletes.


Despite these strides, there are still more hurdles to clear. But with inspirational leaders like First Lady Michelle Obama, who launched Let's Move! to end childhood obesity within a generation three years ago this week, I am confident that we will make even greater strides in the months and years ahead.


The positive impact of girls and women in sports is clear. The investment my family made in me as an athlete has significantly paid off, just like Sarah Egan's has for the girls' basketball team at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. Those girls developed skills and lessons that make them strong, smart, and competitive in all aspects of their lives. I urge you to continue to support the girls and women in your life to participate in sports and see what greater opportunities can be created. By doing this you will be investing in a brighter future for our nation.  


* For more information about National Girls and Women in Sports Day, visit:


* For more on Sarah Egan's story and to read more success stories from the Faces of Title IX series, visit Faces of Title IX site.


  PCFSN Research Digest: Too Much Sitting:ResearchDigest  

Health Risks of Sedentary Behavior and Opportunities for Change


Large volumes of daily sedentary time-i.e., too much sitting-are an integral element of how humans have adapted to our modern-day physical and social environments. In contemporary societies, we sit not only to pursue most of our serious purposes in life, but also to enjoy the majority of our diversions and recreations. Most obviously, we sit in cars to get to and from our places of work; we sit to do much of our work, particularly when using communication technology that has become integral to so many contemporary occupations; and at home, we sit in front of our television sets and when we use other screen-based entertainment and communication devices. Put simply, most of us are likely to move from chair to chair throughout our daily lives. To read more, visit


Let's Move Celebrates Its Third AnniversaryLetsMove

  Let's Move Logo 

First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let's Move! on February 9, 2010 to unite the country around our kids' health and create real support for families to live healthier lives.  Since then we've seen substantial commitments from parents, business leaders, educators, elected officials, military leaders, chefs, physicians, athletes, childcare providers, community and faith leaders, and kids themselves to improve the health of our nation's children. Thanks to these efforts, families now have access to more of the information they need to make healthier decisions for their children. Young people now have more opportunities for physical activity in their communities. Food in schools has been dramatically improved.  And more Americans now have access to healthy, affordable food right in their communities.

Later this month we'll be celebrating Let's Move!'s third anniversary by showcasing progress and announcing new ways the country is coming together around the health of our children. Until then, here's a look back on what the nation has accomplished over the past 3 years. 


Upcoming Events and OpportunitiesEvents  



to find health and fitness related events near you!  


American Diabetes Association Expo 

March 2, 2013

Salt Lake City, UT


This FREE expo includes health screenings, cooking demonstrations, product and service exhibitors, as well as leading experts talking about diabetes management and prevention. Get the latest information on preventing and managing diabetes and its deadly complications to help keep you and your family healthy.


Partnership for a Healthy America Building A Healthier Future Summit 

March 6-8, 2013

Washington, DC


Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which works with the private sector and PHA honorary chairwoman First Lady Michelle Obama to solve the nation's childhood obesity crisis, will bring together more than 1,000 leaders from public, private and non-profit organizations, all committed to solving the childhood obesity crisis in America.


American Diabetes Association Expo

March 9, 2013

New York, NY


This FREE expo includes health screenings, cooking demonstrations, product and service exhibitors, as well as leading experts discussing diabetes management and prevention. Get the latest information on preventing and managing diabetes and its deadly complications to help keep you and your family healthy.


Seattle Bike Expo 

March 9-10, 2013

Seattle, WA


The Expo is the largest consumer bicycle show in the United States with more than 250 booths related to bikes, gear, travel, health and fitness. Bike Expo features a plethora of interesting, informative and entertaining programming for all levels of cyclists. Choose from three stages and presentation areas and a full slate of interactive and fun activities for kids.    


American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Summit and Exposition

March 12-15, 2013 

Las Vegas, NV


Join other students, fitness enthusiasts, personal trainers, and certified professionals at the ACSM's signature fitness conference for a full spectrum of programming from scientific to practical application.


Health and Fitness Expo 

March 22-23, 2013

Dallas, TX


80 exhibitors will offer free samples, showcase the latest in running gear, sports apparel, health & nutritional information.


American Trails International Trails Symposium 

April 14-17, 2013

Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona (near Fountain Hills, Mesa, and Scottsdale)


Share ideas and learn new techniques in trail planning, development, and management. Dozens of speakers and keynote presenters will join us from the trails community across America and beyond our borders to address the broad range of trail issues:


AAHPERD National Convention and Exposition

April 23-27, 2013

Charlotte, NC


Choose from more than 400 sessions featuring world-renowned speakers, honorees, athletes, and researchers at the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.  The AAHPERD convention will be hosting a Presidential Youth Fitness Program (PYFP) session at 1:00 pm on Wednesday, April 24.  Representatives from each partner will be available to answer questions about this new program.


Safe Routes to School National Conference 

August 13-15, 2013

Sacramento, CA


Learn how Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs across the country are changing the habits of an entire generation of school children and their families. Transportation professionals, SRTS advocates, program representatives, elected officials and community members will connect with colleagues to discuss ideas, resources, projects and noteworthy practices to enhance work that is creating more active children and safer communities nationwide.


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GET ACTIVE! Getactive


American Heart Month: Four Ways to Prevent a Heart AttackPreventingHeartAttacks


Dr. Stephen Kopecky, a Mayo Clinic cardiologist, describes the four steps every American should take to prevent a heart attack. These are lifestyle behaviors practiced by only 3% of U.S. adults, but are safer and more effective than heart stents, by-pass surgery, and prescription drugs.





 America Walks Gets Americans Out of their CarsAmericaWalks


America Walks Logo

A recent Australian study published in the
American Journal of Preventative Medicine reports that daily car commuters gain more weight over time than those who commute by walking, biking, or riding public transportation-even if the car commuters exercise. The distinction between the amount of weight gained by non-car and car commuters was most pronounced among those who were considered active in both groups. Researchers concluded that it is important for both exercisers and non-exercisers to avoid prolonged periods of sedentary behavior, such as sitting in a car if they wish to avoid weight gain.


Since 1996, America Walks has been dedicated to getting people out of their cars and walking. The 501(c)3 non-profit organization leads a national coalition of local advocacy groups committed to creating walkable communities. The potential for increased walking in the Unites State is enormous. One quarter of all trips are less than one mile in length, but only a quarter of these are made by walking.


At the Every Body Walk! Conference sponsored by America Walks this past December, US Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD issued a Call to Action on Walking. "We have to stop telling people what they can't do or what they can't eat. We have to tell them what they can do. They can go out for walks. They can go out with their friends."






Improving Blood Pressure and Heart Health by Lowering SodiumSodium


Salt shaker

February is American Heart Month. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that cardiovascular disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. There are many ways to improve your blood pressure and heart health. The Mayo Clinic offers the following tips for reducing your blood pressure. A first step is simply to take stock of how much salt, alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco you are currently using, so that you understand where you are now and where you need to go to improve. More details can be found at the Mayo Clinic website:


        1. Lose weight.
        2. Exercise regularly.
        3. Eat a healthy diet.
        4. Reduce sodium.
        5. Limit alcohol.
        6. Avoid tobacco.
        7. Cut back on caffeine.
        8. Reduce stress.
        9. Monitor your blood pressure.
        10. Get support from family and friends.


The National Institute of Health's National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers easy, concise ideas for reducing sodium. Their Guide for Lowering Blood Pressure also includes quizzes, shopping tips, advice for reading labels, and a list of tasty herb and spice alternatives for a variety of foods. The current recommendation is to limit salt consumption to one teaspoon of salt, or 2300 milligrams per day. For people over 50 and those with high blood pressure, 1500 mg, approximately 2/3 of a teaspoon is recommended.



  1. Buy fresh vegetables, fish, and lean meats, as opposed to canned foods.
  2. Use herbs and spices in place of salt while cooking and at the table.
  3. Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt. Reduce or eliminate instant or flavored rice, pasta, and hot cereal.
  4. Cut back on convenience foods and choose frozen meals with reduced sodium.
  5. Rinse canned foods like tuna and beans to remove excess salt.
  6. When available, buy no-low-or reduced-salt options.
  7. Choose ready-to-eat breakfast cereals that are lower in sodium.
Guest Column

We Can! Quick and Healthy Comfort FoodsWeCan

  We Can--ways to enhance children's activity and nutrition  



If you are like many busy parents, putting together a simple and healthy family meal can be a challenge. Especially during the dark days of winter, it's easy to be tempted by "comfort" foods that may be high in saturated fat, sodium, and calories. However, choosing a few ingredients from your refrigerator, pantry or freezer and tossing them together for a quick and heart healthy meal can be just as comforting. Just in time for American Heart Health Month, We Can! offers these tips to help you get the most out of the ingredients you may already have on hand:


* Toss whole-wheat pasta with broccoli, garlic, canned no-salt-added tomatoes, and white (cannellini) beans. Season with fresh or dried herbs to taste.


* Make an omelet with an assortment of vegetables (such as mushrooms, red peppers, onions, spinach, etc.), and serve with a side of black beans and a small amount of grated cheddar cheese.


* Grill chicken breasts marinated in balsamic vinegar with olive oil. Serve with a spinach salad and brown rice.


* Brown lean ground turkey and mix with low-sodium tomato sauce over whole-wheat pasta. Serve with a green salad and fruit.


* Make a salad with tuna (use water-packed tuna and drain it first), sliced cucumber, black olives, crumbled feta cheese, and a small amount of reduced-calorie vinaigrette. Serve with a side of whole-wheat pita bread.



To learn more cooking tips, visit:



For more heart healthy recipes, visit: 


GET INSPIRED!Getinspired


Participant SpotlightParticipantSpotlight  


CC Minton: Reaching Gold Level Presidential Champion 


CC Minton

My name is CC Minton and I'm here to tell you that the President's Challenge Active Lifestyle Award program (PALA) is so simple to do. It's also simple NOT to do.  I started my fitness journey with PALA in 2004.  I got off to a rocky start but I am now a champion - a GOLD level Presidential Champion!


My biggest challenge was consistency.  I lacked consistency in achieving my 30 minutes per day of activity and I lacked the discipline.  It all boiled down to lack of commitment.


My first choice of activity was to run or even jog for five days per week but that didn't work.  I found every reason in the book as to why I could not go for a walk or run for the day.  The rain, not the right sneakers, I didn't feel like it-the excuses went on and on.  They were all obstacles, at least in my mind.  Once I became conscious of the fact that they were all excuses, I scaled back a bit.   That's what I absolutely love about the PALA program!  I was still on the path to achieving my goal.    

I did simple things like washing the dishes, loading the laundry, mopping the bathroom floor and even yard work in ten minute increments.  This did it for me.  I had established the consistency and my level of consciousness began to increase



I knew I could do it!   After seven months of trying to remain active for a complete six weeks, I achieved my goal.  I ran or jogged five days a week for six WEEKS.  This was a milestone.  But I didn't stop there. I ran in my first 5K helping to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society shortly thereafter.  I wanted to stop along the way.  But the professional runners kept me going.  They'd say, "Don't stop . . . you won't start again. Keep going, you can do it."  Well, I've been running ever since.  To be honest, I can't believe it's been eight years already.  Again, those six weeks of completion were a milestone for me.  I will incorporate fitness into my day for a lifetime.  


So what was my motivation?  As a mom, I wanted my children to experience what I had experienced.  I wanted them to know that adding fitness to your program on a daily basis helps alleviate stress, clears your head; it's  great in stomping out depression, makes you feel great, helps control your weight, keeps your blood pressure in a healthy range - need I say more? I feel so good. People always say, "You have so much energy. You're always so excited."  That's what exercise can do. I also wanted to show my two boys that Mom is taking good care of herself so that she can take good care of them. 


PALA is the best fitness program around.  You don't need money or a car; you don't even have to leave the house.  You incorporate activity into your day and you're on your way to going GOLD or even PLATINUM.


So what's next I will continue to spreadto mothers and others about the President's Challenge.  I am a parent member of my local school district's Wellness Committee.  I look forward to encouraging mothers and their children to stay active and eat healthy. I look forward to having an impact on others who see me running in the rain.  I had a mom who was driving by offer to take me home because it was raining during my run.  I said to her, "I won't melt, but thanks anyway."  I even did an early run before Hurricane Sandy arrived!


We've got to let people know about this program.  It's how I became a professional MOM (Mommy on the Move).  I am committed to an active lifestyle and helping others to do the same.  There's no turning back!  


President's Challenge Advocate of the MonthAdvocate


Girls on the Run 


Girls on the Run Logo   

Girls on the Run is a developmentally focused youth sport program that uses running as a vehicle to influence positive social, cognitive, physical, emotional and psychological assets and development. The program is offered at over 3,200 sites across the United States. Their mission is to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self- respect and healthy living.

The 24 lesson curriculum (75 minute lesson, 2 days a week for 12 weeks) incorporates training for a 5k with lessons that inspire third through eighth grade girls to develop essential life skills. Behavioral and educational objectives of the program that have been evaluated are improved self- esteem, improved commitment to physical activity, increased positive attitude toward exercise, increased motivation to be physically active, awareness of the value of physical activity, satisfaction with body shape and increased days of physical activity per week.  






Future for KidsFutureForKids    


Volunteer to mentor at-risk youth in academics and fitness at the mentoring  programs and sport camps provided by Future for Kids. The organization also offers  internships to help develop future non-profit leaders.






National Senior Health and Fitness DaySeniorFitnessDay


Senior Health and Fitness Day Logo

Sponsor the 20th Annual National Senior Health and Fitness Day on May 29, 2013. Talk to your agency about hosting an event on this day dedicated to keeping older Americans healthy and fit. Organize your senior friends and work towards your Mature Fitness Award.




We hope you enjoyed this month's issue of Fitness is Fun.

As we begin to create our next issue, we would like to hear from you!

We welcome questions or comments regarding current content and are open to suggestions for future topics we should address. Inspiring stories are also appreciated and could become features in upcoming issues. 

E-mail us at


The Fitness is Fun staff

The President's Challenge 


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