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Everyone has a story - share yours today! We want to know how the President's Challenge has made a difference in your life, school, or community.


Tell us about your personal fitness and nutrition journey:  


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What obstacles did you encounter? How did you overcome them?  


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Top JULY 2012

You have received the July 2012 issue of Fitness is Fun, the official e-mail distribution of the President's Challenge. These monthly e-mails will keep you updated on our programs, activities of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) and other current information pertaining to physical activity, nutrition and fitness.

In this issue...

  • Get Informed: Digital PALA+ badges now available  
  • Get Informed: Move It Movement Tour takes PALA+ across America 
  • Get InformedPCFSN celebrates the 40th anniversary of Title IX   
  • Get Nutritious: Eating healthy not necessarily more expensive
  • Get Inspired: Guest columnist Marjie Gilliam explains the benefits of strength training for children 
  • And more!


President's Challenge News


Digital PALA+ Badges now available

The President's Challenge is proud to offer our online users the ability to obtain a digital PALA+ badge.  In partnership with our advocate Basno,  participants using the online tracking tool of the President's Challenge that earn the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award are now able to show off their accomplishment digitally.  Digital badge owners can use and share badges in Facebook news feeds and as profile images, Twitter timelines and LinkedIN status updates among other ways.  Claim your badge today by visiting



Move It Movement Tour takes PALA+ on the road

In an attempt to get more families moving through sports and physical activity, Cartoon Network has launched their Move It Movement Tour. The tour, which kicked off June 10, is hosting free physical activity expos at 17 locations throughout the United States. At each stop, the tour features a Let's Move booth where kids and their families can sign up to start earning their Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+).


Visit to find out if the tour is coming to an area near you!


Move It Movement & Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Program 2012
Move It Movement & Presidential Active Lifestyle Award Program 2012



PC Advocate sets out to transform New York community

One bike at a time, registered nurse Theresa Bowick hopes to inspire the Conkey Avenue neighborhood in Rochester to stay active and make healthy choices. Bowick is the founder of the Conkey Cruisers Bicycling-to-Better-Health-Voyage, a nonprofit President's Challenge advocate.


Bowick, who lost more than 70 pounds in a quest for better health, runs regularly. One day, her running routine raised an interesting question.


"I came across a young man who yelled out to me, 'Hey lady, are you on probation?,'" Bowick said. While she was initially confused, she later realized the young man had mistaken her healthy workout for an attempt to escape the police.


After this, Bowick set out to create a more positive perception of exercise in the Conkey Avenue area through the Conkey Cruisers program. Reaching out to the community, she has been working to collect donations of bicycles and tricycles for neighborhood residents to use.


The Rochester Police have joined her cause. Together, along with community members of all ages, they will peddle a mile-and-a-half around the new El Camino Trail as a kickoff event for the organization.


To learn more, read the full article, watch the video below or check out the Conkey Cruisers listing on the President's Challenge Advocates page. If you wish to join the group, you can visit the official Conkey Cruisers website.





Starting now and continuing through the Summer Olympics, USA BMX and USA Cycling will offer free racing lessons for kids at more than 350 tracks across the country. This opportunity for kids to get active is made possible by the First Lady's partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Partnership for a Healthier America to connect 1.7 million kids with athletic programming in their communities. To find opportunities to get active locally, go to and type in your zip code.





PALA+ Digital Badge 

Earning a PALA is a big deal. This personalized digital badge - offered in partnership with Basno - lets you share your accomplishment on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media.

We'll send you a link to claim and personalize your badge. Ordering for a group? Follow the link we send you, and then upload members' names and emails so they can claim and personalize their badges.


PRICE: $1.75




For information on how to order the PALA+ Digital Badge or any of our other merchandise, visit our online shopping center.




PCFSN and Other Government News


PCFSN invites you to celebrate 40th anniversary of Title IX

June 23, 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX, legislature that ensured equal opportunities for both males and females in all federally-funded education programs and activities, including athletics. This groundbreaking amendment changed the face of sports for women and girls.


Here is an excerpt from PCFSN Council member Billie Jean King's blog recounting the difference Title IX has made in her life:


Celebrating 40 Years of Title IX: Getting Girls & Women in the Game!

By: Billie Jean King, Social Activist and Member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition


When I was growing up in Long Beach, California in the 1940s and '50s, it never occurred to me that I would not be treated equal to my brother, Randy Moffitt, and would not have the same opportunities as boys to succeed. When I was 12 years old, I promised myself that I would commit my life to fighting for equal rights and opportunities for men and women, boys and girls.


I am a pre-Title IX student athlete. When I attended California State College at Los Angeles in the 1960s we were still a full decade away from the enactment of Title IX. Financial assistance was available for tennis players . . . but only available to the men players. Two of the top men's tennis players of the time were attending college down the road from me. Stan Smith was on a full ride at USC and Arthur Ashe had a full scholarship at UCLA.


Four decades ago on June 23rd, the academic, athletic and professional fields of America were forever changed with the passage of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This was a critical moment in our Nation's history that I, and millions of girls and women like me, will remember and celebrate.


To read Billie Jean's full blog and for more information on Title IX, visit


Share how Title IX has made a difference in your life by sending the PCFSN a tweet: @FitnessGov, and include the hashtag #TitleIXimpact. 



CDC offering Training Tools for Healthy Schools

In recognition of the link between health and academic success, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is offering workshops to help improve school health programming. Designed and delivered by qualified trainers, the workshops include information on the:

  • Healthy Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (HECAT)
  • Physical Education Curriculum Analysis Tool (PECAT)
  • School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (SHG)
  • School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide (SHI)

Workshops are available for anyone who works with school health issues. The CDC pays for the trainers' travel expenses and an honorarium for their time/expertise. The workshop requestors are responsible for funding and coordinating the remaining workshop logistics. The workshops range from four to eight hours in length. For more information, go to



U.S. DHHS to offer grants for improving health of small communities

Through the Community Transformation Grant Program, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced available funding of $70 million to improve the health of small communities across the nation. Grants will be awarded to governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations across a variety of sectors, including transportation, housing, education and public health, in an effort to save lives and control the nation's growing health care costs associated with preventable chronic diseases.


Applicants must specifically demonstrate how they can improve the health of their communities through increasing the availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity and reducing tobacco use and encouraging smoke-free environments. The awards are one-time funding with a two-year project period. Letters of intent are due by July 31, 5 p.m. EDT. Learn more or submit your application today! 



Upcoming Events and Deadlines


2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

July 27

London, England



U.S. DHHS Community Transformation Grants Letter of Intent Deadline

July 31, 5 p.m. EDT

Visit to find out about grant eligibility or apply. You can also learn more about the Community Transformation Grant program by visiting:



APHA 140th Annual Meeting and Expo

October 27 - 31

San Francisco, CA

Learn more. 



National Strategic Summit Roadmap for Physical Activity, Lifestyle and Comparative Effectiveness Research

November 17 (Abstract submission deadline: Sept. 19)

Phoenix, AZ

This conference will be hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine. It will compare physical activity interventions with medical, pharmaceutical, surgical and multi-level/multidisciplinary approaches. Abstract submission opens in June. Learn more. 




Each month, the Get Moving Today Activity Calendar is chock-full of creative ways to get kids (and the adults in their lives!) to move in different ways. Developed by Head Start Body Start Master Trainer, Kristi Mally, the calendar provides fun, innovative suggestions perfect for home or classroom. Download your copy today.


Head Start Body Start (HSBS) provides tools and resources to engage young children in more movement for health. HSBS is a collaboration of the American Association for Physical Activity and Recreation (AAPAR) and the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).







Try This: Instead of a Vacation, Take a "Staycation"


A tip from We Can!

School is out, and summer is here! So why not become an "active tourist" in your hometown this summer? Vacation can be a great way to explore all the activities and attractions your hometown has to offer.  


When planning activities for your family this summer consider:

  • Shopping at your local farmer's market
  • Setting a family challenge, such as tracking the most number of steps taken in a day
  • Making and enjoying healthy and refreshing treats
  • Turning your home into a "staycation" with fun physical activities.


To find out more information about these ideas click here: 


Background on We Can!

Launched in 2005 to address the critical public health issue of childhood obesity, We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition)� is a national education program working through local communities to provide science-based, practical ways for families to help children 8 to 13 years maintain a healthy weight. We Can! involves a collaboration among four Institutes at the National Institutes of Health: The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI); the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK); the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD); and the National Cancer Institute (NCI).


We Can! encourages families to make healthy lifestyle choices, including eating right, moving more and reducing screen time, by offering a variety of science-based resources and flexible programs that are easy to tailor for many different communities and audiences. Visit the We Can! homepage for more information, and look out for content from We Can! in future issues of Fitness is Fun! 


Physical Activity News and Research 

Physical activity motivation differs for men and women

Although "weight loss" is commonly used as a marketing tool to motivate women to exercise, this technique may actually backfire. According to a recent study by the University of Michigan, focusing on "weight loss" and "health" motivates overweight men to exercise, but can lead to decreased motivation and worsened body image for overweight women. Instead, women seemed to respond better to the motivational cue of "daily well-being."


For this study, 1,690 overweight men and women between 40 and 60 years old were asked to read and respond to a one-page advertisement featuring different messages as motivation for exercising. Based on the results, researchers suggest that public health marketing promoting physical activity should be gender-specific to be optimally effective. Read the full article or watch the video below to learn more.




Physical inactivity a global trend

The United States is not the only country struggling with physical inactivity. According to a new study from the University of North Carolina, the shift away from physical activity has also occurred in China, India, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The study examined time-use in each country and found that declines in physical activity are largely attributed to reduced movement at work, at home, in travel and in transportation. Read the article or full study to learn more.




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8 Ways to Eat Healthy

The new version of the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, PALA+, features eight nutritional components in addition to the physical activity requirements. Each month we will feature one of these eight healthy eating goals:


Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese

We've all heard this advice before, but do you really understand why you should consider choosing fat-free or low-fat dairy products? The answer has to do with empty calories from solid fats.


Whole milk and its dairy derivatives contain solid fats. Solid fats can add a lot of calories to foods and beverages, but little or no nutrients. For this reason, calories from solid fats are called "empty calories". By choosing fat-free or low-fat milk-derived products, you can get all the benefits of the dairy food group, but with fewer empty calories.


The USDA recommends that adults consume at least three cups worth of dairy foods or beverages each day. Learn more about the dairy food group at



Nutrition News and Research 

MyPlate celebrates its first anniversary

On June 1, the MyPlate icon celebrated its first birthday. The icon, which replaced the former My Pyramid icon, was created to give a visual depiction of how to put together a healthy plate from the five food groups that are the building blocks of a healthy diet. MyPlate was developed by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, an organization of the USDA.


Visit the MyPlate site at to wish MyPlate a Happy Birthday and learn ways you can host healthy celebrations of your own.



Disney debuts food-marketing standards

The First Lady joined the Walt Disney Company to announce a big win for America's families: Disney has become the first major media company to introduce new standards for food advertising and programming targeting kids and families. All foods marketed on Disney's television and radio channels will be required to meet Disney's nutrition guidelines - which align with federal standards to promote fruit and vegetables and limit calories, sugar, sodium and saturated fat - by 2015. Read the rest of this posting on the Let's Move! Blog.



Eating healthy doesn't have to break the bank

The high cost of eating healthy is often cited as the reason many Americans fail to consume foods that align with the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010. However, a recent report from the Economic Research Service revealed that this is not entirely true.


Many studies measure the cost of foods based on price per calorie. By this measure, healthy foods do often cost more than unhealthy foods (defined for this study as foods that are high in saturated fat, added sugar and/or sodium or that contribute little to meeting dietary recommendations). Yet when the cost of food is measured by the price of edible weight ($/100 edible grams) or the price of an average portion ($/average portion), healthy foods actually "cost" less than unhealthy foods. Read more. 


Help end child hunger during summer

While many children have access to free and reduced food services through their schools, these services are often not available in the summer. To help prevent hunger and maintain nutrition during the summer gap, the USDA has created the Summer Food Service Program. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or opening a site, go to to learn more.



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Guest Column 

by Marjie Gilliam 


Incorporating strength-training for children offers benefits

Marjie Gilliam

Statistics show that nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. All activity counts when it comes to exercise, and both cardiovascular and strength training are important. Although it was once advised that children should not engage in resistance training exercise, we now know that this is untrue. Additionally, the Physical Activity Guidelines recommend children ages 6-17 participate in muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activities at least three days each week. Major health organizations now support children's participation in appropriately designed and competently supervised strength and conditioning training programs. Generally speaking, if a child is able to participate in organized sports or activities, there is no reason to withhold the benefits that strength-training has to offer them. However, in general, younger children should be engaging in a variety of physical activities that help promote muscle and bone health. Examples might include climbing trees, playing tag, swinging on monkey bars or other playground equipment, and gymnastics or swimming.


General youth strength/resistance training guidelines:

  • Experienced qualified instructors and supervision must be provided.
  • Training sessions should begin with a 5 to 10 minute warm-up period.
  • Begin with relatively lightweight loads with focus on proper form and technique.
  • Perform 1 to 3 sets of 6 to 15 repetitions, with a variety of upper and lower body strength exercises to work major muscle groups.
  • Begin with 2 to 3 times per week on nonconsecutive days.
  • Include specific exercises to strengthen the abdominals and lower back.
  • Strength, balance and symmetrical muscular development should be taken into account.
  • Assess and re-assess. Training programs should change from time to time depending on current needs, goals and abilities and to help with motivation.
  • Amount of resistance should be increased gradually (approximately 5 to 10 percent) as strength continues to improve.
  • Cool-down at the end of exercise sessions with less intense exercises such as walking and gentle static stretching.
  • The needs and concerns of each child must be taken into account throughout each session, and individualized workout logs should be utilized to monitor progress.
  • Information should be provided to optimize performance and recovery, including healthy nutrition, proper hydration and the importance of adequate sleep.
  • Support and encouragement from instructors and parents will help maintain interest; strength training should be one part of a total fitness program. The idea is to help children develop a lifelong interest in physical fitness and health.

Children must be mentally and physically ready and able to comply with coaching instructions and undergo the stress of a training program. In general, if a child is ready for participation in sport activities (generally age 7 or 8 years old), then he or she is ready for some type of resistance training. Research has demonstrated that children as young as 6 years of age can benefit from a properly taught and executed weight training program.  Body weight exercises such as squats, push-ups and sit-ups or the use of free weights, weight machines or elastic bands may be used. There are no specific recommendations for maintaining strength gains in preadolescents and adolescents once they have been achieved.  Studies have shown that gains made in strength, muscle size or power are usually lost after 6 weeks, however, if resistance training is discontinued.

Because children are full of energy and may not be focused on the task at hand, their safety should always be a primary concern. Exercise can aggravate certain medical conditions in children such as asthma, diabetes and/or high blood pressure. To be safe, it is advisable to have your child evaluated by a physician before beginning a strength-training program. Any sign of injury or illness occurring once training has begun should also be evaluated before continuing the exercise in question. 


Marjie Gilliam is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist and freelance journalist and has authored thousands of articles devoted to health and wellness. Each month we feature one of her articles.  



Advocate of the Month



basno logo creates digital objects for brands, businesses, designers, competitions, distinctions and groups. Objects that recognize our achievements and skills are some of our most cherished belongings. They commemorate rewarding experiences; they are perfect for moments of personal reflection or sharing memories with others. As we increase our presence online, and as fewer interactions take place at our homes or in our offices, our physical goods are losing relevance, left unseen to gather dust. Free to own and store, readily deployable across profiles, both personal and professional - the digital medal, the digital trophy, the digital certificate will fill this need, going forward and with enhanced effect. Communities formerly unconnected will come together around common ownership. Awards will become more than just something to hang around your neck, instead unlocking exclusive introductions and offerings.    


To institutions, organizers and administrators charged with distributing prizes and certifications, digital objects serve to enhance, not just expand, the presence of your brand across the social web. They preserve the prestige and exclusivity of a given distinction. And that's what is important.

Our Advocates help to increase participation in the President's Challenge and encourage people to lead active, healthy lives. Learn more. 

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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