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Welcome to the September 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
  • Announcing Presidential Youth Fitness Program  
  • PALA+ Updates Youth Step Requirements as Americans Step Up
  • Product of the Month: PYFP Medal
  • Healthy School Makeover Contest Now Open
  • HHS-ODPHP Offers Eat Healthy Be Active Community Workshops Webinar
  • Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of PCFSN, Receives National Award  
  • U.S. Dept. of Ed Awards $27 Million for Physical and Nutrition Education
  • Dominique Dawes Joins First Lady at Olympics and Let's Move! London
  • Upcoming Events and Opportunities  

Get Active:

  • Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play
  • Experts Advise Playing Games with Pre-School Children to Teach Self-Regulation Skills

 Get Nutritious:  

  • Back to School Healthy Lunch Box Snacks to Pack
Get Inspired
  • Participant Spotlight: Bobcat Wellness Program
  • Guest Column: Back to School Backpack Safety by Marjie Gilliam

Get Involved:   

  • We need you for the participant spotlight!  
GetinformedGET INFORMED!

President's Challenge News


Announcing Launch of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program




It is with great pleasure that we launch the Presidential Youth Fitness Program. The launch of this new program signals a  new era in youth fitness assessment-one that focuses on health over performance. The President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) began recognizing participation in the Youth Fitness Test in 1966. This step represents the first major changes to the test in 25 years. The new program features three key components: 1. Assessment, 2. Professional Development, and 3. Recognition and awards. The Youth Fitness Test, will be phased out during the 2012-13 school year to encourage use of FITNESSGRAM�, which provides a barometer on students' overall health and, when used in conjunction with the other elements of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program, empowers kids and families to become physically active for a lifetime.


PYFP is managed through these partnering organizations:

Educators are invited to join us for a Webinar on September 25th from 1-2 pm EDT to learn more about the new program.
Space is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now.

Register Now

For more information please visit  


PALA+ Updates Youth Step Requirements  

as Americans Walk Their Way to Health   


More than 145 million adults now include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle, a  report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states. That means 6 in 10 people  walk for transportation or for fun, relaxation, or exercise, or for activities such as walking the dog. Walking, outpaced only by running, is the second most logged activity by  PALA+ or Presidential Champions participants, who recorded over 55 million points with those tracking tools.  To encourage  this positive walking trend among younger Americans, a change in requirements for the number of steps required to earn PALA+ went into effect August 1, 2012. This change makes the requirement 12,000 steps for both boys and girls. The 12,000 steps recommendation is based on research equating step counts to minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in youth.

FEATURED PRODUCT OF THE MONTPYFP Patch MedalH:     Presidential Youth Fitness Medal  


This handsome 2.5" x 2" bronze medal,

displayed at the end of a wearable red, white and blue ribbon, is proudly made in the U.S.A..  The award is offered as a way to recognize students who achieve the Healthy Fitness Zone� in 5 out of the 6 events that are a part of the FITNESSGRAM� assessment.


 PRICE: $3.00





For information on how to order the Presidential Youth Fitness Medal or any of our other merchandise, visit our online shopping center.


PCFSN and Other Government News


2012 'Healthy School Makeover' Contest Now Open!



YOUR school could win $45,000 in materials, training, and equipment!


In support of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we've teamed-up with other leading health and physical education organizations to provide a nationwide Healthy School Makeover Contest, with the winner receiving a grand prize worth $45,000 in educational materials, training, and equipment!


Nominate your school by submitting a short video explaining why your school needs a healthy school makeover and how you'll use the Grand Prize award to improve the health of your students. Hall of Fame golfer Annika Sorenstam will present the grand prize to the winning school!


To enter visit


All entries must be received by October 31, 2012.  


 HHS-ODPHP Offers  

Eat Healthy Be Active Community Workshops Webinar


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion is offering a webinar called Eat Healthy Be Active Community Workshops Webinar: Making the Workshop Series a Hit in Your Community


Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET Eat Healthy Be Happy


This webinar will provide:


Tips on how to use the workshops to motivate individuals in your community to eat healthier and engage in regular physical activity  


Firsthand experiences from one pilot site instructor who shares ways she made the workshops a success in her community


Ideas for planning a successful workshop series, improving attendance, and boosting group participation


Presenters are Katrina Butner, PhD, RD, ACSM CES, Physical Activity and Nutrition Advisor, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Sarah D. Burkeet, MAT, CFCS, Senior Extension Agent Family and Consumer Sciences Virginia Cooperative Extension. The webinar will be moderated by Amber L. Mosher, MPH, RD, Prevention Science Fellow, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.


If you would like to teach the Eat Healthy Be Active Community Workshops in your community, please join us for a 1-hour webinar to learn how you can best implement the workshop series!


  Register Now   

 Shellie Pfohl Receives William G. Anderson Award from AAHPERD


Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is a 2012   recipient of the William G. Anderson Award presented by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD). The Award, named for the physical education leader who founded the organization in 1885, recognizes nationally known persons who are not members but who have contributed significantly to the professions represented by the Alliance and reflect its commitment and mission. President Barack Obama appointed Shellie Pfohl to serve as Executive Director of the PCFSN in February 2010.  She is responsible for developing the vision, strategy, and goals of the Council in consultation with its members, for directing the organization's daily operations, and for leading efforts to support First Lady Michelle Obama's national Let's Move! initiative. AAHPERD has awarded no more than three William G. Anderson Awards each year since its creation in 1949. Dr. Mehmet Oz of the Dr. Oz Show also received this award in 2012.


U.S. Department of Education Awards $27 Million  

for Physical and Nutrition Education


The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded 56 grants totaling $27 million to school districts and community organizations to implement comprehensive physical fitness and nutrition programs. The grants support instruction in motor skills that support a lifelong healthy lifestyle and professional development for physical education teachers. Since the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) began in 2001, the department has awarded more than $620 million in funding to expand and improve physical and nutrition education programs across the country for students in kindergarten through high school. "Exercise and good nutrition make for happier, healthier, more attentive and more productive students," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "These grants will help students strengthen their bodies and in so doing, inspire their minds to confront the challenges that face them both inside the classroom and out."


For additional information on the PEP grant program, visit 


Dominique Dawes Joins First Lady  

at Olympics and Let's Move! London


Dominique Dawes, the 1996 gymnastics gold medalist, joined First Lady Michelle Obama in the official Presidential delegation to the London Olympics and at Let's Move! London. She shared some of her thoughts about the event,


"We're back from London, where First Lady Michelle Obama and members of Team USA past and present joined American military children and American and British students at Let's Move! London. To get in the spirit of the Olympic Games, we got moving with a variety of activities, including a great game of tug of war that pitted the First Lady against some of our best athletes! It was a spectacular event to educate and empower young kids and their parents on the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. I'm always thrilled to be part of these types of events, because I know they're planting a seed to change peoples' lives in a positive way."


Get a close-up look of the activities at Let's Move! London!

Let's Move! London
Let's Move! London



Upcoming Events and Opportunities


GenYouth Foundation Nutrition + Physical Activity Learning Connection Summit

September 18-19, 2012

Arlington, VA


Thought leaders and decision-makers in education, health and wellness, academia, government, philanthropy, and business will convene to explore the connection that physical activity and nutrition have to learning and behavior. Discussions will examine barriers and opportunities for schools to set and achieve wellness policies and practices.


Fuel Up To Play 60 Funds Available  



Up to $4,000 per year is available to any qualifying K-12 school enrolled in Fuel Up to Play 60. Registration is easy. The competitive, nationwide funding program can help your school jump start and sustain healthy nutrition and physical activity improvements.


Walk to School Day / International Walk to School Month

October 3, 2012


This simple one-day event continues to lead to great changes such as long-term walking and bicycling programs, new sidewalks and pathways, enforcement of laws designed to prohibit unsafe driving behaviors and needed policy changes at schools and in communities. Through these events, city officials have an opportunity to walk or bicycle to school with students and learn firsthand what needs to be done to create safer, more accessible routes by which children can actively commute to and from school.


FREE Half-Day PE2020 Workshop at National Physical Education Teacher Education (PETE) Conference 

October 3 / October 3-6, 2012

Las Vegas, NV


The workshop will present progress on the PE2020 initiatives proposed to the NASPE Board following the San Diego convention. Participants will discuss initiatives, share examples of innovative new ideas, and offer suggestions for moving physical education forward.


Food Day

October 24, 2012


A nationwide celebration and a movement for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food


APHA 140th Annual Meeting & Expo  

October 27-31, 2012

San Francisco, CA


The oldest and largest gathering of public health professionals in the world addresses current and emerging health science, policy, and practice issues in an effort to prevent disease and promote health.


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

November 17, 2012 (Abstract submission deadline: Sept. 19)

Phoenix, AZ


This conference, hosted by the American College of Sports Medicine will compare physical activity interventions with medical, pharmaceutical, surgical and multi-level/multi-disciplinary approaches.    

GetactiveGET ACTIVE! 




Nickelodeon's Worldwide Day of Play


Saturday October 6th, Nickelodeon will present its 9th annual Worldwide Day of Play, a full day dedicated to healthy and active play. Nickelodeon will go dark, turning off all programming for the afternoon, to inspire kids to get out and be active. In honor of Worldwide Day of Play, thousands of local schools, communities and organizations are hosting their own play day events. Nickelodeon

How to Join the Worldwide Day of Play Movement:


1. Plan A Local Worldwide Day of Play Event

  • Events can be any activity that gets kids moving on or around October 6th. How about a soccer game, an extended recess or a nature hike?
  • Download event planning resources including the Playbook planning guide, permission slips, posters, certificates of participation and more on
  • Register events on to receive giveaways and have your town, organization or school's name scrolled on Nickelodeon on Worldwide Day of Play!

2. Enter The Big Help I Wanna Play! Sweepstakes

Looking for play funding? Enter The Big Help I Wanna Play! Giveaway where kids nominate their school to win a custom Nickelodeon Playground worth over $100,000 or $10,000 to help enhance a play project. Enter at


3. Upload How You Play!


All summer long, kids and partners can upload photos and videos on how they are active and healthy via user generated content tool.


Physical Activity News and Research

Back to School Tips from Childhood Development Experts:  

Play Games with Children to Teach Self-Regulation Skills  

and Improve School Success

A record number of American kids are being expelled from preschool, limiting their chances of success when they enter a full-day classroom. According to Oregon State University's Megan McClelland, a leading researcher in the field of early childhood development and an associate professor of human development and family sciences, parents can prepare their kids now by playing games that help their children develop better self-regulation skills. "School is a much more structured situation than many children have had before," she said. "The key is to get them into a routine and to start setting a schedule." McClelland's own research shows that a child's ability to self-regulate as early as preschool can predict academic achievements in math and language in much later years. The best games for a parent to practice with their child are ones where they have to stop, think, and act, McClelland said. Some games McClelland recommends for parents to try with children: Red Light, Green Light: One child is the stoplight; the others are the cars. When the stoplight says "Green light," the children run toward the streetlight. When the stoplight says, "Red light," the children must stop. Dance: Start by having children dance slowly to slow music. Then have them dance fast to fast music. Then tell them to "stop." Then tell them to dance slowly to fast music, and vice versa. Simon Says is another common childhood game that teaches self-regulation. Read the entire article here:




Here are two easy, tasty, and inexpensive recipes for healthy high-fiber snacks that your children can help prepare. Grown-ups and children will enjoy packing them for lunch. The directions for both recipes are very similar; the chickpeas just take a hotter oven and a little more time. Watch the clock the first couple of times you make the recipes to learn the timing that's best for your oven. The crispy crunch of both snacks is so satisfying that after you make them once, you'll probably want to double the recipes the next time around.



  • I large bunch Kale
  • 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil Crispy Kale
  • Salt or Cajun seasoning to taste

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

2. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2 in. pieces

3. Dry kale well with a salad spinner or towel.

4. Toss with olive oil.

5. Spread kale pieces on baking sheet; bake for a total of 10-15 minutes until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through.

6. Add a little salt and seasoning to taste. Do not add salt ahead of time or you'll have soggy kale.

7. Keep sealed in an air-tight container.


Kale provides fiber, iron, calcium, antioxidants, and vitamins K, A, & C. A large bunch of kale costs $1-$1.50, making each serving only .20-.40 each.




  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and spice blend of your choice to taste. Search the web for many yummy ideas.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

3. Pat chickpeas dry with a towel.

4. Combine chickpeas and olive oil to fully coat.

5. Spread chickpeas on baking sheet; bake for 30 minutes, tossing 2-3 times.

6. Add a little salt and seasoning to taste.


Chickpeas provide fiber, protein, molybdenum, folic acid, and manganese. At .65-$1 per can, servings are only .30-.50 each.  



GetinspiredGET INSPIRED!


Participant Spotlight


Bristol Bobcat Wellness Program


Bristol Elementary School Carol Spaid, a dance, physical and wellness educator at Bristol Elementary in Vermont, designed a wellness program for her students in concert with PALA+ Award.  Students earned one raffle ticket towards produce and sporting goods for each week they meet their activity goals, so the longer they participated, the greater their chance of winning. The details of her program are below if you would like to adapt it for your school:


She attached an  active lifestyle log from the President's Challenge site to a letter to parents describing the program. Her letter read:

  • Physical Activity -Your child will set a goal to be active for 60 minutes a day at least 5 days a week, or to count daily activity steps using a pedometer (12,000 steps required). Physical Education and Recess will count. Record on week log.
  • Healthy Eating - Pick one healthy nutrition goal for the week on log.
  • Every Monday cut out the week's raffle log ticket and send it to school with your child. Your child will bring the ticket to Physical Education. On Friday the two winners of the weekly $10 produce gift certificates will be announced.
  • If your child completes 6 out of 8 weeks she or he is eligible for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award in May.
  • Your child may choose to participate for another 8 weeks beginning on March 12th and ending May 7th.
  • Two grand prizes of $250 and two $50 bike/sporting good gift certificates will be drawn on Thursday, May 10, 2012.Bristol_Bobcat

Carol estimates that she spent a total of 62 hours preparing, promoting, and  running the program, 12 up front in research, public relations with local businesses, and printing materials, and 2 � hours a week for 20 weeks managing public relations and the students' log sheets and raffle tickets. She received EPSDT (Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment Program) funding to cover her time and $1000 worth of incentive prizes, two $10 produce coupons per week for twenty weeks, two $250 gift certificates and two $50 gift certificates for bikes or other sporting goods. Additional donations of prizes were also accepted by local businesses.



MGHome Guest Column: Back to School Backpack Safety Tips by Marjie Gilliam


It's back to school time, which for many students, means wearing a backpack. While a backpack makes a convenient storage place for books and school supplies, it can put strain on the spinal column if overloaded or worn improperly. With back pain being the most common ailment among American adults, it is important to take steps to correct our children's backpack issues. 


Students adapt to an overloaded backpack by adjusting their posture. Notable changes in posture will occur when a backpack weighs more than 15% of the student's body weight. Changes include excessive forward tilting of head, arching the back, bending too far forward, or leaning to one side. These postural changes can create spinal misalignment, which in turn hampers functioning of shock-absorbing disks. A backpack load that is too heavy also results in excess stress on muscles and soft tissues, causing them to work harder, leading to strain and fatigue. The neck, shoulders, and back become especially vulnerable to injury. Parents can learn to look for signs that their child's backpack is too heavy. These include changes in posture, struggling when trying to put on or take off the backpack, complaints of pain when wearing the backpack, tingling or numbness in the arms and/or legs, or red marks on the shoulders.


Although not as significantly impacted as younger students, one study found that college-aged students were also affected by disproportionate weight and improper use of backpacks. These tips are good for backpack users of all ages:


Wear both shoulder straps. Using single-strap backpacks or just one of two straps creates a situation where one side of the body bears the weight and stress of the backpack. By wearing two shoulder straps, the load is better distributed, which helps to lessen stress on the spinal column and keep it better aligned.


Adjust the shoulder straps. Putting on and removing a backpack should not be a struggle. It is important to keep the trunk of your body stable and to avoid excessive twisting or rounding of the back. Straps should provide ease of movement, but avoid loosening them too much. Keep in mind that the backpack should not extend below the lower back.  Ideally, it should rest evenly in the middle of the back, over the strongest muscles.


Lighten the load. It is tempting to put too many items in a backpack in order to free up the arms and hands. A good rule of thumb is to keep the weight of the backpack at 10 to 15% or less of the person's body weight. Decide what materials are really necessary, and carry only what is needed for that day. Take a quick look at the end of the day and remove items that are no longer needed. To reduce stress on the postural muscles, place the heaviest items closest to the back.  These days, tapes and CDs often replace full textbooks, so use them whenever possible.


Select ergonomic and safety features. Look for those with some padding to reduce pressure on the back, shoulders, and underarm regions, and hip and chest belts to transfer some of the weight from the back and shoulders to the hips and torso.  Multiple compartments help to better distribute the weight, keep items secure, and provide easier access to the contents.  Backpacks with reflective material enhance your visibility to drivers after dark.


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