AMERICA'S MOST INACTIVE GENERATION: SADLY, THE CHILDREN

Children must become more physically active and fit in the U.S.!  It really is a national necessity.  That’s the message from PHIT America, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and the late President John F. Kennedy.

PHIT America, the national non-profit cause focused on reversing the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ currently impacting 83 million Americans, is busy implementing programs that are getting children more physically active – before school with AMPED and after school with The PASS.   Also, PHIT America remains committed to furthering the cause of daily P.E. in our schools – for academic achievement reasons.  Sadly, of the 83 million inactive people, 50 million of them are children.  For school-age students, physical inactivity in the U.S. is negatively impacting their academic achievement, overall health, and, believe it or not, military readiness.  The military readiness issue is real and current as roughly 75% of all teenagers in the U.S. are not fit enough to join the military, according to the Pentagon.

In addition, PHIT America applauds the National Youth Sports Strategy which was released by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on September 19.  According to the new federal Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, the minimum goal is for all U.S. children to be given an equal opportunity to be moderately-to-vigorously active at least 60 minutes a day. 

In recent years, PHIT America has uncovered many studies that reveal the important and powerful benefits of a more physically active population.  Clearly, the White House agrees with PHIT America on the importance of children being physically active – on a daily basis.

“We know that when youth are engaged in sports, their life outcomes are more positive and bright,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump.  “They have increased graduation rates, higher wages, greater self-confidence and are better at working with others.  Yet, over the past decade, youth participation in sports has declined.”

Despite all the modern advances in sports gear, athletic footwear, sports apparel, nutrition, workout facilities, and fitness equipment, the U.S. population was more physically fit in early 1960s than it is now. 

What’s unfortunate about this current ‘Inactivity Pandemic’ is that roughly 60 years ago, President Kennedy was well aware of the importance of a physically fit nation.  And, President Kennedy spoke about this issue on many occasions.  He was right then and he would be right today.

“Intelligence and skill can only function at the peak of their capacity when the body is healthy and strong,” declared President Kennedy.  “The physical fitness of our children is a vital prerequisite to America’s realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities.”

Sadly, President Kennedy’s remarks have been overlooked and, largely, forgotten.  And, now, the U.S. population is paying the price.  But that price can be refuted, as physical inactivity, especially with children, is reversible.  It starts with daily P.E. in our schools and is complemented by programs such as AMPED and The PASS.

Fortunately, this fall, PHIT America will continue to do its part to increase physical activity in the U.S. by launching AMPED and The PASS programs in the Pacific Northwest, thanks to the support of the Julia Love Pritt Private Foundation, which is based in Seattle, Washington.  The goal is to get children introduced to being physically active and playing sports….and for them to enjoy the benefits of being physically active.

CALL TO ACTION:  PHIT America is looking for more corporate partners and foundations to support and fund physical activity programs in other parts of the U.S.  Interested parties can contact Jim Baugh -- Jim@PHITAmerica.org.  Additional information on PHIT America can be found at its website:  PHITAmerica.org.

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This is the first in a series of blogs by PHIT America to increase the awareness of the issue of physical inactivity in the U.S. and to stimulate a response from the private sector, foundations, the general public, and any realm of the public sector.