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 Home > News & Policies > Policies in Focus

Healthier US

President George W. Bush starts the 3 mile run while Mrs. Bush, number 2, starts the 1.5 mile walk at Ft. McNair as part of the President's Fitness Challenge on Saturday June 21, 2002. White House photo by Paul Morse.
President George W. Bush starts the 3 mile run while Mrs. Bush, number 2, starts the 1.5 mile walk at Ft. McNair as part of the President's Fitness Challenge on Saturday June 21, 2002. White House photo by Paul Morse.

President Bush's Healthier US Initiative

On July 18, 2003, President Bush visited the Lakewest Family YMCA in Dallas, Texas to highlight his HealthierUS initiative designed to help Americans, especially children, live longer, better, and healthier lives. The President's HealthierUS initiative helps Americans take steps to improve personal health and fitness and encourages all Americans to:

  • Be physically active every day;
  • Eat a nutritious diet;
  • Get preventive screenings;
  • and Make healthy choices.

The President was joined by members of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, including football legend Lynn Swann, Chair of the Council; and Olympic softball gold medalist and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dot Richardson, Vice Chair of the Council. The Council promotes the President's message on fitness and health to Americans of all ages and unveiled a new tool for Americans to use to increase personal fitness and become healthier. The new Presidential fitness challenge is easy to start and individuals can track weekly fitness activities at the website .

Background on Today's Presidential Action

The four keys for a healthier America:

    Photo of foot peddling a bicycle.

  • Be Physically Active Every Day - Many chronic diseases can be prevented with modest exercise, in some cases as simple as walking for half an hour. For example, if just 10% of adults began walking regularly, America could save $5.6 billion in costs related to heart disease.

    Photo of fruits and vegetables.

  • Eat a Nutritious Diet - Americans should make simple adjustments to their diet and avoid excessive portions. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is a central part of a healthier diet, and good overall nutrition lowers the risk of getting heart disease, stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.

    Photo of blood pressure equipment.

  • Get Preventive Screenings - Americans may be surprised to learn how a simple test like a cholesterol screen or a blood pressure check can reveal current health status and identify a need to adjust diet or behavior.
  • Make Healthy Choices - Avoid tobacco and drugs as well as the abuse and underage use of alcohol and make smart and safe choices in your everyday life.

Photo of Bike Crossing Sign. Steps to a HealthierUS
Obesity, diabetes, and asthma are some of the most prevalent and costly chronic health problems facing the nation. Increased exercise and better nutrition are simple measures that can prevent or delay many chronic diseases. The Steps to a HealthierUS program will fund innovative community-based programs that seek to adopt proven measures to reduce the burden of obesity, diabetes, and asthma-related complications, with a particular focus on youth. The President's 2004 budget requests $125 million for Steps to a HealthierUS.

The President's Challenge -
Over the past year, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has worked to create a new, more widely accessible President's Challenge awards program. The Council has set the goal of attracting an additional 20 million Americans to physical fitness and exercise. Using, the new President's Challenge allows individuals to track weekly fitness activities, and receive Presidential fitness awards for achieving defined fitness goals.

Speeches and News Releases
February 5, 2004
Mrs. Bush Speaks to Women about Heart Disease
July 18, 2003
President Bush Highlights Health and Fitness Initiative
President George W. Bush joins children from Lakewest Family YMCA on stage after speaking on his Health and Fitness Initiative in Dallas, Texas, Friday, July 18, 2003. White House photo by Eric Draper.
June 22, 2002
Remarks by the President at Fitness Challenge
President George W. Bush competes in the 3 mile run as part of The President's Fitness Challenge at Ft. McNair on Saturday June 21, 2002. White House photo by Paul Morse.
June 22, 2002
Radio Address by the President to the Nation
June 21, 2002
President Promotes Physical Fitness to Senior Citizens
Accompanied by the Governor of Florida, his brother Jeb Bush, President George W. Bush visits senior citizens participating in an aerobic "spinning class" at the Marks street Senior Recreation Complex in Orlando, Fla., Friday, June 21, 2002. White House photo by Tina Hager.
More News »
  Executive Summary
  Table of Contents
  President's Council on Physical Fitness & Sports
  PDF Document Healthier US (118kb)
  Executive Order: Activities to Promote Personal Fitness
  Executive Order on President's Council
  President Appoints 20 to Physical Fitness Council
June 20, 2002
Interview with Lynn Swan

watch Video
Lynn Swan discusses the importance of staying fit
More Video »
Related Links
  Health and Human Services Department
  National Institutes of Health

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