Be Active Your Way Blog
Shellie Pfohl has spent her career focusing on teaming government with nonprofits and the private sector and as Executive Director of the PCFSN, she manages the activities and operations of the President's Council, an advisory committee to the President and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Written by Dominique Dawes, Co-Chair of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN)
Originally posted on the PCFSN Blog, in honor of the February 6 observance of National Girls & 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% i
ncrease 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: http://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/en/home/advocate/ngwsd/ngwsd
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: http://www.nwlc.org/title-ix/
Tags: physical activity, national health observance, women in sports, female athletes
Barriers | Events | Policy | Schools
Guest post by Drew Brees and Dominique Dawes, Co-Chairs of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is the perfect time for children and families to get outside and play together! You don't have to do back flips in the Olympics or throw a football 40 yards down the field to be active and break a sweat. Whether you ride your bike to work or school, or chase after your dog in the park, physical activity can be fun - and it helps you feel good too.
President Barack Obama issues a proclamation during May National Physical Fitness and Sports Month. In that proclamation, he calls on all Americans to make daily physical activity, sports participation and good nutrition a priority in their lives.
You've probably heard that today in America, one third of all children and two-thirds of all adults are overweight or obese. We know that physical activity can help build lean muscle, reduce fat, and promote strong bone, muscle and joint development. So what are you waiting for? Through her Let's Move! initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama has formed a coalition of supporters including community and faith-based organizations, schools and childcare centers, local governments, and corporations to help end childhood obesity within a generation.
This time of year in most parts of the country, the weather makes it easy to explore America's great outdoors. So the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition is challenging everyone to pick up a new activity or sport, and help guide your loved ones and neighbors to better health!
Did you know that May is also Older Americans Month? It's never too early - or too late - to lead a healthy lifestyle. We want Americans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to set new physical activity and healthy eating goals, and track your progress online while earning a Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+). That's right - you can actually receive presidential recognition by improving your health. What more motivation do you need to get fit?
As the First Lady often says, we want to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and PALA+ is the easy choice to jumpstart or maintain a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't matter how old you are or where you live... anyone can participate in PALA+. The physical activity requirements are 60 minutes a day for kids (30 minutes a day for adults), five days a week for six weeks. You should also add a weekly health eating goal each week and build on those goals throughout the same six weeks.
So what are you waiting for? Earn your PALA+ today, and follow us on Twitter @FitnessGov for tips to stay motivated throughout the month!
Tags: Physical Fitness and Sports Month, health observance, play outside, PALA+
Active Advice | Building Healthy Communities | Playing Outside
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, a designation bestowed since 1983 and celebrated by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN). Organizations including schools, public health agencies, and worksites celebrate the month to promote awareness of the value of physical activity in pursuit of happier, healthier, more productive lives. Celebrations and recognition weeks and days throughout May target specific activities or populations, such as:
May 1-7—National Physical Education and Sport Week
May 9-13—National Women's Health Week
May 18—National Employee Health and Fitness Day
May 16-20—National Bike to Work Week
May 20—Bike to Work Day
The PCFSN kicked off its celebration of the month on Monday, May 9th, at the White House. PCFSN members joined the First Lady on the South Lawn to announce a partnership between the Council, Let’s Move!, Joining Forces, the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE) that will provide free fitness club memberships and personal training sessions to immediate family members of actively deployed reservists and National Guard members.
Following the announcement, Council members led a South Lawn Series event for families of National Guard members and reservists who were in attendance for the announcement. The First Lady kicked off the fun, participating with the members and day’s honorees in a series of stations that included an obstacle course, dance and ball toss stations among others.
On Tuesday, May 10th, Council members gathered again for an open meeting. Approximately 120 people came to hear about the Council members’ activities. The afternoon featured presentations from individuals making a difference in physical education and school-based physical activity opportunities in their communities.
After the meeting adjourned, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the board members of the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. The Foundation was Congressionally‐chartered in December to help cultivate private sector partnerships and funding for key programs and initiatives of PCFSN.
Such activities may include special initiatives, such as the Million PALA Challenge. Launched last September, promotion and participation in the Million PALA Challenge is picking up steam as President’s Challenge advocates continue to roll out the initiative to their constituents and members.
The month of May presents the perfect opportunity for kids and adults across the country to make their commitment to be regularly active. Sign up at www.millionpalachallenge.org to take on the President’s Challenge and learn to be active your way.
What are you doing this month to help get America moving?
Tags: Physical Activity Month, celebrating, fitness, South Lawn Series, PALA challenge
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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