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Announcing New Steps to Improve Physical Fitness for Americans - June 23, 2000

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Friday, June 23, 2000

June 23, 2000

"The Olympics work pretty much the way we think life ought to work: everybody gets an opportunity to play. People get a chance to do their best, and also to bring out the best in one another. And everybody, including those that don't win medals, is better off for having tried."

President Bill Clinton
Friday, June 23, 2000

Today, in Chula Vista, California, President Clinton commemmorated "Olympic Day" by touring the U.S.Olympic Training Center and encouraging U.S. athletes as they train for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. The President announced three new steps to help all Americans strive to achieve their full potential. First, the President issued an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination in federally conducted education and training programs. Second, he directed the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services to devise new strategies to encourage more young people to become and remain physically active. Finally, he urged Congress to work with his Administration to establish a foundation to further the mission of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

SALUTING AMERICAN ATHLETES ON OLYMPIC DAY. Today marks the 106th anniversary of Olympic Day- the founding of the modern Olympic games. During his tour of the center, the President met with athletes training for the 2000 Olympic Games to be held in Sydney, Australia later this year. Approximately 600 top athletes will represent the U.S., constituting the largest visiting delegation to attend this year's games.

ENSURING EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL. To commemorate the anniversary of Title IX, the President today issued an Executive Order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, disability, religion, age, sexual orientation, or status as a parent in educational or training programs offered by the federal government. This Executive Order will ensure that the federal government holds itself to the same principles of non-discrimination in educational opportunities that it applies to the education programs and activities of state and local governments and private institutions receiving federal financial assistance.

PROMOTING PHYSICAL FITNESS. Low physical activity - among children as well as adults - represents one of the leading health risk factors facing the U.S. population, contributing to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, colon cancer and diabetes. The percentage of high school students enrolled in daily physical education classes has declined more than 30 percent between 1991 and 1999. Meanwhile, the percentage of young people who are overweight has doubled in the same time period. To help address these issues, the President issued an Executive Memorandum directing the Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Services to work with the U.S. Olympic Committee and others to promote physical education, activity, and fitness among America's youth. The Secretaries will report back in 90 days with new strategies to:

  • broaden physical education in our schools and expand after-school programs offering physical activities in addition to academic and cultural activities;
  • encourage more participation by private-sector partners; and
  • increase coordination of existing public and private resources.

These strategies will help communities around the nation follow the new Dietary Guideline recommending that adults and children get at least 30 minutes of daily physical activity. The President recently announced these guidelines in conjunction with the National Nutrition Summit.

PROMOTING PRIVATE-SECTOR INVOLVEMENT IN BOOSTING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The President offered his Administration's support for working with Congress to establish a privately funded, not-for-profit foundation that would enlist additional private-sector participation to further the mission of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, with a special emphasis on physical activity among youth.

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