Out of Annapolis
last week came news that should make the children of America—and their
parents—perk up their TV-jaded ears—and possibly even move a sedentary muscle
or two. In a meeting of the President's Conference on the Fitness of American
Youth, 140 conferees concluded that the declining state of American children's
muscles is a present danger and that quick—and presumably enjoyable—action is
imperative to prevent the next generation from being unable to move at all.
conference chaired by Vice-President Nixon had political overtones, it resulted
in independent and concrete action.
In addition to
specific recommendations to combat youth's unfitness the conference called for
the organization of a fitness group within the government, plus a citizens'
group to work with the federal one. President Eisenhower, from his hospital
bed, promptly responded by promising to create 1) a Council on Youth Fitness at
the Cabinet level to give top priority "to this most important field and to
better coordinate the activities of some 35 federal agencies," and 2) a
Citizens Advisory Committee on the Fitness of American Youth composed of key
citizens in fields appropriate to fitness, "to examine and explore the
facts and thereafter to alert America on what can and should be done."
recommendations, as summarized by Dr. Samuel M. Brownell, U.S. Commissioner of
Education; Mrs. Rollin Brown, president of the national PTA; Dr. W. W. Bauer of
the American Medical Association; and Kenneth L. (Tug) Wilson, president of the
U.S. Olympic Committee, were:
means mental, spiritual and physical fitness.
?The public must
be made aware of the problem of establishing and maintaining fitness.
?Fitness must be
popularized and promoted among children.
fitness is needed to decide what kind, how much, etc.
programs should include agencies already in the field ( Boy Scouts, YMCA,
come from private industry, foundations, community chests and a greater share
of the tax dollar allocated to community recreation.