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American Heart Association Teams Up With the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating

DALLAS, March 28 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association has been designated as a "science partner" of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports to encourage Americans to get physically active and make healthy food choices. The partnership is intended to promote healthy lifestyles and behaviors to address the nation's obesity epidemic and reduce risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

About two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese including more than nine million children who are considered overweight. Physical inactivity significantly increases the risk for heart disease and stroke, the nation's No. 1 and 3 killers respectively. As part of the collaboration, the Council and association will support programs and activities managed by each to make physical activity and healthy diets a priority for all Americans.

"This partnership will allow us to share evidence-based recommendations on obesity and physical activity with more Americans as they strive to adopt healthy lifestyles," said Daniel W. Jones, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. "The obesity epidemic is reason enough to get off the couch and keep moving as a way to reduce your risk for cardiovascular diseases."

"The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports is delighted to have the American Heart Association as our newest science partner," said Melissa Johnson, executive director of the President's Council. "We know that working together, the PCPFS and the AHA can make great strides in spreading the critical messages to all Americans that increased physical activity and eating a healthy diet are key ingredients to an overall healthy lifestyle."

The Council's 2008 National President's challenge began March 20. The six-week program is an opportunity for Americans to become physically active and track their progress online. Participants record their physical activity opportunities five days each week on their own Personal Activity Log. Organizations, schools, and employers will also get involved -- the goal is to recruit one million individuals across the nation. The top five governors with the greatest participation in their states will be recognized by the Council.

The association will support the President's Challenge and related activities through science, policy initiatives and consumer awareness programs such as Start!, the American Heart Association's groundbreaking national movement that calls on all Americans and their employers to create a culture of physical activity and health to live longer, heart-healthy lives through walking. Start! offers free physical activity, nutrition and other health information integrated within a single online resource. It also offers resources for employers to implement a walking program in the workplace and track employees' progress in the program.

To combat the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in 2005 to create the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Increased physical activity is a major emphasis of the program. For more information, please visit

For more information about the American Heart Association as well as heart and stroke, visit

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year. In fiscal year 2006-07 the association invested more than $554 million in research, professional and public education, advocacy and community service programs to help all Americans live longer, healthier lives. To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

About the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) is an advisory committee of volunteer citizens who advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services about physical activity, fitness and sports in America. The Office of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is the HHS office containing the PCPFS Executive Director and support staff. Through its programs and partnerships with the public, private and nonprofit sectors, the Office of the PCPFS serves as a catalyst to promote health, physical activity, fitness and enjoyment for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities through participation in physical activity and sports. For more information about PCPFS please visit

SOURCE American Heart Association
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