I suppose everybody believes in physical fitness. And, clearly, many people are doing something about it. But few are doing the same thing—for there is considerable disagreement as to what physical fitness actually is.
To bring the subject up to date and untangle some of the confusion around it, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in this issue presents the findings from its nationwide survey of activity and, in some cases, lack of it, on behalf of physical fitness during the past two years. These are the years since President Eisenhower, alarmed by the results of the Kraus-Prudden study on fitness in our children (SI, Aug. 15, 1955), spotlighted the problem by means of a White House luncheon. One year ago an Executive Order established the President's Council on Youth Fitness; one month ago 119 members were named to the President's Citizens Advisory Committee.
The steps are logical ones aimed at the solution of what is admittedly a vast and complex problem; but their pace has been slow, marked by intermissions which at times suggested that the whole thing was about to be filed in a time capsule.
Ultimate solution must take the form of community and individual action. The series of weekly illustrated physical fitness lessons developed by Bonnie Prudden, which begins this week in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, represents action which individuals may start taking at once.
At the National Convention of the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce in Milwaukee last June, our assistant publisher, Richard Neale, proposed a competition in which the Jaycees could join with SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to create the kind of program which eventually can serve, on a national scale, as a model for community action. (Shown here: Vice-President Nixon congratulating Neale on his proposal.) As a result, as part of nationally designated Youth Fitness Week, from Aug. 5 through Aug. 10, individual Jaycee chapters all over the country, working with local health, sport and education officials, will put into effect their own specially drafted programs of youth fitness activities.
Later this month, a board of judges consisting of Charles E. Shearer, National Jaycee President; SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S Managing Editor Sidney L. James; Dr. Shane MacCarthy, Executive Director of the President's Council; Bonnie Prudden; and sports notables Bobby Jones, Phil Rizzuto, Otto Graham, Gene Tunney, Jesse Owens and Maureen Connolly will name the four winning Jaycee chapters.