At West Point next Monday the 119 members of the President's Citizens Advisory Committee for Fitness will gather together for the first time. They will meet against the background of one of the most successful physical fitness programs anywhere, a program designed to insure top condition for Army cadets. Despite its success, and for reasons which Dorothy Stull explains in her article on West Point in this issue, even the Military Academy is concerned about the over-all problem of physical fitness.
If there were ever any question about the depth of interest in the subject over the rest of the country, it has been dispelled, for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED at least, by an unprecedented response to both our nationwide fitness report in the August 5 issue and Bonnie Prudden's continuing series of exercises.
SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has heard from community leaders from California to the Carolinas who want help in establishing fitness clinics. Heads of physical education departments of large universities, coaches, high school teachers and radio and TV broadcasters have all written to ask for the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED material for use in their professional work, in many cases to teach teachers. Already we have received requests for more than 10,000 reprints of the articles. And many members of the President's Advisory Committee have told us that a careful study of the articles is a basic part of their preparation for next week's West Point meeting.
But perhaps most significant of all, in the long run, is the response from women, who are tackling the problem as a matter of direct and personal importance to their children, their husbands—and themselves. One reaction seems to be summed up pretty well in a letter from a member of the fair sex in Grand Rapids. Determined to be even fairer, she has enthusiastically embarked on Bonnie Prudden's regime of sit-ups, torso twists, hamstring stretches, knee-to-nose kicks and pelvic tilts, supine. "I am looking forward," she writes, "to new vitality, a new figure and the next issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED!"
And all these things, I am sure, she will have.