By presidential proclamation, next week, May 3 through 9, is National Youth Fitness Week. It marks the second year in a row that we have had one, and it comes less than four years after the President first openly expressed his concern over evidence that the nation's physical fitness is not what it should be.
With much of the evidence the President had long been too familiar: the high level of rejections for military service. The evidence upon which he acted, however, came from a report by Dr. Hans Kraus and Bonnie Prudden (SI, Aug. 15, '55) which showed an inability among our children to meet a number of admittedly arbitrary but reasonably minimum physical tests. The President's action was to establish his Council on Youth Fitness and the Citizens Advisory Committee.
The President's proclamation contains this paragraph: "I request officials of the Government, and I urge parents, young people and interested local and national organizations to use all appropriate means to promote programs and activities demonstrating the importance of youth fitness to the end that we may assure the continuing strength and well being of our people."
In its next issue SPORTS ILLUSTRATED will celebrate National Youth Fitness Week with a pictorial salute to some of the groups throughout the country who have already taken energetic steps to this end.
But fitness is also a matter about which individuals can do a great deal for themselves. And for them there is a book—Bonnie Prudden's Fitness Book, The Ronald Press Company, $2.95, which will be published on May 4. A selection of exercises from her columns in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, it has been published, literally, by popular demand. The response to Bonnie Prudden's series was the largest in our experience. Requests for reprints and tear sheets regularly exhausted our supply.
Some of you may remember that the title of Bonnie's first article was How to Get More Out of Life. If, beyond the purpose the President has cited, fitness needed any endorsement, could there be a better?