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Copyright 2018 The Washington Times
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The Washington Times


America has gone from Let's Move to Let's Play.

President Trump on Tuesday ripped up the executive order that helped boost Michelle Obama's physical fitness crusade and replaced it with a new order that emphasized getting the nation's children once again to play team sports.

"Participating in sports allows children to experience the connection between effort and success, and it enhances their academic, economic, and social prospects," Mr. Trump, a three-sport varsity athlete in high school at New York Military Academy, wrote in the order.

Highlighting the changes to the council, Mr. Trump moved "sports" to the front of the title. He replaced the Obama-era President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition with a President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.

Mr. Trump resisted the urge to cut nutrition from the program, which President Barack Obama added to the physical fitness council that has been around in one from or another since the 1950s.

The previous administration's emphasis on any type of exercise and a healthy diet went hand-in-hand with Mrs. Obama's "Let's Move" campaign aimed at reducing childhood obesity, an effort that succeeded in promoting healthy lifestyle choices but predictably failed to cut obesity rates in the U.S.

Mr. Obama added nutrition when he reworked President George W. Bush's President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Mr. Trump's new take on the council got high marks from John Engh, executive director of the National Alliance for Youth Sports.

"We definitely support the whole concept," he said. "Team sports plays a huge role in the development of kids today."

The fate of the council was in doubt early in the Trump administration, when there was chatter around the White House that it was on the chopping block. The council has no members. The Obama-era members, including New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and tennis legend Billie Jean King, were all dismissed last year.

Lou Ferrigno, the former body builder who played "The Incredible Hulk" in TV series, has reportedly been in talks with Mr. Trump about heading up the new council.

Mr. Ferrigno has been friends with Mr. Trump since appearing on Mr. Trump's reality TV show "The Apprentice."

The executive order directed the secretary of Health and Human Services to develop a national strategy to expand children's participation in youth sports, encourage regular physical activity, including active play, and promote good nutrition for all Americans.

"This national strategy shall focus on children and youth in communities with below-average sports participation and communities with limited access to athletic facilities or recreational areas," said the order.

Mr. Trump's daughter and top adviser Ivanka Trump heralded the new council in an op/ed Tuesday. She said the administration was determined to reverse a steep decline in youth sports participation, especially among households in the bottom half of the income scale.

"Promoting youth sports is an important pillar of our Working Families Agenda," Ms. Trump wrote on the NBC News website. "When young people have more opportunities to participate in positive, supervised after-school sports programs, studies suggest They are less likely to be involved in, or be a victim or, crime."

"We believe that every child deserves the chance to play and engage in sports and recreational activities, regardless of their zip code, athletic potential or financial status. We are working to remove barriers to entry so that students can improve their lives and their future outcomes, and so that we adequately prepare the next generation of leaders to lift up our communities and strengthen our nation," she said.

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February 28, 2018


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