President Kennedy's Contribution to Physical Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

RULES: Blocks should not be thrown across the line. Scores are recorded to the nearest tenth of a second.


OBJECTIVE: To measure heart and lung endurance by fastest time to cover a one-mile distance. TESTING: On a safe, one-mile distance, students begin running on the count "Ready? Go!" Walking may be interpersed with running. However, the students should be encouraged to cover the distance in as short a time as possible. RULES: Before administering this test, students' health status should be reviewed. Students should be given ample instruction on pacing themselves and should be allowed to practice running this distance against time. Sufficient time should be allowed for warming up and cooling down before and after the test. Times are recorded in minutes and seconds.


OBJECTIVE: To measure upper body strength and endurance by maximum number of pull-ups completed. TESTING: Student hangs from a horizontal bar at a height the student can hand from with arms fully extended and feet free from floor, using an overhand grasp (palms facing away from body). Small students may be lifted to starting position. Student raises body until chin clears the bar and then lowers body to full-hand starting position. Student performs as many correct pull-ups as possible. RULES: Pull-ups should be done in a smooth rather than jerky motion. Kicking or bending the legs is not permitted, and the body must not swing during the movement.


OBJECTIVE: To measure flexibility of lower back and hamstrings by reaching forward in the V position. TESTING: A straight line two feet long is marked on the floor as the baseline. A measuring line is drawn perpendicular to the midpoint of the baseline extending two feet on each side and marked off in half inches. The point where the baseline and measuring line intersect is the "0" point. Student removes shoes and sits on floor with measuring line between legs and soles of feet placed immediately behind baseline, heels 8-12 inches apart. Student clasps thumbs so that hands are together, palms down, and places them on measuring line. With the legs held flat by a partner, student slowly reaches forward as far as possible, keeping fingers on baseline and feet flexed. After three practice tries, the student holds the fourth reach for three seconds while that distance is recorded. RULES: Legs must remain straight with soles of feet held perpendicular to the floor (feet flexed).

These came from the initiatives and programs that President Kennedy started and brought in to existence.

Due to the epidemic of obesity plaguing the United States in the 2000's, the Sports Authority, Inc. In conjunction with the Boys and Girls of America are establishing a national physical fitness program that is proclaimed to be the greatest venture since the 'Since President's Council on Physical Fitness Program Under John F. Kennedy' as per the Business Wire article, "The Sports Authority, Inc. And Boys & Girls Clubs of America Team Up for National Youth Fitness Program. Almost 50 years later, American's still refer to the presence of President Kennedy in regards to the physical fitness of the nation. Children in the 2000's spent less time exercising than the children of the 1960's and the affects are showing with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention study showing a 70% increase in obesity in children. (the Sports, 2000) According to "Has Fitness fizzled?: While Many Workout; Most prefer the Couch" Krucoff (1990) proclaims, "Nearly half of American adults say they've already joined the fitness movement. Since 1961, when President John F. Kennedy made physical fitness a national priority, the proportion of American adults who say they participate in a daily fitness regimen has doubled, reports the Gallup Poll." Other studies such as the one earlier show conflicting statistics.

As quoted at the start of the paper, "Since the time of the ancient Greeks, we have felt that there was a close relationship between a strong, vital mind and physiological fitness."-John F. Kennedy (as cited by Gatterman, 2007) is still very important even today. Efforts are in the works by the government to revisit the areas promoted by President Kennedy and America needs it.


The reason I chose President John F. Kennedy was he embodied the vision of physical fitness in not just American children but in all Americans. The work he did in the field of physical education has lead to all school having physical education programs and getting better equipment for children to use in the promotion of physical health. Other Presidents may have started the Council or expanded its effectiveness but it was President Kennedy that defined the vast impact and implementation of the Council.

As more and more American children and adults become more of a society of techno geared people, the need is going to be even greater to get people to live a healthy lifestyle. I believe this still begins in the school system and that schools must expand the physical education programs to get children back in to shape just as President Kennedy desired in the 60's.


"Fitness: the president's challenge. (children's fitness test for President's Challenge Award)." The Saturday Evening Post. 1990. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

Gatterman, Meridel I. "Health Promotion and Wellness Through Mental Fitness." Dynamic Chiropractic. Dynamic Chiropractic CA. 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

Krucoff, C. "Has Fitness Fizzled?;While Many Work Out; Most Prefer the Couch." The Washington Post. Washington Post Newsweek Interactive Co. 1990. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

Lyons, B. (2010). "Commentary: Physical fitness -- is it a national security issue?" Retrieved April 27, 2010 from

McNatt, M. "Child's letter to President John F. Kennedy about physical fitness.(Teaching with Documents)(Jack Chase)." Social Education. National Council for the Social Studies. 2009. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

NGOWI, R. "As Americans get heavier, exhibit highlights John F. Kennedy's push for physical fitness ." AP Worldstream. 2007. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

"Physical fitness is often in the news today, but it has long been a national concern, and the government's response to it was shaped significantly during the Kennedy administration." (2010). Retrieved April 27, 2010 from

President's Council Overview. (2010). Retrieved April 27, 2010 from

Public Papers of the Presidents. (2010). "325 - Progress Report by the President on Physical Fitness." Retrieved April 27, 2010 from

"The Sports Authority, Inc. And Boys & Girls Clubs of America Team Up for National Youth Fitness Program." Business Wire. Business Wire. 2000. Retrieved April 27, 2010 from HighBeam Research:

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