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ARIF

On June 12, 2002, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer included a statement about President Bush’s new Healthier U.S. Initiative, and that Little League Baseball would be taking part in it:

"Finally, a heads-up for you about several events next week which I think actually are somewhat notable. Nearly half of American adults report that they do not exercise at all. And seven out of 10 do so infrequently. Each year, approximately 300,000 deaths occur related to obesity. In addition, five chronic diseases associated with obesity -- heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes -- claim more than 1.7 million American lives each year and account for more than two-thirds of all U.S. deaths.

Next week, the President will unveil a comprehensive fitness agenda to help our nation become stronger and healthier.

As part of the agenda -- and I want to explain several of the items in it to you -- the President is pleased to announce today that the Department of Interior will host a Healthier U.S. Fee-Free Weekend in our national parks the weekend of June 22nd to June 23rd, to encourage Americans to hike, walk or just visit our national treasures.

As part of what’s called the Healthier U.S. Initiative, the President on Thursday, June 30th, next week, will host a fitness expo on the South Lawn of the White House. At the fitness expo the President will introduce new members of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and will discuss more details of his fitness initiative. There’ll be screening booths available for people on the South Lawn here at the White House who are invited.

On Friday, June 21st, the President will travel to Orlando, Florida, where he will visit with seniors at a local senior center to discuss his fitness initiative and the value of age-appropriate physical activity to promote healthy aging.

On Saturday, June 22nd, an event that the President is very much looking forward to, the President and the First Lady will host the President’s Fitness Challenge at Fort McNair, for White House staff and Cabinet. At the Fitness Challenge, the President will lead runners in a three-mile run, and the First Lady will lead walkers in a 1.5 mile walk. To participate in the race, participants must commit to donate hours of service or resources to the community or faith organization of their choice -- that’s in lieu of a typical registration fee that’s collected usually at fun runs and runs of this nature.

And finally, on Sunday, June 23rd, the South Berkeley Little League Braves of Inwood, West Virginia, will play the Washington, D.C., Cal Ripken League Cardinals in the second game of this year’s White House T-ball season.