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HHS Secretary Sebelius Launches National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition
Nemours' Rich Killingsworth Provides Leadership
Washington, DC — On May 10, the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition was formally launched by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, along with Senator Mark Warner and Congressman John Sarbanes. The Foundation, established by an Act of Congress and signed into law by President Obama on December 22, 2010, will work collaboratively with the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in helping all Americans to get active, play sports and eat healthier.
Nemours is contributing to the Foundation’s efforts through the in-kind assistance of Rich Killingsworth, Deputy Director and Senior Advisor for Nemours Health & Prevention Services (NHPS). Killingsworth will serve on detail as the Foundation’s inaugural Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer through 2011.
“I am pleased that Nemours has been able to serve the Foundation and build on our promise of a healthier future for children and families as a contributing partner in the launch,” said Nemours President and CEO David Bailey, MD. “I am delighted that Rich Killingsworth has been helpful in getting this important organization up and running. It's further evidence that Margaret Mead was right when she said that a small group of people can indeed change the world.”
Killingsworth participated in the pre-launch ceremony at the White House where the First Lady recognized May as National Physical Fitness and Sports Month and played with children — among them Killingsworth’s son Eric, age 6. Other luminaries who are members of the President’s Council, including sports legends Billie Jean King, Michelle Kwan and Grant Hill and Council Co-Chairs Dominque Dawes and Drew Brees, were also present. Killingsworth provided opening remarks at the joint Council/Foundation pre-launch dinner, and was recognized for his contributions at the formal launch ceremony by President’s Council Executive Director, Shellie Pfohl.
“Rich's performance has been exceptional during the time he has been appointed to the President's Council, and now to the Foundation. We have confidence and trust in Rich's abilities, and as the Foundation moves into the next phase of its work, it is important that the Foundation has strong leadership in place,” said former Congressman and Olympian Tom McMillen, Chairperson.
More than 50 years ago, the Eisenhower administration created the President’s Council on Youth Fitness, and viewed it as a catalyst in promoting the importance of physical activity. This legacy will continue with the broader vision that now includes nutrition and encourages all Americans to lead active and healthier lives, supported by this new Foundation and the Council.
Secretary Sebelius announced the appointment of the Foundation’s inaugural Board of Directors, which includes former NFL great Cris Collinsworth, now a Sports Analyst and Commentator with NBC Sports. In an interview, Collinsworth said his interest in serving arose from “watching with dismay what’s happening to our kids. The longer they remain inactive and eating poorly, the harder these habits will be to overcome. We need a national focus now.” The father of four said, it’s about more than playing sports or burning calories. “In my younger days, I thought I could eat as much fast food as I wanted if I ran it off,” he said. “It’s important to educate kids about why good nutrition matters, what fitness and the right kind of fuel can do for the body and the mind. It’s about health but it’s also about self-esteem.” Collinsworth said he is eager to be part of the Foundation’s efforts to create change. “I can’t think of too many things more important right now than the health of our kids.”
“I am proud to represent Nemours in this national leadership role,” said Killingsworth. “I serve both organizations — Nemours and the new Foundation — in a way that fosters strategic philanthropy to create change. I am in a wonderful position to participate with many people and organizations in shaping an exciting future that enables our children to be more physically active and healthier.”
“Our nation is plagued by the growing impacts of physical inactivity and poor eating habits combined with an environment that does not support healthier choices,” he added. “This has led to devastating health outcomes for children and families. For our nation to become healthier, it has to be transformed by acts of people and organizations such as Nemours partnering with this new Foundation to envision and pursue a bold new course.”