This Is What Physical Education Was Like At One School In The 1960s

May 6, 2015 By Serena Hayes
What we know now as the President's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, started as a warning from Dr. Hans Kraus in 1953.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), since the 1960s, the weight gain for American children between ages 6 and 11 have quadrupled. In 1956, President Eisenhower issued an executive order and created the President's Council on Youth Fitness. In 1961, John F. Kennedy challenged the White House staff to a 50-mile hike, which Bobby Kennedy completed in leather dress shoes. The overwhelming public response created the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for children who did well academically as well as on fitness tests.

Physical education, also known as gymnastics or physical training, has a long tradition, especially where national interests and cultural values are concerned. The goal was to create a harmonious balance between the two branches of education: music for the mind and gymnastics for the body. President John F. Kennedy thought Americans had gone soft and launched a nationwide media campaign to get Americans in shape.
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