Hunter’s Letter to Preisdent Obama Regarding “Let’s Move”

[Sports Illustrated Kids featuring Hunter Lussi (May 2009)]

Hunter M. Lussi

February 15, 2010

President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I saw the memo signing ceremony with the First Lady about “Let’s Move” this afternoon after I got back from swimming and dry-land training and watching my sister and brother play soccer for two hours. Great name. Unfortunately, when I looked on the website my head started to spin with all the reports that are going to be generated so we will know what we already know.

I’m a fat kid if I do not exercise. I can eat great calories or junk food calories and I’m still going to be fat if I do not exercise. The only way for me to not appear fat is to do enough exercise every day to burn up more calories than I eat. Eating “good food” in the same amount and number of calories as junk food will not make me lose weight. We could do a Presidential experiment to prove what we already know. If you did not work out for 30 days, but kept eating the same amount of the nutritious White House food you will gain weight.

In my book I sent you and all 535 members of Congress, I asked for $80 billion to support 10,000 new gyms to get the 200 million fat American parents and kids up off the couch and exercising together as a social event. I realized today that you only gave the First Lady $1 billion a year for 10 years if Congress approves the memo. If your wife only gets $1 billion than there is no way I’m getting more. I tried to justify why the First Lady should get more. She should. She should get at least $26.6 billion per year because we spent $8 billion on the H1N1 vaccine to save 100 million Americans from getting sick and 90,000 Americans from dying. Every year according to the Office of the Surgeon General [July 16, 2003 report] 300,000 Americans die from obesity related conditions. 300,000/90,000 = 3.3 × $8 billion = $26.6 billion for Let’s Move.

In 2000 $117 billion was being spent on obesity related illnesses and another $132 billion was being spent on diabetes caused by obesity and these numbers are much higher 10 years later. I started to think about the success of the town hall meetings and the public private partnerships that public schools are doing with my brother’s and sister’s soccer club to be able to afford new turf soccer fields at public schools that have no additional funding. The soccer club pays for the field over 5 or 10 years and there are banks that loan the schools the money. So here is the idea that will combine fitness and nutrition education with community fitness and pride:

I want to borrow $26.6 billion for 10 years at 3% interest and I want to buy $260,000 of the newest fitness equipment from the members of SGMA [Sports Equipment Manufacturing Association — they will be up on Capitol Hill on March 10th — and you should be able to negotiate a great discount] for each of the 100,000 public high schools, middle schools and elementary schools in America. Then I want to reach out to the 250,000 personal fitness trainers and offer to split their personal training fees for them to train their clients from 5 pm to 10 pm each day at the 100,000 best outfitted gyms [the schools] in the country in exchange for them training that school’s kids and parents every day for free. The math is pretty simple; one personal trainer at each school has to train 3 people each day from 5 pm to 10 pm to pay back the $26.6 billion. There are 2.5 personal trainers for each of the 100,000 schools. The 50% fees from the 2.5 personal trainers for each school would more than pay for the electricity, security, water, etc. needed to keep the gym portions of these schools open until 10 pm. As important, these schools would become the “social town halls of fitness” of their communities at no cost. These personal trainers could become small businesses and that way the loans are already in the Budget.

Mr. President, the First Lady seems really great and I really want her to succeed, but I’m the generation she is trying to save. She is very educated and she listened to the doctor about exercise and healthy food and she and your daughters have you as their fitness mentor/example and you all have this pretty cool place to exercise with all the best equipment. Most Americans do not have those advantages. Having elementary school kids jump around for 20 minutes at a Florida school without getting their parents involved in exercising is not going to be effective. Telling parents and kids that a banana is better for them than a slice of pizza [pizza is my favorite food] is not going to mean anything unless they experience when and why the banana is better; eating a banana while exercising helps you exercise better and longer; eating a slice of pizza will show them that the pizza is a mouth full of grease and fat that sits in their stomachs like a rock.


Hunter M. Lussi