Inspired by Bonnie
July 11, 1955. “Mr. President, if you….”
July 2017 Newsletter
By Enid Whittaker, CBPM
A wide smile spread across the famous face sitting on the other side of the table. Bonnie relaxed. “Mr. President, if you were lying here on the table with your hands behind your head, your knees bent and I held your feet down, could you sit-up once?” His smile spread and he nodded, yes. And so she “talked” him through the six Kraus-Weber Tests for Minimum Muscular Strength and Flexibility of Key Posture Muscles, the muscle groups that are responsible for carrying you around all day. “Mr. President, 58% of our children ages 6 to 16 cannot sit up once. Only 7% of their counterparts in Europe failed.” Eisenhower’s smile faded. “I am shocked!”
Dr. Hans Kraus then reported on the medical implications of HYPOKINETIC DISEASE, the role of inactivity in the production of disease, such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity, low back pain, and muscle tension. Thus was founded the President’s Council on Youth Fitness with Kraus and Bonnie recognized as co-founders.
Bonnie and Kraus were called unpatriotic (because they exposed this national problem) and their test un-American (because the test did not include a ball throw). The medicos and physical educators scoffed at the test and the findings.
The “REPORT THAT SHOCKED THE PRESIDENT,” as it became known, propelled Bonnie into the spotlight and onto the national stage. She authored books, wrote columns, conducted workshops, developed programs, appeared on TV, radio and in the newspaper. And she never stopped teaching Americans of every age group and ability the importance of physical activity to a life of well-being and pain-free living.
Here we are 63 years later with all the predictions of July 11, 1955 at epidemic levels in every American community. And although the citizens of your city might seem to be beyond your reach, you CAN make a difference. Begin with YOUR family and YOUR neighborhood community.
Note: At the time Bonnie was known by her married name, Ruth Hirschland.