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|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|Wednesday, May 4, 2005
||Contact: AoA Press Office
HHS SECRETARY LEAVITT KICKS OFF OLDER AMERICANS MONTH
HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt, Acting Deputy Secretary Alex Azar, and Assistant Secretary for Aging Josefina G. Carbonell are encouraging seniors to engage in healthful physical activities as Older Americans Month is celebrated across the nation. To kick off the celebration, the Fourth Annual Physical Fitness Event will include a 30-minute walk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. This year's theme for Older Americans Month is "Celebrate Long-Term Living!"
"By incorporating physical activity into their daily lives, seniors can help ensure the blessing of improved length and quality of life," Secretary Leavitt said. "We continue to see how the miracles of modern medicine can improve and sustain life, but nothing can take the place of physical activity for maintaining muscle strength and balance. Just by walking or swimming or lifting weights, seniors can see a significant improvement in their overall health."
More than 200 local seniors will be in attendance at the fourth annual physical fitness event that will highlight and provide educational materials on topics, such as health promotion, disease prevention and management, and the new and expanded benefits under Medicare.
"We can do more, and our best weapons are literally in our own hands: the food we choose to eat, and the activities that get us moving," said Assistant Secretary Carbonell. "Older adults tend to be healthier, feel better, and maintain their mobility and independence longer when they take simple steps."
"Local organizations and groups are sponsoring physical fitness events across the country," Acting Deputy Secretary Azar said. "Our efforts are to make sure that we heighten awareness and promote increased physical activity and healthy lifestyles for older Americans everywhere."
Since 1963, Older Americans Month has allowed for the opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of all of our nation's seniors
-- past and present -- especially those who contributed in the service or defense of our nation.
For more information on Older Americans Month or to sponsor a local physical fitness event in your local area, visit the Administration on Aging's Website.