President Clinton’s Health Matters Conference
Editor’s note: By a stroke of good fortune, I was in Palm Springs and received an invitation to view online the Clinton Foundation Health and Wellness Conference: Health Matters: Activating Wellness In Every Generation which kicked off the HUMANA Challenge tournament’s commitment to health & well-being. Indeed , they had begun to share their vision with public events during the previous weekend and the launch of the Humana “Well-Being Tour”. I requested and received a Media Pass to attend in person and was able to enjoy an extraordinary experience. Each speaker was outstanding and, of course President Clinton stole the show. He recounted the history of heart disease in his family – no male since his greatgrandfather has lived to the age the President celebrated recently. He credited his earlier program of running 25 miles a week with keeping him alive as he had told CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta recently “I was lucky I did not die of a heart attack”. He was significantly overweight and challenged the Conference audience that no one has eaten more hamburgers than he has and probably not as many french fries. His by-pass surgery was complicated and required two subsequent procedures. As we reported in CV Network 10/4 “President Clinton’s Heart Healthy Diet - If President Clinton can do it, we all can avoid heart attacks!” He looks great and said he is feeling like he will live to be 100!
The following was online from The Palm Springs Desert Sun (photos were taken by the Editor)
Bill Clinton: Decide to live a healthier life
It’s pretty basic: EAT LESS and MOVE MORE.
Former president Bill Clinton sponsored a whole conference Tuesday, Jan . 17, 2012 dedicated to that simple strategy for living a healthy life . He brought his daughter, celebrity exercise and cooking gurus, doctors, athletes, and a few politicians with him . Within half an hour of launching the first Health Matters meeting tied to the Humana Challenge golf tournament, they all acknowledged the solution is a no-brainer .
But while Tuesday’s talk clearly wasn’t breaking new ground, the conference was . Clinton’s daylong workshop with doctors, spa owners, pharmaceutical reps and a handful of locals was the first of its kind, part of an extreme makeover of the former Bob Hope Classic . In the end, panelists from actress Goldie Hawn to PGA player Notah Begay III said healthy living is a personal journey . But it’s also a journey Americans have to walk together . “I think every human being has a responsibility to live as long as they can and to help others do the same,” Clinton said,echoing a line from his book “Giving .” The experts spent the rest of the day tackling the structural and psychological obstacles that keep Americans unhealthy, from cuts in funding for physical education in schools to racial and genetic differences in diabetes rates .
The former president’s conference is the highlight of Humana’s week of healthy living initiatives including a 5K walk and playground project last weekend, a series of biometrics booths at PGA West’s Hope Square and pedometer-based contests for Challenge spectators . The week’s events are meant to inspire Challenge players and watchers to make a change . “After I had my heart surgery, I had a much more personal interest in this,” Clinton said . The former president’s appearance has morphed over 20 years — changing from the chubby resident of the White House to the lean veg an father walking his daughter down the aisle two years ago . Clinton said Tuesday his weight finally meets the approval of former U .S . Surgeon General David Satcher . “Every day is a gift for me, and it just kills me to see all these kids sort of zonking themselves .”
“The Biggest Loser” drill sergeant Jillian Michaels said every person has to find his or her own motivation — from walking a daughter down the aisle to looking good for spring break .
“A lot of us don’t like to exercise . And I personally can’t stand broccoli and grilled chicken,” Michaels said . "But how are those things going to improve every facet of my life? People will achieve anything if they believe it’s worth it, and they believe they are capable . Identify your reason .”
Partnered with Humana Healthcare and the PGA Tour for eight years, the former president has pledged to be back in the Coachella Valley every year, focusing and refocusing attention on what has become one of his signature causes since leaving the White House 11 years ago . Drawing from more than 30 years in politics, Clinton framed the issue in topical terms . Health care costs, he said, threaten to divide American generations, parents from their children, employers from their middle-class workers . “One of the reasons middle-class Americans will never get a raise is because their employers are paying higher health care premiums every year,” he said . “We’re never going to get back to a full-employment economy unless we change . We have to stay healthy .” He predicted Washington’s partisan cold war will thaw and members of Congress and President Barack Obama will get back to doing something – perhaps even on health care . “There’s bound to be people butting heads,” said Clinton, a veteran of his own power struggle with then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich in the mid1990s . “I had a pretty contentious third year, too . It’s not all that bad,” he said . “First the ice breaks, the leverage comes . We’ll see in the first 60 days of this new year whether that has happened . What is the difference between being a Republican and being a Democrat about being able to live to 100?”
Glasses perched mid-bridge on his nose, Clinton wagged his finger, sometimes lecturing, other times drawling an Arkansas joke or praising the merits of Mexican chipotle soybean sausages . His standing-room only audience of 200 ticket holders invited to the Renaissance Esmeralda in Indian Wells was receptive . They gave the white-haired former president the rock star treatment: jumping to their feet when he walked across the stage, laughing at all the right puns, interrupting with ready applause .
When he finished the keynote, a scrum of 50 clustered around him to get their programs signed .
In between the panel discussions, the crowd munched on fruit, scrambled eggs and muffins in the morning . For lunch, Miami chef Lorena Garcia served ceviche and lomo saltado, a marinated Peruvian beef dish . In the afternoon, the group mingled at a spa reception .
Susie Ellis, president of Spa Finder and board member of Global Spa Summit, said the conference brought a lot of people together who don’t typically talk with each other about health . “It’s a lot of worlds coming together,” Ellis said . “It’s such a big problem that it’s going to take more than one group .”
Desert Hot Springs Mayor Yvonne Parks considers Tuesday’s conference a call to action . She plans on consulting with the city manager about working 15-minute activity breaks into the schedule at City Hall . By dividing the staff into groups, Parks said the breaks wouldn’t interrupt operations . “It’s kind of energized me,” the 75-year-old mayor said as she did calisthenics during a conference recess . “If we can get us moving, we can lead by example . Activity always helps productivity .”
Palm Springs resident Mary Ann Kaestner, 82, came leaning on a cane, with her severely sprained ankle in a fuzzy clog . Kaestner is convinced her exercise classes at the medical center saved her foot from a more serious break earlier this month . “If this (talking) gets anybody to start exercising,” Kaestner said, “it will be worth it .”
Desert Sun reporters Erica Felci, Kate McGinty and Michelle Mitchell contributed to this story .