Carl Edwards: The Jack LaLanne of NASCAR

Mary Jo BuchananSenior Writer IJune 27, 2010

While Jack LaLanne may be the "Godfather of Fitness," Carl Edwards may be his new rival, at least in the world of NASCAR fitness.  

Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Aflac Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, was just named to President Obama's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Prior to the New Hampshire race weekend, Edwards, along with his fellow Council members, was introduced as members of the Council by First Lady Michelle Obama at a ceremony in Washington D.C.

"It's a group that I'm honored to be a part of," Edwards said.  "I look forward to working with the Council, the President, and the First Lady to help kids better understand the importance and the fun of being fit and eating well."

Just like LaLanne, Edwards is well-known for his intense fitness routine, as well as his healthy eating habits.  Now that Edwards is a father himself, raising Annie along with his wife Kate, he is even more dedicated to health and fitness, especially for children.

The First Lady Michelle Obama, a fitness buff and advocate of healthy eating herself, was thrilled to welcome Edwards to the ranks of the President's Council.  

"This year, we're expanding the work of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to include not just a focus on active lifestyles, but on healthy eating, too," Mrs. Obama said.  "The Council will play an important role in our effort to help combat childhood obesity in this country."

"I am grateful to the athletes, chefs, doctors, and nutrition experts who are volunteering their time on the Council to help make a difference," Mrs. Obama continued.  "The Council is made up of everyone."

"We've got our Olympic gold medalists," Obama said.  "We've got a NASCAR driver. We've got NBA All-Stars, tennis legends.  We've got it all because we know in the end, kids listen to these heroes in so many ways."

The broadening scope of the Council was established by a Presidential Executive Order, signed just this past week.  

The Council will advise the President through the Secretary of Health and Human Services and will focus on the development of accessible, affordable, and sustainable physical activity, fitness, sports, and nutrition programs for all Americans regardless of age, background, or ability.

Edwards will serve with other athletes, including Council Co-Chair Drew Brees, Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, and Dominique Dawes, three-time Olympian and former U.S. national women's gymnastics champion.  

Other Council members include Dan Barber, Tedy Bruschi, Allyson Felix, Michelle Kwan, Curtis Pride, Donna Richardson Joyner, Dr. Ian Smith, Cornell McClellan, Grant Hill, Billie Jean King, Chris Paul, and Dr. Stephen McDonough.

At the conclusion of the announcement with the First Lady, Edwards and his fellow Council members joined a group of local children participating in a variety of physical activity stations.

In addition to the Presidential advisory role, Edwards and his fellow Council members will be responsible for promoting and maintaining the President's Challenge Physical Activity and Fitness Awards Program, which encourages all Americans to include physical activity in their daily lives.

So, just like Jack LaLanne, who is still going strong at almost 100 years of age due to his dedication to fitness and healthy eating, Edwards will bring that same dedication to NASCAR and to the President's Council as well.

For more information about the Council and its members, visit .

Photo Credit:  Mary Jo Buchanan