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Former Pres. Clinton talks about Humana Challenge

By Megan Terlecky, News Channel 3 Anchor & Reporter, megan.terlecky@kesq.com
Published On: Jan 17 2013 07:37:34 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 17 2013 08:45:30 PM CST
LA QUINTA, Calif. -

Former President Bill Clinton's foundation has played a big part in the Humana Challenge, bringing the issue of health and wellness to the forefront.  Today he spoke about how his initiative is going.   

The former President said now is the time to change the conversation on health.

"This is a big deal.  They know that we can't keep spending more of our income on health care, they know that the baby boomer retirement alone could make us do that, they know that already we have paid a terrible economic price for it," said President Clinton.

Tuesday was the second annual Health Matters Conference.  President Clinton said over $100 million worth of commitments were made to help improve the area's overall health.

"We try to get people to make specific commitments around the best suggestions that come out of the conference," explained President Clinton.

The former president said those commitments are the first step to turn those ideas into reality in the Coachella Valley.

"The second thing is we pick two focus areas, here in the valley and one in Little Rock where my Presidential Library is," he said. "Places that are small enough to make a difference and big enough and diverse enough to be held up as examples that the rest of the country can implement."

The ultimate goal, Clinton said, is to make lives better.  "If you put all of this together, you can improve the well-being of every age and income and ethnic background."

The Clinton Foundation also has a tent set up at the Humana Challenge.  Inside is the former president's personal collection of memorabilia.  Not only does he play, but he is fan as well.  In fact, Clinton said, it was golfer Tom Watson who taught him the best political lesson.

"He said, 'Golf is the way politics is, if your grip is too far to the right you are going to get trouble on the left, but if your grip is too far to the left you are going to have trouble on the right.  The trick is for your grip to be just right,'" said Clinton.

President Clinton said President Obama is also a fan of both golf and what the Clinton Foundation is doing.

"I would like to talk him into coming out here. I came once as president for Bob Hope and I really think it would mean a lot to him," he said.

President Clinton said Obama's second term will determine a lot for the country's health.

"I think in the next four years, how this health care reform is implemented will determine whether people see it as I do, as a big step forward, assuming we implement it right; or whether they have their fears confirmed," said Mr. Clinton.

The Former President said we can get healthier but it will take the whole community to get involved.  That includes programs that encourage healthy lifestyles in schools, like the one this week with the Valley's own boxing star Timothy Bradley

"He is out there leading all of these kids in this huge athletic field walking or jogging around, I said, 'Oh I got to go meet this guy, that fight was amazing, he's amazing,'" said Clinton.  

But what impressed the former President more than Bradley's boxing skills, was his commitment to his community.

"He was there doing what he should have done, taking care of his child and his child's school and the welfare of the families who may not have the job like him who has the time to do that. That's a big deal to me," said Clinton.

President Clinton says whether its walking, boxing or playing golf, getting outside and moving is what it's all about.

"All that you have to remember is Gene Sarazen, who was still hitting the ceremonial first ball at the Masters when he was 92 years old," said President Clinton.

But changing our lifestyles will still take a lot of work, and the former president says he can't do it alone.

"If you have any good ideas we would be glad to have them," he said.