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Doctors' Notes

Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Back To The Basics

Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson.  The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans.  Please feel free to send them questions via digitalpitches@ebony.comWe promise to keep it anonymous. 

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Hailed as one of the greatest female all-around athletes of all-time, Jackie Joyner-Kersee knows the value of health and fitness. As a multiple gold medal winning track and field Olympian, Kersee continues to make her mark in the world. On a mission to keep kids active, Jackie Joyner-Kersee wants children to get back to the basics of sports and simply “run, jump, and throw.”

JET: Tell us a little bit about what you have been up to lately.

Joyner-Kersee: Besides traveling and speaking arrangements, I’m on the USA track and field board where we have a great partnership with Hershey on a program called RunJumpThrow. It’s a free program trying to keep young people active. Run, jump, throw is the basic foundation to any sport.

JET: As a young African-American kid growing up in East St. Louis, how did you first become interested in track & field?

JK: My interest came through a community center. I wasn’t one of the best and I wanted to be good. Track and field offered me a chance to challenge myself. It wasn’t until years later when I saw the Olympics on television that I saw women doing what I was trying to do.

JET: Why was it important for you to be involved in the RunJumpThrow initiative?

JK: I really believe in being fit for life. RunJumpThrow offers young people a way to be active, but also to have fun in the process. A lot of times we get so focused on results, and when you are working with young people they can lose sight of the enjoyment of it.

JET: How is it that we as a community can get our children interested in sports like track and field at an early age?

JK: With childhood obesity rates increasing and physical education being cut out of schools, we have to do something. The key ingredient is fun. Kids are very curious. You don’t say you’re running “track,” but when I was growing up and had recess, we created our own tag team- that’s a relay. Or you were running the bases, or jumping over barriers-that’s hurdle drills. The most important thing is allowing them to have fun.

JET: Where we can learn more?

JK: For more information, you can visit USATF.org/RunJumpThrow.

It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!

About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show.  For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!