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March 27, 2023

Jose Garces, Ryan Howard among local figures appointed to President Biden's fitness and nutrition council

The committee, which promotes healthy eating and physical activity, also includes Philadelphia native activist Barbie Izquierdo and Zahav restauranteur Michael Solomonov

President Joe Biden has announced his intent to appoint 27 members to the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition (PCSFN), and the list includes several leaders with ties to Philadelphia.

Among the president's intended appointees, announced Friday, are Jose Garces, Ryan Howard, Barbie Izquierdo and Michael Solomonov.

The PCSFN is a federal advisory committee that promotes healthy eating and physical activity for all Americans. Committee members include athletes, physicians, fitness professionals, nutrition experts and entrepreneurs who are appointed by the president and serve through the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Garces is a James Beard Award-winning Philadelphia restaurateur, television personality, cookbook author and food entrepreneur. Known for local restaurants specializing in Spanish and Latin American food, like Amada and Volvér, Garces also co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011, which provides community health days, English language skills classes targeting the restaurant industry and food supplies to the food insecure. 

Howard is a former MLB player who spent most of his career as the Phillies' iconic first baseman and helped bring the 2008 World Series title to Philadelphia. Among numerous accolades, he became the fastest player to reach 100 and 200 home runs and once achieved 58 home runs in a single season. Howard is now an entrepreneur who has co-authored six children's books.

Izquierdo is an Afro-Latina activist who was born and raised in North Philadelphia. After feeling the impacts of food insecurity and other social justice issues firsthand, she became an advocate, organizer and consultant fighting the exploitation of people affected by public policy. Izquierdo is the director of advocacy, neighbors engagement at Feeding America, and founder of Community Driven Consulting LLC.

Solomonov is a James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author widely recognized for bringing Israeli cuisine across the U.S. and around the world. He is the chef at Zahav, the first Israeli-American restaurant to be awarded "Outstanding Restaurant" by the James Beard Foundation, and co-owns Philadelphia's Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Abe Fisher, Goldie, K’Far, Merkaz, Laser Wolf and Lilah. 

Other new members of the council include NBA star Stephen Curry and his wife Ayesha Curry, two-time Olympic gold medalist snowboarder Chloe Kim, University of Delaware men's basketball coach Martin Ingelsby and Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng. Pittsburgh native and University of Pennsylvania alum Billy Shore, who launched Share Our Strength to reduce childhood hunger, will also join the council.

The PCSFN was launched by the Eisenhower administration in 1956 as the "President's Council on Youth Fitness" and continued over the past several decades, 12 presidential administrations and several name changes. 

In 2021, Biden issued Executive Order 14048, renewing the council until Sept. 30, 2023. This executive order also allows for the continued promotion of the National Youth Sports Strategy, a resource for policymakers in youth sports, as well as expanding the committee's work to include raising national awareness of the importance of mental health as it pertains to physical fitness and nutrition.

Rachel Fisher, a registered dietitian, was chosen by Biden as acting executive director of PCSFN in 2021. Last March, Biden announced his intent to appoint chef José Andrés and WNBA player (and University of Delaware alumna) Elena Delle Donne to serve as co-chairs of the PCSFN.

Other duties of the PCSFN include elevating research related to youth sports, encouraging Americans to get active through sponsoring National Physical Fitness & Sports Month, and recognizing individuals or organizations who have advanced the fields of physical activity, sports and nutrition.

Information about the 27 new PCSFN appointees can be found online.

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