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USTA partners with White House to promote tennis as healthiest sport

USTA partners with White House to promote tennis as healthiest sport

Tennis is the healthiest sport in the world and the United States Tennis Association (USTA), alongside Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff and special guests from the White House, have announced that the USTA is the first National Governing Body (NGB) to partner with the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition (PCSFN).

The PCSFN is a federal advisory committee that aims to promote nutrition and physical activity for all people, regardless of background or ability. Tennis is also the first racquet sport to make this commitment. As part of the agreement, the PCSFN and USTA will work collaboratively to bring national health and nutrition programming to communities where tennis is played.

Above: James Blake, Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, Cindy Long and Dr. Brian Hainline celebrate the health and wellness benefits of tennis at the Miami Open. Photo credit: Jennifer Pottheiser/USTA.

According to multiple sources and studies, tennis is widely considered the world's healthiest sport having demonstrated significant positive impact on the health of participants. These include: 

  • Tennis players on average lived an additional 9.7 years than sedentary individuals*.
  • The 9.7 additional years for tennis players ranked highest among all sports included within the study, beating out soccer by 5 years (4.7), cycling by 6 years (3.7), swimming by 6.3 years (3.4) and jogging by 6.5 years (3.2).*
  • Participation in racquet sports such as tennis reduces risk of all-cause mortality by 47 percent and cardiovascular-related death by 56 percent.**
  • Consistent, regular recreational competition provided by sports leagues like tennis present significant social and emotional health benefits. The sense of community built through participating in USTA Leagues significantly improved players' sense of happiness and minimized depressive symptoms.***
  • Tennis players generally exhibit higher self-esteem and optimism compared to other athletes and non-athletes. In addition, tennis players generally manifest lower rates of anxiety, anger, and depression when compared to their athlete and non-athlete peers.****

In turn, this historic collaboration between the USTA and White House was announced this past week to promote tennis and its health benefits at the Miami Open. The announcement included the Second Gentleman of the United States Douglas Emhoff; Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition; Cindy Long, Administrator, USDA Food and Nutrition Service; Dr. Brian Hainline, Chairman of the Board and President, USTA; and James Blake, Tournament Director, Miami Open and former world No. 4 ranked player.

“This partnership will make a real difference in real lives. Thank you to the USTA for your dedication to this critical work,” said Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff. “With your help, President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the entire Biden-Harris Administration will continue to make progress in the fight to end hunger and build healthy communities in America.”

Above: USTA Chairman of the Board and President Dr. Brian Hainline and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff celebrate the health and wellness benefits of tennis at the Miami Open. Photo credit: Jennifer Pottheiser/USTA.

“Making this commitment to support the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition falls directly in line with the USTA mission of growing tennis to inspire healthier people and communities everywhere,” said Brian Hainline. “Tennis has tremendous wellness benefits, including increased longevity coupled with improved physical, mental, emotional and social health, and we believe that we can make a positive societal impact by bringing health and nutrition programming to tennis communities across our great country.”

“The President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition is excited to welcome the USTA as the newest partner in our historic series of agreements with every major sports league and players association," said Rayhaan Merani, Executive Director for the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. "Under President Biden’s leadership, this Council continues to build alliances that promote healthy eating, physical activity and a healthier America. Together with the USTA, the President’s Council is serving up new opportunities for all Americans to lead active and healthy lives.”

“We applaud USTA for expanding the reach of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition to the racquet sports community,” said Administrator Cindy Long. “At USDA, we know that physical activity and nutrition are both essential for a healthy lifestyle. Our nutrition programs and initiatives such as MyPlate and summer nutrition are powerful, far-reaching tools to advance nutrition security and support people’s health and well-being. We look forward to partnering with USTA as we carry out the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-society approach to ending hunger and building healthy communities.”

The USTA joins 14 other sports entities, including professional leagues and player associations, in making the pledge.


Source: USTA; Top Photo: USTA

*Schnohr P, O'Keefe JH, Holtermann A, et al. Various leisure-time physical activities associated with widely divergent life expectancies: The Copenhagen City Heart Study. Mayo Clin Proc 2018;93:1175-1185.

**Oja P, Kelly P, Pedisic Z, et al. Associations of specific types of sports and exercise with all-cause and cardiovascular-disease mortality: a cohort study of 80,306 British adults. Br J Sports Med 2017;51:812-817.

***Kim AA., Du J, James J. A social epidemiological perspective on local tennis league participation: a multigroup moderated-mediation structural analysis using PLS-SEM. Int J Sports Marketing Sponsorship 2022;23:437-461.

****Groppel J, DiNubile N. Tennis: for the health of it! Phys Sportsmed 2009;2:40-50.

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