5 OCTOBER 1934, Page 3

The Gospel of Fitness In preaching the gospel of physical

fitness, as he did last week, Lord Baden-Powell is repeating, with the authority that attaches to him as head of the Boy Scout Movement, what Sir George Newman said a fortnight ago with the authority that attaches to him as Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry of Health. The effect of physical training on national health has been abundantly demonstrated in the three Scandinavian countries, and deplorable as the deliberate militarization of youth is in countries like Germany and Italy and Poland, there can be little doubt that as a by-product the national physique is substantially improved. The problem here is to secure the same improvement by more direct means. Fitness can be and should be an end in itself. It is for the good both of the individual and of the State. It can be achieved without expensive apparatus or extensive buildings or playing-fields. All that is needed is to inspire some enthusiasm for it—and no one could do that better than Lord Baden-Powell himself. But a physical fitness crusade is only worth launching if it is certain that enough trained instructors are available. And at present that is very doubtful.

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