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Former Congressman, NBA Star Tom McMillen Fights for Kids' Health

From the NBA to Congress, Tom McMillen is now combining two passions as chairman of the National Foundation on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

On "Washington Unplugged" Thursday, the former Democratic Congressman from Maryland praised the passage of the National Foundation on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Act.

McMillen told CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes it was a slow battle that began with the goal to "create a foundation that we could use the resources of the private sector to help the president's council." McMillen's work promoting healthy living started with President Clinton's Council on Physical Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

"That was 15 years ago and we finally got it [legislation] passed this week," he said.

McMillen's coalition was created in addition to the president's council to raise more money. Concerns were raised early that if the education budget was going towards physical education programs, there would be smaller funds for subjects like math and science.

In response, McMillen said, "You have to look at the long term consequences, if the child is clinically obese at 5 years old chances are his health care costs or her health care costs could be a half a million, a million dollars more over their lifetime."

"We can't afford that as a nation, we have to figure out a way, if we have to lengthen the school year, build some more time for activity into the school year and parents have to do more," he said.

CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin also appeared on Thursday's Washington Unplugged hosted by CBS News Congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes.