Skip Navigation
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Banner

Get Active - Your Source for Reliable Health Information Send a personalized e-card to friends and family

Be Active Your Way Blog

February Blog Theme

February marks another milestone in the movement for a healthier generation - the 3rd year anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign. This month, Be Active Your Way bloggers will reflect on work that has been done to combat childhood obesity, as well as the road ahead.

To celebrate the Anniversary of Let's Move!, you'll hear from:

How Parents Can Be Role Models for Healthy Living

by AOSSM September 12, 2012

Childhood obesity has become a public health concern in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 12.5 million children and adolescents are obese. This number accounts for approximately 17% of children and adolescents between the ages of 2 and 19 in the United States. Worse, it estimates that the obesity rate among children and adolescents has tripled since 1980.

Many factors likely play a role in the trend for increasing childhood obesity in the United States. These factors include the consumption of fast food and soft drinks, lack of physical activity, and increased time spent watching television or playing video games.

While preaching better nutrition and physical activity to kids is essential, that message will likely prove far more effective if parents serve as better examples of good health.

What can parents do to lead healthy lifestyles and demonstrate those lifestyle behaviors to their children?

Teach better nutrition

Not only should kids eat healthier foods and drink healthier beverages, they should also learn to make better nutritional choices themselves. Getting rid of junk food and soft drinks can be good start for a healthier family, but children should learn how to choose healthier foods and beverages.

One idea that parents can consider for instilling proper nutrition involves taking the kids to the grocery store. Walk up and down the aisles and teach them why certain foods are more nutritious than others. Then allow them to select some of the foods and drinks themselves, perhaps for a family meal. If they can bring their own lunches to school, allow them to choose foods for their daily lunches.

By teaching nutrition at an early age, it's more likely these youth will make healthier food choices as they get older and more independent.

Limit screen time

The amount of time that kids spend staring at a screen is staggering. When parents consider how much time their children perform these activities, they need to consider how often their kids spend time watching TV, using computers, playing video games, watching movies, or looking at cell phones.

Studies show that kids between the ages of 8 and 18 watch television for an average of 4.5 hours per day. When other forms of screen time are included, this average jumps to 7.5 hours per day.

This screen time can increase the chances that a child becomes obese. Kids are likely to snack, especially on junk food, while watching TV. Also, these young kids will likely see hundreds of advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages during the television programs. More importantly, some of that 7.5 hours could be spent engaging in regular physical activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents limit their children's total media consumption to no more than one to two hours per day. While this guideline is critical for children and adolescents to follow, parents should use it as well. It is hard to preach limits on screen time if the parents come home and watch TV too.

Engage the family in physical activity

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that children and adolescents perform at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Parents can play a large role in helping their kids achieve these daily recommendations by engaging them in fun activities involving physical exertion. Jogging, walking, taking bike rides, hiking, and many other activities can be both fun and physically beneficial. To keep the kids enthusiastic about exercise, allowing them to bring their friends or encourage them to pick the activities.

If children see their parents exercising regularly, they are also more likely to accept it as a normal part of their own lives. They might look forward to exercising rather than perceiving it as some sort of punishment.

If parents commit to becoming healthier themselves - making better nutrition choices and performing regular physical activity - their children are much more liekly to emulate these behaviors.

What are you doing to engage your family in fitness?

Tags: , , , ,

Barriers | Recreation

Youth Sports Safety: Spreading the Word Through Social Media

by AOSSM April 18, 2012

April is Youth Sports Safety Month. To raise awareness about sports injuries among young athletes across the country, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM) and the STOP Sports Injuries campaign are looking at an evolving trend to increase outreach - social media. The campaign has had a Facebook and Twitter page since its inception, but campaign coordinators are now trying some different avenues.

On April 4, the STOP Sports Injuries campaign hosted its first ever tweetchat, which was hosted by Dr. David Geier. People from all over the country participated in the hour-long discussion about overuse inuries. Some topics included nutrition and hydration, education for parents and coaches, tips on preventing kids from playing through pain, and terrific ideas related to single-sport specialization. A summary of the chat is available online

With the success of the first chat, AOSSM and STOP Sports Injuries plan to hold these tweetchats on a regular basis. Twitter has demonstrated to be a great forum for parents, coaches, media, healthcare providers, and athletes to express their views and ask questions. Our next tweetchat will address concussions in youth sports. Please join us on April 25 at 12:00 p.m. EST in what we expect to be a lively discussion. You can follow along and contribute by using the hashtag #SportsSafety.

On April 17 we hosted a webcast about youth sports injuries. Speakers included renowned sports medicine professionals, including James Andrews, MD; Peter Indelicato, MD; Christopher Harner, MD; Lyle Micheli, MD; and William Levine, MD. Each speaker dicsussed various injury prevention strategies for parents and coaches to use. The event created an opportunity for attendees to interact - live! - with these top team physicians. Check back soon on the AOSSM website to view the archived webcast.

What are you doing to help promote youth sports safety in your local community? Please join us in supporting Youth Sports Safety Month, and help keep kids in the game and out of the operating room.

WALK! with Aegis Therapies invites participants to adopt healthier, active lifestyles

by ICAA August 24, 2011

What’s creative about walking? If you are Aegis Therapies, a leading provider of contract rehabilitation and wellness services in the United States, the answer is everything.

One of the company’s recent innovations, WALK! with Aegis Therapies, has garnered nationwide attention as more than 50,000 participants collectively walked about 100,000 miles by the end of the company’s weeklong celebration of health and wellness, held September 20–24, in 2010.

How did Aegis accomplish these numbers, especially given the fact that their first Walk Your Ageis event took place in 2009?

First off, the events are hosted at 582 client locations across the US, including independent living communities, assisted living centers, continuing care retirement communities, skilled nursing facilities, and other locations.

Everyone participating in WALK! with Aegis Therapies receives an activity card for the week. Attendees walk 15–30 minutes on each of the five days. They also listen to upbeat songs on CDs narrated by health and fitness expert Chris Freytag, which are custom-made for these activities. In addition to daily walking, the program features other activities designed to encourage active aging and wellness and highlight different dimensions of wellness. These events are structured to remind participants of the importance of nourishing their emotional and intellectual health, in addition to maintaining their physical well-being.

Each participant’s activity card is stamped to mark days they complete both the daily walking exercise and the wellness activity planned for the day. Participating sites calculate miles walked daily by participants at each location, and Aegis staff tally the total miles walked at locations across the nation. Aegis also track contributions of participants who are in wheelchairs or otherwise unable to walk, as they engage in other physical activities.

In addition to walking, each day of WALK! with Aegis Therapies incorporates another dimension of wellness as follows:

Monday: intellectual wellness
Creative and stimulating mental activities include trivia questions about America and brain teasers.

Tuesday: emotional wellness
Activities encourage participants to stay positive, connect with others, and remain physically active. Attendees write thank-you or caring notes to friends, loved ones or caregivers; alternatively, they may engage in another activity that promotes positive thinking.

Wednesday: spiritual wellness
A 15-minute guided meditation segment encourages participants to merge the physical realm of wellness with the spiritual.

Thursday: occupational wellness
Participants engage each other in a game that involves going through the alphabet and listing as many occupations as they can for each letter.

Friday: social wellness
Activities promote social wellness and the importance of socializing with others. Socializing involves using good communications skills, having meaningful relationships, respecting yourself and others, and creating a support system that includes family, friends and caregivers.


Ultimately, WALK! with Aegis Therapies helps to spread the word about the importance of getting—and staying—healthy, and that participants use the program as a springboard to a happier and healthier life.

What are you doing to turn basic ideas into creative programming?


Tags: , ,

Creative programming | Events | Older adults | Recreation

Skip Navigation

HHS | Accessibility | Privacy Policy | Freedom of Information Act | Disclaimer | Contact Us

This page last updated on: 11/04/2009

Content for this site is maintained by the
Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Link to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services -