Physical Activity

Kids are moving less today than they were 20 years ago. This sedentary lifestyle, influenced by many hours in front of a screen, lack of physical activity and other factors, is putting kids more at risk for being overweight or obese. Physical activity levels have decreased even more with the increased used of cars, elevators, escalators, improved forms of urban transportation and suburban designs that encourage driving instead of biking or walking.

Communities that were not built for easy active transportation and not equipped with safe places for families to play outside are also at risk for more inactive time and a higher risk of obesity. Additionally, some think that physical exercise could be costly, such as membership fees to belong to a health club or own sporting equipment.

At school, recess is endangered with growing school curriculum mandates; only 16 percent of kids walk or bike to school and the exclusivity of competitive sports can leave some on the sidelines.

Best Practices

The U.S. Health and Human Services recommend that all children and teens should do one hour of physical activity every day. According to 2006 estimates, nearly two-thirds of adolescents do not meet these recommendations. Throughout any given week, it is recommended that children and teens should participate in at least three days of aerobic, muscle strengthening and bone strengthening physical activity and/or exercise. Adults serve as an important role model for how important physical activity is in our everyday lives and are recommended to be physically active with their children, family members and friends. For more information, click here to read the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Local Response

Visit any one of these great resources for more information about how you can stay active every day.

How to Take Action

Fit physical activity into your every day routine:

  • Park farther away
  • Walk or bike to school and work
  • Take the stairs at work
  • Break it up throughout your day in small 10 minute sessions
  • Wear a pedometer, count your steps
  • Do a fun family physical activity
  • Start a tradition to go on a walk after dinner
  • Turn off the TV