Obesity is a major problem in the United States, and can cause health problems that range from type 2 diabetes, asthma, or even death. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 36 percent of adults and 17 percent of children in this country are considered obese. Although people often associate obesity with overeating or high calorie intake, there are other potential factors that contribute to excessive body weight and fat, such as genetics or inactivity. While there is little that one can do in terms of genetics, inactivity is a vital factor that can help prevent or reduce obesity.

For families, this lifestyle begins with the parents. As a parent, it is important to set a positive path for the future health of children as early as possible. This means it is vital to educate children on how to live a healthy life by having an active lifestyle and eating the right foods. One way that they can do this is to teach by example and increase physical activity for themselves. Even parents that are not currently fit or active can encourage and demonstrate healthy living by making a commitment to be more active and sticking with it. To do this, families may choose to exercise or participate in activities together. Activities should be fun and something that all family members can enjoy.

Family Ideas

Let’s Move: Active Families: This page discusses exercise and physical activity for the entire family. It lists ways that families can encourage children to be more active and how families can be more active together. Let’s Move is an initiative started by the First Lady Michelle Obama┬áto improve health and eliminate obesity.

President Active Challenge Award: Explains the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) on the President’s Challenge website. The challenge is meant to encourage people to eat better and exercise more often. It is for kids, teens and adults and the page explains the different physical activity and healthy eating goals for each group.
How Much Physical Activity do Children Need?: The Physical Activity for Everyone page on the CDC website. This page outlines how much physical activity is necessary for children. The page breaks physical activity up into three different types, aerobic, bone strengthening and muscle strengthening.

Get Active: A We Can! page on the National Heart and Blood Institute website that discusses activity and maintaining a healthy weight. The article explains the importance of activity for both children and adults in terms of health and it also lists other benefits that come from physical activity.

Get Active With Your Kids: An article that explains the importance of physical activity for children. The page lists ten activity tips that parents can use to encourage their children to be active, including activities that can be done as a family. It also lists the recommended physical activity levels by age group.

Getting Kids Active Ten Minutes at a Time: This article explains what the recommended level of activity is for children and explains briefly the benefits of encouraging children to meet this level. A large part of the article discusses breaking up the recommended amount of time into shorter periods that the child will more likely participate in.

Getting Children off of the Couch: A page on the Mayo Clinic website that discusses how parents can encourage their children to be more active. The article is broken into sections that include setting an example for children, limiting television time and encouraging more physical game play, particularly for children who play sedentary video games.

Motivating Kids to Get Fit: A PBS Parents article on how to motivate children to be more physically active and fit. The article lists how increased activity benefits children and how much physical activity is recommended by The American Heart Association. Included on this page is a list of ten ways that parents motivate their children.

Getting Fit the Fun Way: An article that discusses the trend of childhood obesity and ways that children can be active and become more fit. The primary focus of the article is fun ways that this can be done, such as dancing, active video fitness games, and climbing. It also lists a few activities that are not as fun or playful but will improve health.

Get Fit as a Family: An article on the Toronto Sun that discusses how families can get fit together by parents being a good role model and doing activities together with their children. It also discusses the dangers of obesity and being sedentary.

Disney Family: Getting Fit as a Family: An article that explains how parents can work exercise into their schedule by working out with their children. It explains the best way to do this is to make it fun and enjoyable for the family. The article also explains the physical benefits for everyone.

Healthy Kids – It’s a Family Thing: A list of fitness ideas that families can participate in as a group. Each suggestion offers a brief explanation of its benefits and why children will enjoy it.

Adults

Parents Who Exercise: Overcoming the Challenges: A four page article on the WebMD website that discusses the challenges that parenthood presents in terms of exercise and the importance of parents exercising for their children. The article also lists eight tips to help busy parents stay active.

Get Fit at the Playground: A slide show on the Parents magazine website that gives seven ideas on how parents can get fit when taking their children to the playground. Each tip is an exercise that utilizes the play sets that are available at the playground, such as swings and the jungle gym ladder.

Getting Exercise: A list of fitness and exercise questions and responses on the Berkeley Parents Network. Readers can click on the link for any specific question to view a number of responses on the specific question. Most of the questions are related to getting started with exercise.

Kids

Get Active – Be Healthy Afterschool Tool kit: An after school fitness guide created by the After school Alliance and Quaker Oats. The goal of this guide is for starting after school programs that implement fitness and health. It includes tips for after school program staff, an after school lesson plan for activities, and resources.

Be Active ASAP!: The Be Active After School Activity Programme (ASAP) is meant to improve fitness and increase physical activity for children in school. It is meant for children that are 7 to 8 years old and the program takes place after school. The programme also requires the support of parents for its success. Be Active ASAP! is based in Dublin, Ireland.

Kaboose: Active Kids: The Active Kids section on the Kaboose website. This section involves physical fitness and health activities and topics for kids in pre-school, grade school and for teens. It also has sections on healthy eating, body and weight image.

Children – Getting Them Active: A web page that discusses the benefits of getting children active in terms of physical and mental health. The article also reviews the recommended amount of activity for children that are between the ages of five and twelve and the importance of starting good fitness habits early. Other areas discussed in the article include structured exercise alternatives, parents setting a good example, and continued physical activity in colder months.

Motivating School Age Kids to be Active: A KidsHealth article on getting children physically active. The article explains how to help children find their best methods of activity, the recommended amount of activity for kids and basic activities and fitness ideas for different age groups. It explains that activities for younger children should be more basic than for older, more coordinated children.

Sports Associations for Kids

USSA: The website for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, which is the governing body of U.S. Olympic skiing and snowboarding. This association is geared towards young people with an interest in skiing and snowboarding competitively. It has a number of athletic programs for alpine, freestyle, nordic, freeskiing, and snowboarding.

Bowl.com: Bowl.com is the website for the United States Bowling Congress. In terms of youth outreach, visitors will find information on eligibility, awards, membership options, and scholarships.

National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA): Located in Colorado, the NSCA is an association that focuses on the training and conditioning of athletes in order to improve performance and fitness. It was established in 1978 and currently serves 52 countries and has almost 30,000 members. The website includes free training videos and podcasts.

Youth Basketball of America: Located in Orlando, Florida, Youth Basketball of America promotes basketball for youth all over the world. This membership organization is designed to promote self-confidence and esteem while also helping to promote good sportsmanship and teamwork. Offer benefits offered include tournaments, educational clinics, scholarships, insurance programs and uniforms.

Little League Online: The online website for Little League Baseball and Softball. This website provides information for players, parents, managers and coaches, and media. Visitors to the site will also have access to publications, forms, equipment and merchandise and the ability to start or find a nearby Little League.

Youth Volleyball Association: The Youth Volleyball Association is an organization that is serves Portland, Oregon. It is designed for volleyball players that are in the third grade through the eighth grade. Parents can link to information regarding the Boys League, equipment, leagues and camps, and volunteer opportunities. Kids may access links to Club Volleyball, games and highlights, the teen mentor program and current standings.

USA Track and Field: USA Track and Field is the governing body for United State track and field, race walking, and long-distance running. Information on events, stats and athletes can be found on the website. In addition, visitors to the site will also have access to products and services such as youth videos, and registration to merchandise and club or organizational memberships.

The Mat: The Mat.com is associated with USA Wrestling, which is the governing body for wrestling in the United States. The Mat offers free video downloads for members, information about memberships, clubs, events and age and weight divisions.

National Club Swimming Association: The NCSA is a swimming club organization. Swimming clubs must be professionally coached, independently operated, and located within the United States. Visitors to the site will find information on memberships, Junior National Championships, and the All-Star Team Program.

U.S. Youth Soccer: U.S. Youth Soccer is an organization for kids of all ages and skill levels. Visitors to the website will find information and facts about soccer, information to state soccer associations, club or field locators and programs. In addition, there is also further information for parents in terms of videos, pocket guides and education.

The National Youth Hockey League: The website to the National Youth Hockey League that updates and provide information regarding games, scores and states. The website also offers links to forms and policies and the New England Sports Center.

American Youth Football and Cheer: An international organization for youth cheerleading and youth football. The website includes information on scholastics and championships. It also establishes rules and regulations and provides detailed information on both the football and cheerleading aspects of the organization.

USRowing: A membership organization that is the governing body for the rowing in the United States. It manages the rowing teams that represent the U.S. in competitions around the world. Membership is available to casual and junior rowers as well as masters. Visitors to the website will find information on safety, national teams, and domestic rowing.

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