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Empower Your Family to Get Active

Sometimes families believe that there is very little they can do to increase their kids’ physical activity. Parents may believe that their kids’ activity level, or body size and type, is simply inherited — and that there is little they can do to inspire their children to be more physically active. Some experts are challenging these beliefs so that families feel more empowered to make some of the necessary changes to get kids more active.

“A lot of parents view weight status as part of normal growth: ’I’m large, my spouse is large, our children are going to be large.’ We owe it to families to be honest with them about what we know about growth and development.” Dr. Chris Bolling, Pediatrician, Edgewood, Ky.

Starting with simple changes like taking a short family walk after dinner and a longer walk or bike ride on the weekend, can quickly yield positive results. PBS parents includes a “healthy kids” portal complete with fitness ideas for kids and programs like Fizzy's Lunch Lab, which uses humor and fun to educate families about the value of healthy nutrition and physical activity.

For more ideas and recommendations, check out We Can!® (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition), which provides a science-based curriculum designed to help parents get kids active and healthy.

Action Tips for your Home

  • Limit Screen Time – Set limits on screen time and consider keeping TVs out of bedrooms to encourage quality sleep and more reading for pleasure. Kids spend an average of 5 to 7 hours a day in front of electronic media.
  • Fuel Up Smart – Set goals for having family dinner together. Plan dinners as a group and cook together. Try cooking meals with as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible, and limit frozen foods.
  • Keep It Fun – Take three 10-minute activity breaks during the day or a 30-minute walk after dinner. Balance on exercise balls during screen time or video game play to work out core muscles. Small changes make a big difference.