The numbers are in and they are staggering! Only 30% of children are active every day; less than 20% of adolescents get enough exercise to meet aerobic guidelines; less than 20% of adults get enough exercise to meet muscle-strengthening and aerobic exercise guidelines (President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, 2013). Obesity in the United States, measured from the early 1970s to 2008, has doubled in children 2-5 years, quadrupled in children 6-11 years, tripled in children 12-19 years, and doubled in adults. Americans over-consume recommended daily allowances of solid fats, saturated fats, added sugars, refined grains, and sodium while under consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, oils, and dairy. Adolescents ages 8-18 spend an average of over 7.5 hours a day viewing video screens (television, video games, computers, etc.). Approximately only one fifth of American homes are located within a half-mile of a park, recreation, or fitness center.
What does it take to get active? It’s simple. Forget gym memberships and equipment! Adults and children, 5 days a week, need 30 minutes and 60 minutes of daily exercise, respectively (President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, 2013). Put down the remote, laptop, tablet, or video game. Take the dog for a walk. Do yard work. Take the children to the park and walk around the play area while they play. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Replace the coffee break with a walk around the building. Ride a bicycle or walk to the store.
Making small adjustments to your daily routine can increase the physical and emotional health of your family at little or no extra cost! More information is available at www.fitness.gov.
President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. (2013). Facts & Statistics: Physical Activity. Retrieved from President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition: http://www.fitness.gov/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/