Fit Resources

Eat Healthy

Parents and caregivers play a key role in not only making healthy choices for children and teaching children to make healthy choices for themselves. But in today’s busy world, this isn’t always easy. So Let’s Move! offers parents and caregivers the tools, support and information they need to make healthier choices while instilling healthy eating habits in children that will last a lifetime.

Nutrition Information

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, put forth by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide science-based advice for individuals over the age of two to promote health and reduce the risk of major chronic diseases. The current Dietary Guidelines, encourage most Americans to eat fewer calories, be more physically active, and make wiser food choices.

MyPlate

USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, serves as a quick visual reminder to all consumers to make healthy food choices when you choose your next meal, built off of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for all Americans. MyPlate can help prioritize food choices by reminding us to make half of our plate fruits and vegetables and shows us the other important food groups for a well-balanced meal: whole grains, lean proteins, and low fat dairy.

Empower Consumers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently deliberating on how to enhance the usefulness to consumers of point-of-purchase nutrition information. This includes information on the main display panel of food products, called “front-of-pack” labeling. The new labeling provides 65 million parents in America with easy access to the information they need to make healthy choices for their children.

Pediatricians as Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics, in collaboration with the broader medical community, is educating doctors and nurses across the country about obesity to ensure that they regularly monitor children’s BMIs, provide counseling for healthy eating early on, and, for the first-time ever, write a prescription for parents laying out the simple things they can do to increase healthy eating and active play.

 

Get Active

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. In combination with healthy eating, it can help prevent a range of chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and stroke, which are the three leading causes of death. Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat, promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development, and decreases the risk of obesity. Children need 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to grow up to a healthy weight.

If this sounds like a lot, consider that eight to 18 year old adolescents spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies in a typical day, and only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity. To increase physical activity, today’s children need safe routes to walk and bike ride to school, parks, playgrounds and community centers where they can play after school, and activities like sports, dance or fitness programs that are exciting and challenging enough to keep them engaged.

Let’s Move! aims to increase opportunities for kids to be physically active, both in and out of school and to create new opportunities for families to move together.

  • Active Families: Engage in physical activity each day : a total of 60 minutes for children, 30 minutes for adults.
  • Active Schools: A variety of opportunities are available for schools to add more physical activity into the school day, including additional physical education classes, before–and afterschool programs, recess, and opening school facilities for student and family recreation in the late afternoon and evening.
  • Active Communities: Mayors and community leaders can promote physical fitness by working to increase safe routes for kids to walk and ride to school; by revitalizing parks, playgrounds, and community centers; and by providing fun and affordable sports and fitness programs.

Start a Community Garden

A vegetable garden is great way to engage members of your community or congregation around healthy, local food. The garden will also serve as an educational tool to teach children that healthy eating can be fun and taste good. Below are some tips on how to start a garden. You can also check out this guide.

  1. Create a Committee: Begin by establishing a committee – invite community or congregation members and neighbors to join. Get people energized!
  2. Divvy up Responsibilities: Before planting the first seeds, there are some important decisions to make. The garden committee will help make ongoing decisions to keep the community project sustainable. Duties may include: locating the site, testing the soil, working with your local agricultural extension office, building relationships with the local health department, or assigning plots.
  3. Find the Land: Look for a vacant plot that gets plenty of sun (at least six hours a day), is located near a water source, and has good drainage. Test the soil pH levels; your local university may offer this service at a low cost.
  4. Secure the Site: Once you find a potential site, visit your local government office to find out who owns the land. If your organization is a non-profit or faith-based group, consider the land at your place of worship or facility. Also, try looking to government agencies as partners in providing land. The National Park Service for example, allows groups to form community gardens in parks. Learn from other community gardens in the area to find out how they obtained their site and got started.  After choosing a site, contact the landowner to obtain permission for the community garden plot and think about a multi-year lease for future seasons.
  5. Design the Garden: Meet with the garden committee to determine how to set up your garden space. A shared garden will encourage gardeners’ to work together throughout the season and share the harvest, while individual plots may help ensure dedicated participation. Consider factors such as irrigation, a shed for tools and supplies, and trash removal. Here are some design ideas to get the committee started:
    • A garden sign that displays partners and participants.
    • A community bulletin board.
    • A picnic table for gardeners to rest or enjoy the bounty of the land.
    • Children’s areas with small plots or sand boxes.
    • Plants on the perimeter that are drought resistant but draw in pollinating friends like bees or butterflies.
  6. Start Planting: Start getting shovels in the ground! Clean up and clear the site to establish and assign plots. USDA’s National Agricultural Library offers additional resources on starting your garden. Watch interest in the garden expand as members of your community and congregation begin to see vegetables grow.

Community Partners