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.

Kids working out at a fitness classLet’s Move! supports the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA+) challenge, which helps individuals commit to regular physical activity and healthy eating -- and rewards them for it. The challenge is for anyone, from students to seniors, but it’s geared toward people who want to set themselves on the road to a healthier life through positive changes to physical activity and eating behaviors.

For kids and teens (that’s anyone between 6 and 17 years), your goals are:

  • Physical activity: You need to be active 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks. As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (girls’ goal: 11,000; boys’ goal: 13,000).
  • Healthy eating: Each week, you’ll also focus on a healthy eating goal. There are eight to choose from, and each week you will add a new goal while continuing with your previous goals. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll be giving your body more of the good stuff it needs.

For adults (that’s anyone aged 18 and older), your goals are:

  • Physical activity: You need to be active 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks. As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (goal: 8,500).
  • Healthy eating: Each week, you’ll also focus on a healthy eating goal. There are eight to choose from, and each week you will add a new goal while continuing with your previous goals. By the end of the six weeks, you’ll be giving your body more of the good stuff it needs.


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

Kids about to cook using fresh produceThe 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.

MyPlate Recipes

Finding healthier recipes to serve your family is easier than ever, now that five of America’s largest media companies have teamed up with Pinterest and the Partnership for a Healthier America on an effort to make it easier for their millions of online visitors to put nutritious meals on the table every day. Condé Nast, Hearst Magazines, Meredith, Food Network and Time, Inc. have identified thousands of nutritious recipes that meet the guidance that supports USDA’s MyPlate, and are labeling, compiling and promoting these recipes on their most popular cooking websites. Check out a new Pinterest page for thousands of recipes, a site that provides a one-stop-shop where parents, beginner home cooks and even the most experienced chefs can find and share healthier recipes.

Have Fun with Fruit

Fruits have important nutrients to keep your body healthy. Here are a few ideas of how to enjoy more fruit, more often:

  • Grab an apple for a quick snack. Try different types like red delicious, gala, fuji or granny smith – there are over 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide!
  • Join your parents on food shopping trips. Ask to try new fruits like peaches, cantaloupe, pears and kiwi – there are a lot of sweet and delicious fruits that you can have fun tasting.
  • Make a fruit salad with a mix of strawberries, oranges, grapes and pineapple – or whatever else you have in the house.
  • Mix it up! Blend frozen fruit, juice and low-fat or fat-free yogurt to make a healthy shake that tastes great.
  • Top cereal, oatmeal, or toast with strawberries, blueberries or bananas.
  • Drink 100% juice without added sugar – try fresh orange or apple juice.

Vary your Veggies

Vegetables have the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs to grow up healthy. Here are some simple ideas to eat more veggies everyday:

  • Snack on veggies like baby carrots, cucumber slices, and celery sticks.
  • Keep it colorful – make a salad with a variety of veggies, like corn, carrots, and spinach!
  • Join your parents on food shopping trips and choose new veggies like sweet potatoes, beets, red pepper or sugar snap peas – have fun exploring colorful varieties, learning about what’s in season and tasting new foods.
  • Try mixing vegetables into your favorite foods. For instance, order a veggie pizza with toppings like mushrooms, green peppers, and onions – ask for extra veggies.

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Eating healthy doesn’t have to cost more. Use these tips and materials from USDA to help you make choices that are not only healthy but also economical.

  • The 3 P’s ― Plan, Purchase, and Prepare Food on a Budget (pdf), these reminders help you stay within your food budget.
  • Smart Shopping for Veggies and Fruits (pdf), get the fruits and vegetables you need without breaking the bank.
  • Sample 7 Day Menu (pdf), this sample weekly menu meets all nutritional needs at a cost below current average food costs.