Be Active Outside!
Shannon Feaster, PCFSN Deputy Executive Director
June is Great Outdoors Month, the perfect time to renew your commitment to creating active communities across America. According to the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day to be healthy. When children are physically active, they achieve higher grades, record better attendance, and their classroom behavior improves. Put simply, active kids do better.
Just over four years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide campaign to create a brighter, healthier future for our America’s youth. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways for youth and families to be active is to play outside together. By linking families to nearby parks, trails and waters, Let’s Move Outside, led by the Department of Interior, provides fun ideas to get the whole family engaged.
Whether you are a playground builder, a city planner, or a community organizer, you are an important partner in our efforts to encourage youth to get up, get out, and be active every day where they live, learn, and play.
PCFSN offers a free recognition program that is easy to implement and is designed to inspire you, your families, and your networks to jumpstart or maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Presidential Active Lifestyle Award, known as PALA+, helps participants make physical activity and healthy eating part of their everyday life. Participation in PALA+ is one way to meet the recommendations of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans while the healthy eating goals are based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and the Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate.
The physical activity requirements for PALA+ are 60 minutes a day for kids and 30 minutes a day for adults, five days a week for six weeks. The nutrition component requires participants to add one healthy eating goal each week. Participants who complete the PALA+ program can receive a certificate signed by President Barack Obama or PCFSN co-chairs – New Orleans Saints quarterback, Drew Brees and three-time Olympic gymnast, Dominique Dawes. Sign up today and track your progress online at www.presidentschallenge.org. You can also offer the program through your networks as a fun engagement activity and customize your PALA+ page to send specific messages to your entire group.
The President’s Council remains committed to creating inclusive opportunities for Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. That is why we continue to promote and administer the I Can Do It, You Can Do It! (ICDI) mentoring program for people with disabilities. Our goal is to add at least 100 new sites across the nation by 2018 so we can help provide more opportunities for people with disabilities to be active and healthy.
For tips on how to be active throughout the summer or resources to share with your networks, visit www.fitness.gov and follow us on Twitter (@FitnessGov)!
Article reprint from Playground Magazine
Summer 2014, Vol. 14, No. 2, Page 26