Move More Everyday

Families, Food and Fitness February 14, 2013 Print Friendly and PDF
girl jumping rope

Physical activity is important for good physical and mental health, as well as a healthy body weight. It reduces the risk for certain cancers, diabetes and high blood pressure, and contributes to healthy bones and muscles. It is also important for children’s growth and development. The benefits of physical activity are not just related to reducing risk for chronic disease and helping maintain a healthy weight. Physical activity has also been shown to have positive effects on learning. Evidence suggests that students in elementary through high school perform better academically when they are physically active.

How Much Do We Need?

Children and youth need 60 minutes to several hours daily of moderate to vigorous physical activity. Choose a variety of activities to keep it interesting. The physical activity does not have to occur at one time. It can occur in several 10-15 minute sessions throughout the day. Adults need at least 30 minutes of physical activity to reduce the risk of chronic disease. More physical activity is needed to maintain weight, loose weight or improve fitness. The most important thing is to get started. Walk after dinner, dance to a song on the radio, move during commercials when watching TV, park further away from your destination and add some steps.

Focus on play and enjoyment for you and your family.

  • Plan to be more active – establish physical activity as a routine part of everyday life for all family members
  • Make it fun
  • Try different activities
  • Learn about and use public facilities and community programs for physical activity in your area
  • Encourage active play instead of TV and video games
  • Choose activities you can enjoy for a lifetime


Fit Physical Activity Into Your Day Video


Strong WB, Malina RM, Bumkie CJ, Daniels SR, Dishman RK, Gutin B., et al. Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth. Journal of Pediatrics. 2005; 146, 732-37.

Children need greater amounts of physical activity in 2004. National Association for Sport and Physical Education. Available at

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005. Available at

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. The National Survey of Children’s Health 2003. Available at

California Department of Education. Getting results: developing safe healthy kids update 5. Available at



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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.