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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

With video games, the Internet and impressively expansive cable channel options serving as enticing distractions, fewer and fewer children are venturing outdoors and engaging in physical exercise. As a parent, one of your most important duties is helping to ensure your children’s health and establishing good practices that will last them well into adulthood. So how do you encourage your kids to go outside and play?

When her husband took office, first lady Michelle Obama set out to change this by launching the “Let’s Move” campaign. This campaign, which focuses on getting children to engage in exercise as well as encouraging them to eat right, has made some major strides since its inception. From motivating more kids to strap on a pair of running shoes to increasing their desire to make healthy diet choices, this program has done much to improve the physical health of the youngsters who fill this country.

Get the Word Out

Kids may be more likely to engage in physical activity if they deem doing so as cool. To make getting fit seem all the rage, Disney has paired with the NHL and MLB to produce public service announcements. These announcements, which have already begin airing on the Disney network, encourage kids to get off the sofa and go get some exercise.

Playground Makeovers

Children can’t play outside if they lack a safe place to do so. To ensure that this problem doesn’t keep kids indoors, the “Let’s Move” campaign has reached out to communities around the country and provided them support in revamping their outdoor play places. With new, safe play places at their disposal, children have one less excuse not to spend their leisure time outside.

Food Service Provider Buy-in

All too often, children are offered tempting food that simply isn’t healthy. Part of the “Let’s Move” initiative is aimed at correcting this problem. Due to the efforts of those backing this initiative, three of the largest food service providers have pledged to offer healthier foods. These agreeable providers promise to increase their offerings of foods with reduced fat and sugar levels as well as offer a larger quantity of fruits and vegetables.

Pass the Dressing

The Fruit and Vegetable Alliance in conjunction with the Food, Family and Farming Foundation have put their muscle behind the “Let’s Move” efforts as well, pledging to install 6,000 salad bars in schools across the country within three years time. Both the initiative backers and these sponsoring groups hope that by presenting students with some leafy green options they can effectively encourage them to skip the chips and select something a bit healthier come lunch time.

BMI Screenings

The American Academy of Pediatrics joined forces with the “Let’s Move” campaign and pledged that 100% of pediatricians would perform BMI (Body Mass Index) screenings at well-visits for children. The hope is that through the performing of these screenings parents will be better informed as to their children’s current levels of health and, by connection, more motivated to help their children improve their physical fitness if doing so is necessary.

Childhood obesity is an undeniable health problem facing Americans today. Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative aims to combat this problem and get children moving for the betterment of their health. With this program and others like it in place, responsible adults can work to encourage children to make physically healthy recreation and dietary choices.

Image courtesy of USDAgov