Be Active Your Way Blog
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month! This month, organizations, schools, worksites, and communities across the nation are celebrating the benefits of being physically active, and the strides we've all made to help Americans move more. During May, take some extra time to enjoy the fun and excitement of being physically active with your friends, coworkers, and family.
How are you or your organization recognizing National Physical Fitness and Sports Month? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to contribute a blog post!
If you are like many of us, you have found that applying the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in your communties, families, and everyday lives can be challenging. These two important policy documents provide guidance on the importance of being physically active and selecting nutritious foods for living a long and healthy life. However, we know individuals are frequently crunched for time, on a limited budget, or just do not know how to make healthy foods taste yummy. Whatever challenges members of your community face when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshops can help you teach adults how to be active and make healthy food choices everyday in the places where they live, work, and play.
Based on the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelies for Americans and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, the Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshops are designed for community educators, health promoters, dietitians/nutritionists, cooperative extension agents, and others to teach adults how to put the Guidelines into practice in their everyday lives. This information is creatively packaged in six easy-to-use, interactive workshops. Each workshop contains specific learning objectives, icebreaker activities, talking points, handouts, evaluation forms to gather feedback from participants, and hands-on activities for helping to make lasting lifestyle changes. In addition, the workshop series includes video vignettes, live demonstrations, and a list of helpful resources. The complete Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshop series is made up of the following:
1. Enjoy Healthy Food That Tastes Great
2. Quick, Healthy Meals and Snacks
3. Eating Healthy on a Budget
4. Top Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off
5. Making Healthy Eating Part of Your Total Lifestyle
6. Physical Activity is the Key to Living Well
We know every community and every family is different. That’s why the Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshops and corresponding materials were created to be suitable for all groups of adults, including those who may not have the ability to find, understand, and use basic health information. Developed using health literacy principles, the workshops were pilot tested at ten sites across the U.S., including cooperative extension programs, worksite wellness programs, Head Start, and community groups. After attending the workshops, many participants reported increased physical activity levels and positive behavior changes in their nutrition choices. So no matter where your community is located, the Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshops can help you teach adults how to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyles through regular physical activity and healthy eating.
Download all the workshops, along with an introduction and appendix section, for free at www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
How could you use the Eat Healthy ● Be Active Community Workshops in your community?
Tags: Community workshop series, dietary guidelines, physical activity guidelines, health education
News & Reports | Preventing Obesity | Tools
The 2nd anniversary of the Let's Move! campaign provides a moment to raise awareness of the obesity epidemic and reflect on two years of real progress.
Thanks, in large part, to Let's Move!, concern over obesity now extends beyond public health circles and may be found in local schools, faith-based organizations, and town meetings. And, perhaps most importantly, the Let's Move! campaign seems to have ignited a golden age of innovation for anti-obesity programs designed to create sustainable healthy habits.
But what fascinates me most about Let's Move! is the role of its champion, First Lady Michelle Obama. Of course, her standing as First Lady provides her with a podium and an audience, but it has been the combination of her passion and energy that has fueled the development of countless initiatives around the nation. Quite simply, she has accomplished what very few studies or policy statements can ever hope to do - she has inspired people to take action.
She is widely viewed as a talented, charismatic communicator, but her skill set is by no means unique in America. American communities are full of passionate and energetic folks who can rally others to their causes. Community leaders are part of our national heritage.
One of this year's major goals for the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) will be to encourage and support the efforts of IHRSA health clubs - i.e. passionate fitness advocates - to transform their facilities to vital community hubs for healthy living and disease prevention. We believe, wholeheartedly, that the success of the Let's Move! team may be replicated on a local scale by fitness centers. In fact, it's already happening.
IHRSA's commitment to health promotion will be on full display this month at IHRSA's 31st Annual Convention & Trade Show in Los Angeles, CA.
The convention schedule includes sessions such as, "Leveraging Healthcare & Wellness Programming to Better Serve the Community," "If Exercise is Medicine, How do Health Clubs Cure Illness?" and "Lessons from Corporate Wellness to Get People Active."
The capstone session, however, will be a keynote presentation and panel with members of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition ("the Council") to discuss the IHRSA Joining Forces Network and other opportunities for health clubs to impact the wellness of their communities. IHRSA's Get Active America program, for example, will empower clubs to become champions for the Council's PALA+ program, which encourages folks to be active and improve their diet 5 days/week for at least 6 out of 8 weeks. Another offering, IHRSA's I Lost it at the Club, provides clubs with an 8-week turnkey program for responsible weight loss.
For more information on IHRSA's effort to support the operation of health clubs as vital community resources, please check out our Vision for a Healthier, More Prosperous America, and let us know what you think.
What are other organizations doing to create community champions?
Tags: Let's Move, Physical acitivty, childhood obesity, community leaders
Building Healthy Communities | Preventing Obesity
Like a lively puppy that is thriving, joyously active and everywhere at once, Let's Move! has energized America with no sign of slowing down. In just a year, First Lady Michelle Obama's initiative has prompted families, individuals and organizations to take health into their own hands. Collectively, we're eating better and finding ways to be more physically active. It adds up to healthier lifestyles for a whole spectrum of people and reflects encouraging momentum in the fight against childhood obesity.
As more and more of us connect the dots - through Let's Move!, the National Physical Activity Plan, Exercise is Medicine (EIM) and countless other initiatives - we're helping the movement mature. Recounting success stories and lessons learned lets us share best practices. EIM on Campus connects colleges and universities with one another, but also with their local communities. Groups like the National Society of Physical Activity Practitioners in Public Health allow professionals to learn from one another and share resources.
We're learning not only from one another, but from new research about exercise, nutrition, physiology and motivation. This is essential to make sure our programs and policies will be effective. From molecular-level, basic science to studies of group interaction and epidemiology, new knowledge is providing a solid base of evidence to underpin our efforts.
Similarly, approaches to healthier lifestyles range from the granular to the global. We know that every bite we consume, every calorie expended, brings with it a health impact. Individual actions become habits, with immense effects on individuals over time. Family members influence one another, and whole communties can gain a collective consciousness or identity around healthy lifestyles (think Portland, Oregon, where bicycling is a shared passion).
A spectrum of solutions
Some of us emphasize physical activity and exercise, but we know that's just one factor in the health equation. Nutrition plays a huge role, as do tobacco and alcohol use, air quality and more. We've learned that all these elements must work together, and that healthy behaviors must become part of our everyday lives to be effective. And their adoption requires the kind of one-on-one modeling that happens in families, classrooms and circles of friends - but also the collective action that is reflected in organizational and community policies.
The vision reflects the range of benefits, from individual health and quality of life to societal gains in worker productivity and reduced health care costs. We're getting there, thanks to a growing foundation of research, immeasurable individual effort, and the unstoppable enthusiasm of initiatives like Let's Move.
How do your efforts complement the work of Let's Move!, the National Physical Activity Plan and other initiatives?
How can we activate more people to "think globally; act locally" to foster healthier lifestyles?
Tags: Let's Move, physical activity, childhood obesity, Physical Activity Plan
Building Healthy Communities | Exercise is Medicine | National Plan | Preventing Obesity
This page last updated on: 11/04/2009
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Office of Disease Prevention & Health Promotion, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.