May Is National Physical Fitness And Sport Month
Statement by: Shellie Pfohl, Executive Director
President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month: a great time to renew your commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activities Among Youth, youth need 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day where they live, learn, and play. In addition to physical health benefits, regular activity provides cognitive health benefits as well. Research shows that when children are physically active, they achieve higher grades, record better attendance, and their behavior improves. Put simply, active kids do better.
Just over four years ago, First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, an initiative designed to end childhood obesity within a generation and create a brighter future for our nation’s youth. Today we can say that Let’s Move! has actually moved America in a healthier direction. HHS and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) have partnered with individuals, organizations, and companies to help further the vision of Let’s Move!
Let’s Move! Active Schools, an initiative that engages school and community leaders to provide students with more opportunities to be physically active before, during and after school, has welcomed the participation of more than 8,200 schools—more than 3.5 million students nationwide, since its launch. PCFSN also continues its work with schools through the Presidential Youth Fitness Program ,which supports quality physical education.
In addition to encouraging physical activity in the school environment, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) has engaged more than 400 cities to transform their communities. The creation of safe routes to schools, maintenance of outdoor community play areas, and local environmental education programs help make the healthy choice—daily physical activity—the easy choice for residents. LMCTC now impacts over 63 million people nationwide.
HHS remains committed to creating inclusive opportunities for Americans of all backgrounds and abilities. The I Can Do It, You Can Do It! (ICDI) mentoring program for children and adults with disabilities will celebrate its one-year anniversary this May. ICDI facilitates and encourages adults and children, regardless of ability, to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and good nutrition.
Throughout the month and beyond, HHS and PCFSN are encouraging children and families to get up, get out and be active. Whether it’s running around on the blacktop before school or work, or walking around the neighborhood with your family after dinner, set aside at least 60 minutes for some fun physical activity each day.
For tips on ways to be active, visit www.fitness.gov. Help us spread the word by sharing the National Physical Fitness and Sports Month toolkit: http://healthfinder.gov/NHO/MayToolkit.aspx.