A host of celebrities, leaders, corporates and other organizations are taking initiatives to promote health and fitness among the general public. Campaigns targeting special population groups such as children and youth are also being launched in order to improve their diet health and fitness.
The most high profile amongst such campaigns is the initiative started by US First Lady Michelle Obama entitled “Let’s move!”, The “Let’s Move!” campaign launched by Mrs.Obama encourages obese children in the United States to improve their health and fitness. It seeks to combat childhood obesity by combining healthy eating and increased activity levels.
Mrs.Michelle Obama highlighted the importance of healthy eating by encouraging people to grow kitchen gardens and eat fruits and vegetables directly from one’s own kitchen garden. She has made a series of appearances on television showing her growing vegetables in her kitchen garden in the White House along with groups of children in 2009.
In the end of September 2010, the US First Lady hosted spouses of leaders participating in the United Nations General Assembly at the Stone Barns Center, a farm where educational programs for children were being conducted. The event emphasized the importance link between good diet health and fitness by drawing attention to children participating in activities such as growing vegetables in the farm and collected eggs from hens.
Disney Health and Fitness Initiative with Michelle Obama
Walt Disney, famous for its cartoon characters and movies for children, unveiled a multimedia program in the US called the “Disney Magic of Healthy Living”. This campaign is meant to promote health and fitness among children through lifestyle changes including better diet and physical activity in children.
US First Lady Michelle Obama is set to appear in Disney’s television promotions along with other celebrities like Nick Jonas and Brenda Song, both stars on Disney television shows.
Disney also plans to provide playgrounds and spaces for children to play in and engage in fitness programs, with a grant of ten million dollars.
Through “The Magic of Healthy Living”, and supporting the “Let’s Move!” campaign of Mrs.Obama, Disney wants to encourage balanced diet health and fitness among children in the US.
The popularity of Disney characters among children will be an advantage in getting the message of health and fitness across to children effectively.
NFL to Build Health and Fitness Center for Kids
The National Football League in the US is going to build health and fitness center for kids throughout the US, according to a press release on October 19, 2010.
As part of a campaign to promote healthy living, kids will be encouraged to be more active. The health and fitness center built by NFL volunteers will have playgrounds and indoor health and fitness equipment.
The health and fitness center or NFL youth fitness zones would enable children to be an activity for at least an hour a day. This is a goal being promoted by the health and fitness campaign of NFL, entitled NFL Play 60.
Health and Fitness Tips for Children
There are a lot of children today who are couch potatoes – that is they sit in front of the television for long hours eating junk food.
Combined inactivity with unhealthy eating has resulted in an epidemic of obese children in the US and Western countries with low health and fitness levels.
Let’s take a look at some general health and fitness tips provided by various child health campaigns and policies.
- Keep Away from Fast Food – The Let’s Move! The campaign launched by Michelle Obama urges parents to keep children away from unhealthy food such as fast food or junk food and excessive sweet high-calorie beverages.
- Include vegetables and fruits – Mrs.Obama also stresses the importance of including vegetables and fruits in the diet. Michelle Obama also wants children to change their eating habits, snacking less between meals and eating fewer calories.
- Improve school meals quality – UK celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, is pushing for better school meals in the UK to improve the health of children. The UK government to ensures that school meals are healthy and nutritious. The UK government guidelines for school meals require that there should be adequate fruits and vegetables in every meal along with the meat of good quality. Carbonated drinks and chocolates are banned from school meals in the UK.
- Increase childhood activity – All the campaigns giving health and fitness tips want the family to support children in getting more physically active. A family, which spends time together in exercises or in trekking and outdoor activities, will ensure that their children have good fitness levels. In this regard, all campaigns seek more playgrounds, fitness centers for kids and sports facilities for kids.
Making Health and Fitness Fun!
Children generally do not like to be told what to do. They do not like to be ordered to eat vegetables or to be part of regimented exercise drills.
This is where the idea of making health and fitness fun for kids comes in. If kids enjoy healthy eating and playing sports, it would be easier for all to achieve goals of healthy and physically fit kids.
Media campaigns by Walt Disney would be especially attractive to children as their favorite cartoon or television characters give health advice.
Boys would be enamored by the NFL campaign for fitness centers as they consider football players as heroes.
Apart from media campaigns by people who can influence kids, Mrs.Obama also urges parents to allow children to discover healthy food such as vegetables for themselves. She herself recounts how her daughter Sasha started liking tomatoes after making a tomato sandwich in school herself. Children growing vegetables themselves would also find it more interesting and fun to cook and eat vegetables in various ways.
Making health and fitness activities for children fun and interesting is a way to ensure that they continue with habits of healthy eating and activity for the rest of their lives.