Healthy Habits Start Early

Preschool is filled with learning opportunities every day. The classroom can be a learning laboratory where science can engage a youngsters mind for inquiry and exploration and make connections with healthy habits.

Active, Healthy Kids

Being healthy at school is about more than physical education. Kids can get their 60 minutes of daily play through activities before, during and after school, as well as during recess, intramural and physical activity clubs, interscholastic sports, and walks and bike rides to school.

Physical activity at school can help kids build strong bones and muscles, and decreases the likelihood of developing obesity and risk factors for diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But there are benefits in the classroom, too: regular physical activity can help kids improve their concentration, memory and classroom behavior.

Kids and teachers can mix it up at school, because all of these activities count as physical activity: dancing, playing tag, hula hooping, or even playing on a jungle gym.

How Schools Can Promote Physical Activity

  • Have policies that provide time for organized physical activity and free play.
  • Provide information to parents about the benefits of physical activity in messages sent home and at school events.
  • Encourage staff to be active. School staff and school leadership are role models for students.
  • Encourage families and local groups to be involved in school-based physical activities and events.

How Much Physical Activity Do Youth Need?

Aerobic Activities: Most of the 60 or more minutes per day should be either moderate- or vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Vigorous-intensity physical activity should be included at least 3 days per week.

Examples of aerobic activities: bike riding, walking, running, dancing and playing active games like tag, soccer and basketball


Muscle-strengthening Activities: Include muscle-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week as part of the 60 or more minutes. Examples of muscle-strengthening activities for younger children include gymnastics, playing on a jungle gym, and climbing a tree.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities: push-ups, pull-ups and weightlifting exercises


Bone-strengthening Activities: Include bone-strengthening physical activity on at least 3 days of the week as part of the 60 or more minutes.

Examples of bone-strengthening activities: hopping, skipping, jumping, running, and sports like gymnastics, basketball and tennis

Some activities may address more than one category at a time. For example, gymnastics is both muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening while running is aerobic and bone-strengthening. Activities should be age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety.

Multimedia – Beyonce Let’s Move! Move Your Body

School-age Kids by the Numbers:

  • Kids 8-18 years old spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies.
  • Only one-third of high school students get the recommended levels of physical activity.


Featured Videos

Learn more about healthy eating, moving and living in LA County by watching these videos.

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