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VERB. It's What You Do — Letter to Parents and Guardians

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Many adults and children alike can benefit from regular physical activity. How many hours a week does your child spend in front of the TV or computer screen? The answer is probably too much. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created the VERB.™ campaign to encourage children ages 9–13 to get active in an exciting and safe way. It is also about getting involved with family and organizations like clubs, community groups and religious organizations.

Your child has been working on an in-school activity called VERB.™ It’s what you do. In School. In Action. as part of the VERB.™ It’s what you do. media campaign. Developed by Weekly Reader Custom Publishing in support of VERB, it encourages your child to discover new activities and new ways to have fun. By fitting positive activity into your child’s life you may help him or her stay out of unsafe or troublesome situations. You will also bring a special bond and element of fun to your family.

Children who are active often have higher self-esteem and confidence.1 This can help them as they grow older and start to make important decisions on their own. By being active, children also have better overall health and have less stress and anxiety.2 Children should try to be physically active for at least 60 minutes a day, five days a week, preferably every day.3

With your help and enthusiasm, your child and your family can become more active and healthier. Some ways to add positive activities to your child’s life include:

  • Talk to your child about activities that he or she finds interesting. Help him or her select safe, enjoyable activities.
  • Encourage children to be active with their friends, and to play outside in safe and supervised places such as playgrounds and parks.
  • Balance screen time (TV, video games, recreational computer use) with play time. Set limits on the amount of time your child spends watching television and playing video or computer games. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour or two a day spent watching TV.)
  • Make a schedule with neighboring parents to take turns watching the children play together after school and on weekends. This helps keep your children in a safe environment.
  • When possible, create a “Walking School Bus” where parents take turns walking children to school and “picking up” others as they go. For more information, visit www.walkingschoolbus.org.*
Try these ideas to get your family moving:
  • Walk to the park or walk around the zoo.
  • Roller skate or roller blade on Saturday mornings.
  • Go for a bike ride.
  • Play basketball, a game of catch, badminton, Frisbee,® stickball, volleyball or soccer.
  • Go bowling, hiking or swimming.
  • Volunteer together.
  • If you’ve wanted to take a karate or dance class, rent a tape and try it out together as a family.
For more fun activity ideas and tips, check out these Web sites:
  • www.fitfamilyfitkids.com* — Suggests strategies for improving your family’s physical activity and nutrition habits.
  • www.healthykids.com* — Offers health information, fun games and activities and more.

Don’t forget to check out the Web for community groups, parks and recreation, and religious groups for activities and ideas. A few Web sites that may be helpful are the YMCA (www.ymca.net*) and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org*).

  1. "Guidelines for Schools and Community Programs to Promote Lifelong Physical Activity Among Young People.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997.
    www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/physicalactivity/guidelines/index.htm
  2. “Guidelines for Schools and Community Programs to Promote Lifelong Physical Activity Among Young People.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1997.
    www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/physicalactivity/guidelines/index.htm
  3. “CDC’s Guidelines for School and Community Programs: Promoting Lifelong Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2000.
    www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/physicalactivity/guidelines/index.htm

©2003 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Created by Weekly Reader Corporation.


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