Saturday is a day devoted to family health

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 27, 2019

By Toi Degree

Rowan Cooperative Extension

Saturday, Sept. 28, is National Family Health & Fitness Day. Celebrated annually on the last Saturday in September, this event was created by the Health and Information Resource Center in 1996 as a way to get people of all ages physically active.

So, what do you do on this day? Continue reading for several ideas of things that you and your family can do to incorporate more physical activity and increase the amount of time you spend together.

Break a sweat — Possible activities include taking a dance class, enjoying a bike ride outside, or going rollerblading. You’ll get health and fitness benefits without making it feel like a chore.

Get the community in on the action — Post fliers at schools, coffee shops and churches — and try and get your community to come together and make positive health and fitness changes. Kickball games, dance lessons and kickboxing sessions are great physical activities.

Have fun in the sun — Enjoy the breeze as you do yoga outdoors; get some vitamin D as you jump rope, hike, play tennis, basketball or badminton.

As Americans, we have so many unhealthy habits and those habits are not only costly in medical dollars, but they also affect your health a great deal, as well. Here are a few facts that are both shocking and saddening.

Too many Americans are not physically active:

  • A staggering amount of people — 80.2 million over the age of 6, to be exact — are physically inactive.

Not being physically active is expensive:-

  • Approximately $117 billion in healthcare costs are connected to physical inactivity due to the many health risks associated with it (diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.).

Physical education isn’t required in all 50 states:

  • Illinois, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New York and Vermont are the only states that require students in K-12 to participate in physical education.

High schoolers are video game-obsessed:

  • Approximately one-third of high school students spend three or more hours on a school day playing computer or video games.

Children are glued to screens:

  • Children spend about 8-9 hours per day in front of a screen (televisions, computers, phones, video games, etc.).

So, why is Family Health & Fitness Day USA important?  I’m so glad you asked; it is threefold in its importance.

It promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Approximately 13.7 million children and 93.3 million adults suffer from obesity. But thanks to Family Health & Fitness Day USA, events such as physical activities, health screenings and health workshops take place across the country, helping you to lead a healthier life.

• It motivates families to be active.

Check out the parks, schools, hospitals, malls and health clubs in your community on this day. They’re most likely offering physical activity events such as walk-athons, dance classes, low-impact exercises and sports games.

• It brings families together.

Whether you eat a healthy dinner together, play a game, participate in a relay race, or simply go for a walk in a local park, doing something together as a family is a bonding experience.

Events are hosted at community sites all over the country. People of all ages and skill sets can participate, so there’s no excuse for you and your family to sit on the sidelines during Family Health and Fitness Day USA. If there are no events nearby, you can always create them in your community.

For more information on how to celebrate, visit:

Toi N. Degree, Family & Consumer Education Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, 704-216-8970 or email at