Mia Hamm, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and World Cup soccer star; Jennie Finch, U.S. Olympic gold medalist and Chicago Bandits softball star; and Vince Carter, U.S. Olympic gold medalist, NBA All-Star, and New Jersey Nets basketball star, are encouraging kids across the country to run, jump, skip, bike and dance their way to the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
As national champions of the Get 60 program, these celebrity athletes are challenging five million kids to get the daily amount of physical activity recommended by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new MyPyramid for Kids. Get 60, part of the Get Kids in Action partnership between the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and The Gatorade Company, is designed to identify proven solutions to encourage kids to be more active and reduce childhood obesity.
“There is no more important message that athletes can send to kids today than to get up, get active and enjoy what you’re doing,” said Mia Hamm. “As a former UNC student-athlete, I support Get 60 because I am as passionate about encouraging kids to get active as I am about winning on the soccer field.”
Mia Hamm, Jennie Finch and Vince Carter will serve as mentors to help children log their physical activity each day and will provide encouragement and ideas to help them reach their goal. Get Kids in Action offers the following tips for parents to help their families lead a healthy, active lifestyle and inspire their children to get 60 minutes of physical activity each day:
- Encourage your child to try a new activity, such as dancing, karate or an organized sport.
- Provide your child with active toys and games.
- Allow time for active play with friends, especially time outdoors.
- Plan active family weekends to hike, bike or swim together.
- Involve your children in active household chores.
- Walk or bike with your child to and from school.
- Create weekly family physical activity and nutrition goals.
- Limit television viewing, video games and other screen time to less than two hours a day.
Student-athletes at universities across the country will work closely with children for six weeks to help them identify activities they will be good at and enjoy. The student-athletes will lead kids in a weekly physical activity session and help them log their physical activity on an Activity Tracker to monitor and recognize their progress.
Pilot studies have shown that Get 60 works. After six weeks of visits from UNC student-athletes, 82 percent of children reported achieving 60 minutes of physical activity per day, a significant increase compared to 14 percent at the beginning.