Healthy Giving for Healthy Living by Rob Bisceglie, Executive Director of Action for Healthy Kids… Holiday gifts are often as decadent as the parties at which they are given. Occasions for overindulging are frequent for the last weeks of the year, just as physical activity levels decline thanks to shorter, colder days. Gift giving – to family members, teachers, friends and coworkers – is a perfect opportunity to contribute to their good health.

The toys and games that kids receive as gifts often encourage sedentary behavior. Adults can teach and model healthy habits by giving presents that encourage physical activity.

Action for Healthy Kids suggests these easy ideas for giving the gift of health this holiday season:

• Fresh produce. Find bountiful baskets at a local grocery store, send a bushel from an online citrus grower, or join an online “Fruit or Veggie of the Month” club.
• Join a gym. Give membership to an athletic club or the YMCA.
• Find a fun fitness class. Gift certificates are available for gymnastics, yoga, aerobics, rock climbing, tae kwon doe, dance lessons and dozens of other active endeavors.
• Make a healthy toolbox. Give toys that can be used in the basement or garage during inclement weather. Include balls, jump ropes, hula hoops, bubbles, and chalk for hopscotch.
• Embrace the cold. Snow toys, skis, sleds, and skates make cold weather fun!
• Plan a family adventure. In lieu of wrapped presents, an active vacation will thrill the family! Try hiking, biking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, or a walking trek.
• Make the most of screen time. Kids of all ages love motion-controlled video games, music video dance games, and exercise DVDs.
• Don’t forget the favorites. Bikes, tricycles, pogo sticks, roller or in-line skates, and scooters have always kept kids moving!

A fresh, health-driven perspective can make the holiday season an opportunity for children and adults alike to start practicing healthier habits. Why wait for the New Year?

About Action for Healthy Kids
Action for Healthy Kids is the nation’s leading nonprofit and volunteer network fighting childhood obesity and undernourishment by helping schools become healthier places and our kids learn to eat right and be active every day. A collaboration of more than 67 organizations, corporations and government agencies supports grassroots efforts by thousands of volunteers nationwide. In 2009 Action for Healthy Kids reached nearly 4 million children in 8,000 schools. Visit online at www.ActionforHealthyKids.org