Nearly 34 percent of adults age 20 and up, and nearly 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 are obese, with a body mass index greater than 30, according to the 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. More than 34 percent of adults are overweight with a BMI of 25 to 29.9. Movement burns calories, which aids weight loss. Physical games can help make fitness fun.
Family Weight-Loss Game
Chart your family's eating habits for eight to 12 weeks. Each person gets points for healthy food selections and loses points for bad choices. You can also earn points for the number of pounds lost and exercising. One cheat day per week for each person is allowed. Weigh-ins occur weekly. Each person makes a coupon book of 10 things he likes. For example, movie night or an afternoon of fishing. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game wins the coupon book. Other individual prizes may be awarded as well.
Neighborhood Food Pyramid Game
Divide participating neighborhood children into teams, each with an adult leader. Each team gets a different list of items representing groups in the food pyramid. They have a set time to go to participating neighbors' houses to find the items. Rather than actual items, neighbors give food names or picture cards worth points. The team with the most points wins. In a tie, the team that finishes first wins. The kids may gather afterward with their parents to discuss meal plans using the food cards collected.
Divide participants into teams, each with a leader. Write down clues and hide them throughout a given location, such as a house or hiking trail. One clue leads to the next. Each team searches for a different treasure, so use a different paper color for each team's clues. The first team to find its treasure before time runs out wins. This makes a festive holiday party game. For example, parents can hide Christmas gifts around the house and give children clues to find them.
This game is appropriate for groups such as civic organizations, neighborhoods and students. Divide participants into teams that compete in a variety of events such as volleyball, track, obstacle course, rock-wall climbing and tug-of-war. Award prizes to the top three finishers in each event. This game can be a fundraiser as well. Invite the public, provide refreshments and have fun.
Children and teens should get 60 minutes of exercise on most days. Adults should get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise most days to lose weight, and 60 to 90 minutes to help keep the weight off. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and low in fat and salt, is also important for weight loss. Design games for all ages and include seated play and smooth playing surfaces to accommodate participants with mobility issues.
- CDC; Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity and Extreme Obesity Among Adults ...; C.L. Odgen, Ph.D., et al.; June 2010
- CDC; Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity and Extreme Obesity Among Children ...; C.L. Odgen, Ph.D., et al.; June 2010
- Fun Fitness Learning: Physical, Mental, Life Skill and Educational Activities for Young People
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- My Pyramid: Your Personal Path to Health