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Fitness for parents : en Español


Do you want to support the health and happiness of the girls in your life? A great way to do that is to encourage them to be physically active. Being physically active can:

  • Reduce stress and improve sleep
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Promote a healthy weight
  • Build bones for strength
  • Help avoid health problems such as diabetes
  • Teach healthy habits that can last a lifetime

Of course, it can be hard to know how much and what types of exercise girls need. But our information for parents and caregivers can catch you up on the fitness basics.

Our overweight kids

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. If you think your child is obese or overweight, talk to her doctor about safe ways she can lose weight. Also ask if she needs to be checked for health problems that can come from obesity, such as diabetes. Make sure to give her the support she needs to lose weight — and the love and acceptance she needs to feel good about herself. Want to learn more about kids, activity, and weight? You can visit You also can explore BodyWorks, a program that teaches adults how to help teens stay a healthy weight.

It also can be a challenge to squeeze in time for exercise. We have tips that can help encourage girls to exercise. And remember, one great way to get girls to be active is to work out together. It's good for you, and helps build your relationship, too!

Making sure girls stay safe while getting fit is very important. Here are some suggestions:

  • Always provide the right safety equipment for an activity, such as a well-fitted helmet. This video will show you how to fit a helmet the right way. And make sure to use the right equipment yourself to stay safe and to be a good roll model.
  • Look over some fitness safety tips with your girl.
  • If a girl hasn't been active in a while, make sure she starts slowly and builds up gradually.
  • Offer lots of water, especially when it's hot out.
  • If a girl exercises so much that it interferes with the rest of her life, her physical and emotional health may be at risk. If you are concerned, talk with her doctor.


  1. Anabolic Steroids - This is useful information for helping teens avoid problems with steroids.
  2. Physical Activity Guidelines - These are guidelines for children and teens from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  3. Best Bones Forever! – The Best Bones Forever! Campaign encourages girls to get active and eat more foods with calcium and vitamin D. Why is this important? Because getting lots of physical activity and snacking on foods with calcium and vitamin D are what's best for bones! Healthy bones are important to grow strong and stay strong forever!
  4. Fitness – The section on fitness provides information, resources, and links to help girls learn more about fitness.
  5. Be a Roll Model - These are tips on bicycle safety.
  6. Let’s Move! – This website offers tips on how to encourage healthier, more active children.
  7. Parent Information– This website offers information on various parenting topics including child safety, staying healthy, and developmental milestones.
  8. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans: Children and Adolescents – This website has the most recent guidelines and recommendations on physical activity for children and adolescents ages 6 to 17.
  9. We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) – We Can! is a one-stop resource for parents and caregivers to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. It provides tips and resources to teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle.


  1. Compulsive Exercise - This is a helpful article from
  2. Fitness for Kids Who Don't Like Sports - This is a helpful article from
  3. Motivating Kids to Be Active - This is a helpful article from
  4. Sportsmanship - This is a helpful article from
  5. Strength Training and Your Child - This is a helpful article from
  6. Your Child’s Weight - This is a helpful article from
  7. Body Mass Index (BMI): A Guide for Parents, Educators, School Nurses, and Health Care Providers (Copyright © Center for Young Women’s Health) – This guide helps you understand how BMI is measured, the limitations of BMI measurement, and when to be concerned about your teen’s BMI. Check out the video to learn more!
  8. BodyWorks: A Toolkit for Healthy Teens and Strong Families – This program is designed to help parents and caregivers of teens improve family eating and activity patterns. The toolkit gives parents tools to make small, specific behavior changes to stop obesity and help maintain a healthy weight.
  9. Children and Sports: Choices for All Ages (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) – This fact sheet helps you choose kids' sports and other kid-friendly physical activities according to your child’s age.
  10. Helping Your Child: Tips for Parents – This website encourages you to take an active role in helping your child — and your families — learn healthy eating and physical activity habits.
  11. Lifetime Sports: Parental Roles in Facilitating and Supporting an Active Lifestyle for a Child with a Disability (Copyright © National Center on Physical Activity and Disability) – This publication helps parents of children with disabilities understand how to foster a positive attitude, communicate, select activities, and set goals in order to support physical activity in their children.
  12. Adobe PDF  Make Physical Activity Fun! – This fact sheet encourages your family to increase daily physical activity and have fun at the same time. It also gives parents suggestions on how your family can add more active time to a busy schedule.


  1. Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  2. American Heart Association
  3. Center for Young Women's Health
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS
  5. Division of Adolescent and School Health, CDC
  6. Girls on the Run International
  7. President's Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition
  8. Safe Routes to School National Partnership
  9. Smallstep Adult & Teen (PDF)
  10. The President's Challenge
  11. Weight-Control Information Network


Content last reviewed May 17, 2011
Page last updated October 31, 2013