Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Resources

Overweight and obesity have greatly increased during recent decades. Contributing factors include physical inactivity, excessive food consumption, and unhealthy food choices. According to the State of Obesity report, 28.1% of adults; 15.1% of 2-4 year olds and no data for 10 -17 year olds, 12.8% high school students in New Hampshire are obese.  The CDC’s State Indicator Report for New Hampshire on Fruits and Vegetables, 2018, shows only 14.3% of adults meet the daily fruit intake recommendation and only 10.8% of adults meet the daily vegetable intake recommendation. The CDC DNPAO Data, Trends, and Maps shows a considerable percentage of New Hampshire teens reported consuming fruits (38.3%, 2017) and vegetables (31.8%, 2011) less than once a day. Schools are making improvements in ways to get children to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and  other major cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL ("good") cholesterol and diabetes. The American Heart Association recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Schools can provide opportunities to increase physical activity through-out the day.  A great way to get students moving is to incorporate fitness breaks into the school day. These fitness breaks only take a few minutes and are very beneficial for your students. The Action for Healthy Kids website has lots of resources on ways to incorporate fitness into the school day. School staff can benefit from fitness breaks as well.

  1. There are many resources that exist in your community for promoting physical activity and healthy eating. Learn about these resources.
  • Are there parks or woods nearby that you can walk as part of a lesson?
  • Are there community centers such as YMCA or Boys and Girls Clubs that you can work with to coordinate after school activities?
  • Can you use community trails during breaks or recess?
  • Are there apple orchards or pick your own farms nearby that you can visit? Check out this website to find one near you. 
  • Are there nutrition experts from your food service department or in your community that can provide presentations and classroom lessons for students and families?
  • Do you have a local 4-H club or Cooperative Extension Service that could visit your school? Find your Extension office here.
  • Are there grocery stores that do store tours?
  1. Youth compendium fact sheet for teachers
  2. The National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research released a new fact sheet that shows classroom teachers how to incorporate the Youth Compendium of Physical Activities into their curricula. The Compendium lists 196 common activities in which youth participate and the estimated energy cost associated with each activity. This tool is intended for widespread use by researchers, state and local health departments, educators, and fitness professionals.
  3. Collaborate with your local health agencies and law enforcement agencies to create “walk to school” events or “walking school busses” to encourage children and parents to walk to school.
  • If necessary, start by conducting a “walkability assessment” of the area around your school to identify unsafe crossing, broken sidewalks and other environmental factors that deter walking. The National Highway traffic safety Administration offers a “walkability checklist” that you can use. A “Walk to School Day” occurs every October.
  • Review school policies to see if your school allows and encourages students to walk or bike to school.
  • Start a Walking Club-Check out How to Start a Walking Club.
  1. There are many ways to promote physical activity and healthy eating in your classroom.
  • Add physical activity into your classroom. Fitness experts from Fit for a Healthier Generation have used their years of training to create videos that are exciting and engaging for youth to move to. Use these videos to get your students up and moving for a quick and effective physical activity break. Great activity for indoor recess or healthy celebrations.  
  • Let's Move Active Schools initiative in West Virginia created a movement guide with physical activities for grades K-2, 3-5 and 6-8.
  • Complete set of Energizers- Created by Eat Smart Move More initiative in North Carolina
  • Go Noodle- Go Noodle makes movement and mindfulness an integral part of the school day.
  • Display posters and signs that promote healthy eating- Team Nutrition has a variety of free posters. 
  • Offer taste testing that give students opportunities to try healthy foods. Encourage your school’s food service to incorporate popular choices into the school menu. Offering taste tests of healthy school menu items helps to promote these items in the lunch line.
  • Plan a fun and interactive family event around nutrition education. Take advantage of events like parent-teacher conferences, where you have built it audience, to provide healthy snacks and nutrition tips.
  • Do not use physical activity as a punishment-do not punish students by requiring them to participate in or by withdrawing opportunities for physical activity i.e. do not punish students by requiring them to do push-ups or run laps. Do not exclude students from physical education class or recess. More information can be found here.
  • Incorporate movement into lessons, if teaching about verbs, have students act out verb by moving around the classroom.
  • Incorporate nutrition and physical activity concepts into lessons, such as discussing energy balance in science class.
  • Collect healthy recipes from families in the school and create school cookbook, which can be sold as a fundraiser in the community.
  • Have a pitcher of water available in the classroom or find funding for water bottle and filling station

4. Share ideas with families

  • Check out the  Move Your Way  website for great ways for families to get active.


Healthy Living Field Specialist
Extension Field Specialist, Health & Well-Being
Phone: (603) 255-3611 ext. 812
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824