VERB Succeeds In Raising Kids Activity Levels Says LSU AgCenter Nutritionist

Elizabeth S. Reames  |  7/29/2005 3:12:57 AM

News You Can Use For August 2005

Active children are better able to meet the demands of daily life, gain greater self-esteem, confidence and discipline, school achievement, social connectedness and positive family relationships than their sedentary peers, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Beth Reames.

To help tweens be healthy and active, a national youth media campaign known as VERB was launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2002.

VERB encourages 9-13 year olds, known in marketing terms as "tweens" to find a VERB (such as run, paint, sing, bowl, etc.) or several VERBs that fit their personality and interests and use "their VERB" to become active.

Reames says a recently released CDC survey indicates that physical activity among the nation’s youth is increasing as a result of the national youth media campaign.

Participation in the multicultural campaign resulted in a 34 percent increase in weekly free-time physical activity sessions among 8.6 million children ages 9-10 in the United States.

VERB was especially effective in shrinking the gap in physical activity levels between boys and girls. There was a 27 percent increase in free-time physical activity sessions among U.S. girls in the entire 9-13 age range. Likewise, 6 million children from lower-middle-income households registered a 25 percent increase in free-time physical activity sessions despite the barriers they faced, which included transportation, safety and less access to physical activity resources.

In communities that received higher levels of VERB marketing activity, the increases in physical activity were even more dramatic. The CDC found that the number of least-active 9-10 year olds was reduced by 33 percent. The number of least-active 9-13 year old girls decreased even more, by 37 percent, in these communities. There was a 38 percent decline among least-active 9-13 year olds from lower-middle-income households.

VERB is helping young people to realize that physical activity is fun, cool and can be a part of everyday life.

"This is critical to reducing the epidemic of overweight among today’s youth," Reames says, noting that obesity costs the country $117 billion a year in medical expenses.

The VERB Web site, www.verbnow.com, offers fun games, interesting facts and many interactive features that help tweens get active. It also includes role models, such as athletes, musicians or dancers, to help kids see the positive benefits of physical activity.

For information on related family and consumer topics, click on the Family and Home link on the LSU AgCenter homepage, at www.lsuagcenter.com.

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On the Internet: LSU AgCenter: www.lsuagcenter.com

On the Internet: VERB: www.verbnow.com

Source: Beth Reames (225) 578-3929, or breames@agcenter.lsu

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