Family Health & Fitness Day USA

Family Health & Fitness Day USA - Thursday, September 26, 2024

Health Relationship

Family Health and Fitness Day USA is on the last Saturday of September and it’s a day that promotes physical activity and health with your loved ones. We share genes with our family, but aren’t aware of the everyday habits we develop from our families as well. Food and health patterns tend to spread between family members when they live in the same household, which means that it can be hard to break out of unhealthy patterns when everyone else is doing it. Thankfully, Family Health and Fitness Day USA reminds us to put family fitness first.

History of Family Health & Fitness Day USA

Prior to the 1700s, epidemic diseases were a big risk to families throughout history. The plague, cholera, and smallpox were threats to everyone especially the youth. Social status also attributed to a family’s eating habits. Those from wealthier families could afford better and tastier meals and had healthier options, while those in the lower class had less access to adequate portions.

The 1800s saw the birth of the one-dish meal. Most families weren’t wealthy and cooking equipment was limited. People didn’t use a single pot for every meal and instead, they often cooked meals in one stew for dinner. This could have any variation of poultry, pork, vegetables, and potatoes for stew and hearty meals. Nutritional value wasn’t their main priority. They cared about making food last and foods with the most amount of calories for energy, as there were many working families.

In the early 1900s, most foods were prepared from what was available in the garden, cellar, or icebox. The location of the nearest general store could vary, which meant that many had to rely on their own lands. In 1921 the introduction of the first fast-food chain White Castle changed the direction of the nation towards manufactured food, as did the growth of industries that saw families moving from rural areas to factory jobs in urban areas.

In the 1940s, the American Medical Association and the National Committee on Physical Fitness encouraged physical fitness to improve the overall health of the American population, but it was still an uphill climb with the advent of multinational fast-food chains like McDonald’s arriving in the mid-1950s. In 1996, the Health and Information Resource Center created Family Health and Fitness Day USA to promote a healthier lifestyle with family-related health and fitness events.

Family Health & Fitness Day USA timeline


All In the Family

The Health and Information Center created Family Health and Fitness Day USA to increase family involvement in physical activity.


Farm to City

Families start to move from rural areas to urban areas and their eating habits change from garden-based options to fast food.


Making it Last

One-dish meals cooked as a stew are used for hearty meals that last longer and provide calories for energy.



Epidemic diseases are a big risk to families and those from lower economic backgrounds are most affected.

Family Health & Fitness Day USA FAQs

Why is family health important?

Knowing your family history helps you reduce the risk of developing health problems

Who has stronger genes, the mother, or the father?

Paternal genes tend to be more dominant than maternal genes.

What is healthy living?

Healthy living is the practice of health-enhancing behaviors that involves the physical, mental, and spiritual capacity to make healthy choices.

Five Facts About Family & Health Fitness Day USA

  1. Required exercise

    Adults need at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and vigorous aerobic activity two or more days a week.

  2. Food is fast

    $110 billion is spent annually on fast food restaurants.

  3. Obesity rates

    Obesity rates have increased dramatically in the past two decades.

  4. The leading cause of death

    Heart disease is the leading cause of death with 600,000 deaths each year.

  5. Blood pressure

    One in three adults have high blood pressure and there usually aren’t any warning signs.

How To Celebrate Family Health & Fitness Day USA

  1. Play a family sport

    Decide amongst your family what sport everyone wants to play and go out and play! It can be anything from football, baseball, basketball, or soccer and for added fun, invite another family to a friendly match. If those sports are too serious, you can always play a less strict game of tag. As long as you’re moving that’s all that matters.

  2. Attend a local event at a health club

    Contact your local YMCAs and health clubs to see if they are hosting any events in honor of Family Health and Fitness Day USA. You can bring your family along and learn more about general physical fitness and how you can improve your health. Afterward, you can discuss with everyone what you've learned.

  3. Go for a bike ride

    Pull your bikes out of the garage, dust off the seats, and go for a bike ride. Find the nearest bike path or go riding around your neighborhood for a fun way to exercise. It's low-impact, it doesn't demand a high level of skill, and it’s an effective cardio workout.

Why Family Health & Fitness Day USA Is Important

  1. We pass down our habits

    Children watch what the older generation does and when someone in the family demonstrates proper physical health, it’s likely that others will follow. To better help the next generation, we have to first take care of ourselves.

  2. It’s not that difficult

    The idea can seem daunting at first to change your normal routine, but by making small changes you can redirect the track you’re on and start a healthier lifestyle. There’s plenty of benefits like having more energy and a longer life expectancy.

  3. Stop the epidemic

    From the data, we have a lot of unhealthy habits that can lead to serious health risks. Some of these risks can be silent killers, which means that it’s better to be safe than sorry. By becoming health conscious you can avoid possible health risks.

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