Nation's Leading Youth Organization Promotes Healthy Lifestyles Through Various Programs and Services

Today more than 30 percent of American children are classified as overweight and more than 15 percent obese*. As the nation's leading youth service organization, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is continuing its Good Turn for America pledge of healthy living during National Nutrition Month by encouraging youth to live healthy lifestyles.

"For 96 years, BSA has been dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle among American youth," said Gloria Lundin, Occupational Health Nurse, BSA. "The Scout Oath includes the promise 'To keep myself physically strong,' the BSA remains committed to that principle and is proud to take part in National Nutrition Month. By stressing overall health and general well-being, we believe we can help to encourage youth to lead healthy lifestyles and help reverse obesity trends."

Today's youth are considered the most inactive generation in history in part because of reductions in school physical education programs and a shortage of safe, available community recreational facilities*. Last year, the USDA announced updated dietary guidelines and for the first time ever stressed the importance of balancing consumption of nutrient-dense foods with regular exercise. The release of the dietary guidelines was followed by a new food guide pyramid, including the MyPyramid for Kids,** which highlighted the need to be physically active every day.

The Boy Scouts of America continues to provide programs and activities that promote a healthy lifestyle by incorporating physical activity. Staying true to the Scout Oath, BSA offers more than 20 health-, nutrition-, and fitness-related merit badges, encouraging Scouts to stay physically strong. BSA urges its Scouts as well as local communities to get involved in projects that aid healthy initiatives. Suggestions include:

  • Encourage physical activity. Establish a spring or summer day or weekend to invite the community to get outdoors and take a hike with their families. Organizing a fun run/walk/cycle event open to everyone in the community would also be appropriate. These experiences provide an opportunity for families, fun, fitness, and the outdoors to be packaged in a single activity.
  • Create nutrition awareness. Conduct a health awareness fair in cooperation with a local hospital and other health organizations. Secure and distribute good health awareness information to your community.
  • Build a healthier environment. Create a space where your community can be physically active by volunteering to maintain and repair local parks, camps, and hike/bike trails.

Serving nearly 4.5 million young people between 7 and 20 years of age with more than 300 councils throughout the United States and its territories, the Boy Scouts of America is the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. For more information on the BSA, please visit

* According to the American Obesity Association