By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

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Many families want to join the health-conscious movement, but getting everyone involved can be a challenge. Families have busy schedules, and the thought of changing the day-to-day routine or factoring in the potential expense can be enough to make even the most motivated health-seeker abandon the idea.

To help families get healthy, the American Heart Association is hosting the Life is Why Family Health Challenge in September. Parents and kids can work together to make simple, fun and affordable choices that will lead them down the heart-healthy road as a family. With about one in three American children considered overweight or obese, making smarter choices as a family is the first step in lowering that statistic.

The four-week challenge includes:

Week 1 – Eat more fruits and vegetables. This change is well-known even by children and can be the first step in cultivating healthy habits.
Tip: Each family member can pick out their favorite fruit or vegetable to add to the shopping cart. For the adventurous, each person can pick something they have never tried before.

Week 2 – Stay away from sugary beverages. While some consumers might think they’re good for an energy boost, they actually do the opposite. Water and milk are the healthiest alternatives.
Tip: Get creative and flavor water with fresh fruit.

Week 3 – Steer clear of salt. The majority of people consume more than twice the amount of salt recommended by the AHA.
Tip: Boost flavor by cooking with fresh herbs and spices.

Week 4 – Get up and move. Three weeks into the challenge, many families will have a little extra energy by now. Incorporate physical activities that are simple and fun.
Tip: Families can have a jumping jacks contest or go on an “I spy” walk around the neighborhood.

The AHA has created an event on its Facebook page with free tools and resources to help families complete the Life is Why Family Health Challenge. There will also be Twitter chats each Wednesday in September at noon Central time using the hashtag #LifeisWhy.