Every parent wants to keep their kids healthy and happy so they can grow and develop into healthy, successful adults. Educating your children about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle is essential, perhaps now more than ever. In the United States alone, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970s.
While genetic factors are difficult to change, parents can play a role in teaching children about healthy lifestyle choices so they can maintain a healthy weight now and well into their future.
Ten Tips to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Here are ten things parents can teach their children through words and actions:
- Eat dinner together
Families who eat together stay together and kids benefit academically, socially and mentally. While it would be great to share a meal together every day, that’s not always a reality in today’s world. Make it your goal to enjoy a family meal three to four times per week.
- Eat the rainbow
Introduce a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, prepared simply, to help them develop a broad palate that will serve them well into adulthood.
- Drink lots of water
Kids are more susceptible to dehydration than adults because they have higher body water content and higher metabolic rates. Keep them hydrated with easy-to-access water throughout the day and plenty of nutritious high-water-content foods.
- Exercise for fun
Make exercise fun by playing hopscotch or freeze tag and riding bikes outside. Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services recommend children and adolescents age six and older get at least an hour of moderate or vigorous physical activity each day.
- Be safe
Your kids will notice your safety habits, so take care to look both ways before crossing streets and wear your seatbelt or bike helmet. Remind your kids to do the same and provide ongoing guidance to your children about the importance of safety.
- Be kind
About 20 percent of students report being bullied each year. As adults and parents it’s important to model violence-free mediation and conflict resolution so when children leave the home they have a wide variety of skills and strategies to negotiate conflict.
- Be together
Time together as a family helps you build strong relationships that will help you though any tough times. In addition to family meals, try to spend time one-on-one, with each other and your children.
- Visit the doctor
Preventive medical care is essential for overall health. Talk to your children about the importance of clean teeth and healthy bodies. Let them see you take care of your body too, with regular checkups.
- Limit screen time
Life is busy and sometimes we want to relax in front of the TV, kindle or iPad. However, the American Hospital Association recommends one hour of screen time per day for children age two to five and no more than two hours for kids and teens age eight to 18.
Annual checkup are important for everyone, so call Pomona Valley Health Center at 909-536-1493 to schedule your appointments. Our team of skilled physicians is ready to help with the unique needs of your entire family.