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Setting the Right Healthy Life Example for Your Children

By Ken Dey, News and Community
July 10, 2013

 Children learn from their parents, so it's important that parents set the example if they want their children to live a healthy lifestyle.

Children today face many health challenges that those from other generations did not.  An abundance of easily available processed and fast food has caused a growing epidemic of childhood obesity. Couple that with too much television and sedentary activities like video games the problem is even more magnified. What will it take to make children healthy. Dr. Mark Cheney, with St. Luke's Clinic Family Medicine in Nampa, said the solution has to start with the parent.  Read what Dr. Cheney has to say:

As a parent, you’re the most important person in the world.  You have the most influence on your children’s behavior while they’re young, so make a commitment today to be a role model for healthy attitudes and habits toward food and physical activity. Starting good habits early can lead to life-long healthy behaviors.

Nutritious foods and plenty of exercise are the building blocks for strong growth, healthy development and lifelong wellbeing for children—physically and mentally. Kids and teens who get regular exercise and eat a nutritious diet are likely to perform better academically, feel better about themselves, cope with stress and emotions better, and avoid feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.

You can control the types of food that come into your home, so make sure your family eats plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and fat-free dairy. Eating with your children at regular family mealtimes has been shown to lead to positive nutrition habits and healthy weights—plus it helps you connect with your kids.

You can also encourage your kids to be active, and you can join in the fun! Walk or ride bikes to the playground, or around the neighborhood, and limit their time on the computer, TV, and videogames.

And don’t forget the importance of regular visits to the doctor, particularly if you are concerned about your child’s weight. A doctor can help you determine your child’s optimum weight, and help you make a plan to get the whole family healthier.

Change is not always easy, so take it one step at a time. If you drink whole milk, switch to 2% for a while, and then down to fat-free. If you drive everywhere, try walking to a nearby friend’s house, then later walking a little farther. Make healthy choices easy: Put nutritious food where it’s easy for kids to see and get their hands on.  Keep balls and other sports gear handy. Make it fun: Climb the monkey bars, walk through the zoo or on a nature trail. Cook a healthy meal together and let your kids help plan the menu. You can find yummy recipes the whole family will love, as well as fun ways to stay active, at wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov.

So I have just one question for you: What are you waiting for?

 

About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.