Now more than ever, parents need to lead their children in a healthier lifestyle. Recent statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that childhood obesity in the United States affects about 17% of children and adolescents. It is alarming to see how many kids have weight problems, and some of the parents are doing little to prevent it. When children are obese, they are at risk for severe health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, warns a report from the University of California San Diego.
If you have concerns for your children, there are ways to promote exercise and better eating habits as a family. Your children’s pediatrician can offer guidance as far as what their body mass index should be and the types of exercise that they can safely handle. Since summer is around the corner, it is an ideal time to implement a change in your lifestyle. Here are four helpful pointers for making your children’s health a priority:
1. Lead By Example
It does no good to tell your children something while you are doing the opposite. Children naturally follow their parent’s lead. Be a good example with your diet and exercise regimen. If you are losing weight, it may be inspirational to your children who have a few pounds to lose. Working together means that your family will have a better chance to succeed.
2. Bring Some Fun Into It
When you are having fun with an activity, the kids may forget that they are exercising! Get your family involved in sports or swimming. Many gyms offer family discounts. Remember that you are never too old to play outside. Join them in a game of tag or a yard game such as volleyball or badminton. Even brisk walks through the neighborhood or in a city park can be a beneficial exercise, recommends Mayoclinic.org. Not only will you be fitter, but you will be spending valuable time with your kids.
3. Plan Family Meals Wisely
Your pantry and refrigerator say a lot about your family’s attitude toward health. If it is filled with processed junk food that is laden with calories and fat, then it is little wonder why your family may have weight issues. Processed food makes up as much as 70% of the American diet, says a report from marketplace.org.
If junk food is not in your cabinets, then your children will not have it to eat. Make an effort to bring healthy whole foods into your diet. Limit the amount of sugar and fat that your family is eating. If you plan meals each week, then you will know exactly what to buy at the store. You will be less likely to throw junk food into your cart.
Allow your kids to help you with menu planning and meal preparation. If you work a lot of hours at your job, you might consider an organic meal delivery service. Browse through cookbooks and online recipes to find fantastic new ways to prepare healthy meals that your family will enjoy.
4. Go On A Technology Diet
How did children in the past ever make it without television and video games for fun? They spent time outdoors playing simple games with each other. Are you tired of your kids being couch potatoes? Have a family meeting and tell them that your family is going on a technology diet (that means you too). Set limits on how much television and video game time they get each day. During meals, turn off the TV, computers, and cell phones. Enjoy a pleasant chat around the dinner table about each other’s day. Less technology encourages your kids to get off the couch and be more active.
Providing a healthy lifestyle is one of the most precious gifts you can give your children. You can instill habits that will hopefully follow them into adulthood. A healthy family takes care of their body and has more time to spend with one another.
Mia Morales is a loving wife and mother of twins from Colorado. She is a self-described “DIY addict”, and loves to think of different ways to stay healthy and fit. Mia is really passionate about heath, nutrition, and what she puts in her body. When she’s not writing, you can find her with a glass of mint lemon water and a child on each hip. Who says moms aren’t superheroes?