Poor habits, busy schedules, lack of knowledge and fewer family meals can lead to less nutritious food choices and poor eating habits, including excess eating. This is happening at a time when obesity is at an all-time high…is this coincidence?
The body functions on the basis of survival: when you take in excess energy (food), the body saves it for a time when nutrients may not be easily available (in the form of fat). For many Americans, we don’t need excess energy in because our next meal is typically not far out of reach. With that said, the Together CountsTM program and I believe the best way to optimize health and avoid the tilting of the scale is to practice energy balance, balancing the calories consumed through eating and drinking (energy in) with the calories burned through physical activity (energy out).
Many people don’t follow this concept and take in more food energy than energy expended through physical activity. While you burn some calories just by breathing air and digesting food, a more important part of maintaining energy balance is getting physically active.
(See Energy Balance by Design)
Parents can encourage energy balance and promote good health that is understandable and actionable without doing anything extreme. In fact, the following activities can be done within the convenience of your own home or neighborhood.
- Brisk family walks after a family dinner (at least 30min)
- Bike rides on the weekends
- Active activities like bowling or hiking
- Wii sports games 2-3 times a week, encouraging your kids to perform well. You’d be surprised with how these games can increase your heart rate!
- Eating family meals and explaining the importance of not overly snacking and eating between meals
Parents can teach kids to practice balance, variety and moderation in their diet, and to be physically active for 30-60 minutes each day. What is important for kids to understand is to balance their daily calorie requirements with regular physical activity. In doing so, families are putting the idea of energy balance into action can and are working together to fight obesity!
How does your family work together to achieve energy balance? Share within the comments!
Felicia Romero wrote this post on behalf of the Together Counts™ program. Felicia is a trainer and business owner of AZ Pro Physiques, and has been in the fitness industry for 10 years. In addition to owning her gym, she is also a fitness mode and a motivational writer and speaker.