According to the American Heart Association, one in three American children are overweight. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has declared childhood obesity among the top health crises in the USA, after drugs and smoking.
Looking toward societal solutions, what’s comforting is that living a healthier and more active lifestyle is easier than you think and has many benefits. As a Together Counts ™ partner, we recognize the need to educate others and promote healthy habits. Here are some tips that can help start making positive changes:
Promote Healthy Eating Habits:
Change your child’s healthy eating routine by simply bringing healthy foods into your home. This way, you can encourage healthy eating habits, even for the pickiest children. If a piece of fruit, pre-sliced vegetables with a dip or single portions of nuts are within reach, children are more likely to choose them when looking for a snack.
Set an Example:
To make the above-mentioned habits easy for your child to implement, set an example by following a healthy diet and choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and the occasional treat! This will encourage your child to eat healthily and imitate and follow the behavior of elders and parents.
Dine with your child and keep meals and snacks in balanced portions; have plenty of veggies and fresh fruits; eat calorie-rich desserts and snacks in moderation. Eat at home and pack healthy lunches in front of your child who is going off to school or on a picnic. When eating out, think ahead and choose the restaurant that provides healthy options. Your healthy eating habits will be transferred to your child over time, helping him or her maintain a healthy weight.
Educate Your Children about Nutrition:
Children can make good choices if they have knowledge of nutrition and healthy food. They must know the effect of the food they are consuming. However, teaching them to eat healthy can be complicated if it involves too much detail. Instead, you can convey your message in a playful way so learning about healthy eating sounds like fun to them rather than a lecture.
- At the grocery store, educate them on the benefits of eating a variety of veggies
- Use picture books that provide information about nutrition and healthy eating in the story line. Discuss with them what they read
- Encourage them to play smartphone games, like Healthy Food Monsters, Healthy Heroes, and Healthy Eating with Diana
Keep Them Moving:
Besides creating a healthy meal plan, encourage your child to participate in daily physical activity. Exercise like running, jumping, swimming and playing soccer not only burns fat, but also makes muscles stronger. Some kids may not be interested at first in working out, but that doesn’t mean you can’t convince them by making it fun. Tell them the benefits of physical activities, or play games involving headstands, jump rope, or animal races in your backyard.
These are some of the strategies you can follow to improve overall health and wellbeing. Blend these steps with the right kinds of support, encouragement, and positive role modeling for better implementation.
The OrganWise Guys Inc. began in 1993 with a vision to inspire individuals to take charge of their health by assuming personal responsibility for their choices. By bringing the body to life via lovable organ characters, kids of all ages learn what it really means to be smart from the inside out. For blog posts on family and health, check out www.organwiseguys.com/blog.
Check out Together Counts for more reads on how you can encourage healthy habits and decrease childhood obesity: