H is for Healthy Habits, Happy Family
Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2And we all know that the problem doesn't just lie in our children. As adults, educators, and parents... we are the role models. Yes, most of us grew up with full fat butter in all of our food and food packed full of preservatives, but it's time for a change.
Healthy habits make for a happy family. I cannot say it enough!! I know a lot of parents who have the attitude that their preschooler or toddler is soooo picky that they'd rather they eat junk than eat nothing at all. "We'll start eating healthier next week." My husband and I are no exception to this. Lately, we haven't been to the gym at all. "Too busy." "Too tired." "No time." But the truth is that somehow we always find time to sit down and watch our favorite television shows at the end of the day.
Bad mommy! I know I need to get my act together. I certainly don't look "obese," but my healthy weight is about 20 lbs less than what I am right now. Granted, I just had my daughter a year ago and it takes time, but what better time than the present.
To ensure healthy habits for the whole family, there are four main things that need to be of focus: eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting your vaccinations, and going to the doctor for wellness visits (which include you mom and dad!)
Did you know that If 1 in 10 American adults started a regular walking program, the nation would save $5.6 billion in heart disease costs each year. (National Governors Association. Healthy Aging and States: Making Wellness the Rule, Not the Exception. Washington, DC: NGA, 2007. Available at http://www.subnet.nga.org/ci/1-aging.html. Accessed September 20>, 2007.) Hmm... then maybe that money could go to cancer research!
The average adult should be walking about 10,000 steps a day. I encourage you to go on family walks. See new places, go exploring, take the dog, have family races! Don't know where to get started? Try this 20% Boost Program from PBS.
GO, SLOW & WHOA Foods
This is an easy way to teach your kids the basics of good eating before they are old enough to understand the benefits of a food pyramid. GO foods are good for you foods (green light!), SLOW foods are foods you should have in moderations (yellow light!) and WHOA foods are foods for special occasions and small portions (red light!). To learn more about the breakdown, please visit the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institution's Website here.
Lunch Time Choices
For many parents, the lack of nutrition starts when their children enter elementary school and start ordering hot lunch. When mom and dad aren't there to say no, your child starts calling all of the shots at school. Chocolate milk, pizza, cheesesticks. E.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.
Play Outside with Your Kids