Helping Your Children Live Healthier Lives
Did you know that U.S. nearly 1 out of every 3 kids is at risk for obesity? Fortunately, preventing childhood obesity is easy and starts with the parents. Here are a few simple ways you can help your child live healthier.
1. School Lunches
We all know that lunches provided by elementary schools and secondary schools are not the tastiest. In fact, they weren’t really healthy until the Healthy Kids Act was initiated in 2010. However, even with this act, food is being wasted and many argue it’s not enough to fill kids up. To avoid this, start packing your kids lunches and include food from different food groups. There are lots of healthy alternatives your kids would still enjoy, and switching them out from cafeteria hot dogs will go a long way towards improving your child’s health.
2. Check Calories
New legislation in the past decade has required restaurants and any food sold in stores to post nutritional information on it. If you cannot see the information, it’s your right to ask for it. Many companies still keep this information in the back but legally have to give it to you if you want it. Most kids should eat somewhere from 1600 to 2200 calories a day depending on their age, gender, etc. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually really easy to go over your daily amount! Take a little extra time and be conscious of just how many calories are packed into the Snickers bar. It may not be worth it.
According to ESPN, there’s approximately 21.5 million kids between the ages of 6 – 17 playing sports through their school or an organization. Interestingly, boys are still involved with sports at a higher rate than girls and suburban families are playing more sports than in urban or rural areas. Sports are great because they allow kids to get the recommended amount of 60 minutes of physical activity a day. It can also encourage teamwork and perseverance.
4. Reducing TV and Internet Time
Today’s children are more knowledgeable about the internet than most of us were at their age. This is great, although now it’s harder to monitor time spent on the internet. But if kids always choose to watch TV or play a computer game over spending time playing outdoors, this can become a huge problem. It’s best to limit time sitting down passively watching something from the get-go.
5. Encourage Them to Get Enough Sleep
With younger children, it might be a good idea to set a bed time to ensure they get to sleep early enough to be wide awake at school the next day. Older children are more difficult but you can always talk to them about the importance of sleep if you feel like they are not getting enough. Studies have found that a lack of sleep is associated with weight gain. When you don't get enough sleep, changes in hormones and metabolism seem to increase the risk of obesity.
If you start by following these simple steps, your family can start living a healthier lifestyle. By starting these healthy habits now, your child is more likely to keep these healthy habits and lessen their chances of struggling with diseases in the future. We hope these tips will help your family live just a bit healthier!