One in 3 children in the U.S. is overweight or obese. That means 33 percent of our nation’s children and teenagers, more than 23 million of them, are at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
So what can you do to make sure your kids are leading a healthier life? Try taking these small, easy steps:
- Keep ready-to-eat fresh fruit and vegetables within your children’s reach. Buy fruit and veggies, wash them and keep them where everyone can have access to them. At the same time, store sweets and other junk food out of sight, such as on a high shelf or at the back of the freezer. Even better — don’t buy junk food. If it’s not there — you can’t eat it.
- Make meal planning a family affair. Sit down as a family and plan meals for the week, and let everyone make suggestions for the shopping list. Try to choose at least one meal or dish that your kids can help prepare. Use this as an opportunity to discuss nutrition and portion size, if your kids are old enough.
- Get moving. Three to five times a week, get the whole family to take a walk together. It’s an easy way to encourage activity—and conversation! Even better, get out and play a game, or put on some music and have a dance party! Help your kids get in the habit of moving. It’ll help you too!
- Step away from the TV and smart phones! Limit the amount of time your children spend on the computer, watching TV and playing video games. They need to sit less and move more in order to stay healthy.
- Be a good role model. None of these tips will be effective if you, as a parent, are eating too many sweets and too many takeout meals or spending too much time sitting on the couch or in front of a computer. Set the example you want your kids to follow!
One last tip: avoid using sweets as a reward or portraying exercise as a chore. Bring these behaviors into your home as naturally as possible.
Even if your kids are not overweight or obese, any time is a great time to start creating some new habits that will benefit your whole family! At Invision, we know that good health starts at home. If you’re looking for more tips, visit USDA.gov or The National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Homepage.
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