Obesity is on the rise in the United States. With some 30 percent of kids under the age of 18 being overweight or obese, the problem is only getting worse. Children who are overweight are 70 percent more likely to be overweight as adults.
Obesity has far reaching affects including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis, breathing problems, sleep apnea and heart attack. As parents it’s our responsibility to reach and protect our children. We can do this by creating healthy habits.
If you aren’t living a healthy lifestyle right now, don’t worry. You can still make changes and they don’t have to happen all at once. Here are a few ideas to add healthier activities and meals to your family’s agenda:
Let your kids help: Getting kids to eat vegetables can be frustrating. Let them help choose a special vegetable to try during the week or let them help pick out and prepare a healthy recipe for dinner. Children who are involved in the cooking are more likely to eat the meal.
Make TV a reward: First, take the TV out of their room. Television can cause problems with sleeping well. Second, make television a reward. Have them earn viewing privileges by helping around the house, earning good grades and participating in a healthier activity. I’ve had great success with making TV a weekend only activity. Then, we spend time as a family watching shows, movies, and other TV based activities like playing video games.
Go for a walk: When the weather permits, take time to walk as a family. Many areas have parks woods that offer trails on a variety of levels. Fresh air and quality time as a family will make you healthier physically and as a family.
Go swimming: Most cities and towns have a community center that touts an indoor pool. You can hit the pool in the summer or the winter. The cost is usually minimal and some places even offer memberships that may save you even more money.
Cook at home: Eating at home will save you hundreds of calories. You’ll be able to control the fat and ingredients in your favorite meals, you’ll also save money.
Set goals as a family: Sit down and make healthy goals as a family. Post the goals where everyone can see them. Make sure to reward yourself for healthy behavior. For example, you could save all the money you would be using on eating out and use it to pay for a vacation at the end of the year.
Choosing a few things to focus on at a time, makes changes less intimidating. Remember to let your kids see you make healthy choices. Take them to the gym with you and encourage them to make healthy choices.
I often look at this list and look towards individuals like Sheri Dew that help direct people to healthy and prosperous living choices to keep my family on the right track. Health and wellness is so important and something I try and integrate into my families everyday life.