One of the greatest legacies any parent can give a child is a framework for living an enduring healthy lifestyle.
It is hard to underestimate the power parents have on their children’s development, which is why parenting is such a profound responsibility.
The attitudes and habits formed in childhood can determine your child’s health in his or her adult years. Here are some ideas for parents who are looking to raise healthy children that grow up to be healthy adults.
Start Early: Good eating, sleeping, and exercise habits should begin early in childhood. It’ll save you (and your adult child) from the difficulties of breaking bad habits later on.
Be Family-Centric: Make healthy living a family affair. Consider the impact even small actions can have. Did you know that kids who eat more often with their families are less likely to become overweight or obese?¹
Plan for Healthy Meals and Snacks: Modern lives are busy, but try to plan ahead by stocking healthy foods and snacks in the house. You may even want to cook a few meals during the weekend for the week ahead. If you’re looking to improve dieting behaviors, be sure to move slowly with these changes. The less the kids notice, the more effective the transition will likely be. Expose your child to different foods by pairing them with foods he or she already likes.
Be Active: It may be harder than ever to tear children away from the phone, computer, and TV, but it’s crucial that children engage in active play. It doesn’t have to be an organized event. Challenge your child to a push-up contest, or offer to play goalie so he or she can practice soccer kicks. Connect physical activity to a positive experience.
Be a Role Model: Lessons are difficult to teach if the teacher is not practicing what he or she preaches. Be sure to lead by example.
1. NIH. gov, 2023. "The Protective Role of Family Meals for Youth Obesity: 10-year Longitudinal Associations," a landmark study first published in 2014
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