Happy, healthy kids need physical activity, social stimulation, and proper nutrition to maintain a healthy weight. If left unchecked, obesity puts children at risk for many chronic diseases seen in adults, such as high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Empower your family to fight childhood obesity at home with these 5 family friendly tips for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Healthy Family Meals
Put technology aside and gather together as a family to enjoy a healthy meal. Not only does this ensure you know your child is learning to eat healthy foods, but sharing meals allows for fun and memorable family conversations. Consider incorporating a new fruit or vegetable into each meal, and incorporating your kids in the cooking process to teach them about nutrition. Encourage everyone at the table to fill their plates with half fruits and vegetables.
Make proper hydration a priority. There is no drink healthier than water. Keeping soda and sugary juices out of the house helps eliminate the temptation to reach for less healthy options. Instead, keep water bottles and pitchers readily available, so everyone in the family has a healthy hydration option ready to enjoy.
3. Get Outside and Play
Studies show that developing youth need at least an hour a day of unstructured play and they need to enjoy vigorous physical activity at least three times a week. Maximize health benefits for the whole family by joining your kids in active games outside, whether it’s a game of basketball, tennis, or just running around!
4. Power Down Technology
As a family, commit to spending screen free time together. Adults and youth alike benefit from time away from technology, so aim for two hours or less per day. Talk as a family about where you can cut back on screen time, to get everyone on board. Whether you commit to powering down for dinner, leaving technology at home for a family walk, or banning screens after 7 PM, choose an option that everyone can participate in together.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Everyone needs sleep to recharge the body and mind. The whole family can benefit from a regular sleep schedule, as adults need 7-8 hours of sleep and kids need 10-12 hours. Try unwinding as a family to prepare your bodies for bed by reading together, listening to music, and powering down screens.
YMCA of Silicon Valley is proud to support families on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Together, we can prevent childhood obesity in our community.