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Posted in Family and Friends, Healthy Living | September 2013

Help your kids take action!

childhood obesity
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in The United States childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In the United Kingdom a whopping 30% of children between ages 2 and 15 are considered overweight or obese The Public Health Agency of Canada (reports that one in four children and youth in Canada are overweight or obese, and that increasingly obese children are being diagnosed with health conditions previously seen almost exclusively in adults, including type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

In fact, some sources suggest that today’s generation of children may be the first in history to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.1

There’s no way around it: healthy living needs to become a way of life for more people, which means making healthy food choices and staying physically active. Since September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to help your kids take action and start living an even healthier life!

We’ve compiled some simple, fun suggestions for encouraging healthy living.

  • Take a walk with your family after dinner and make it a routine that you follow as many times per week as you can. Increase the distance, vary the routes and make it fun and interesting by taking along a digital camera to capture interesting places and faces along the way.
  • Limit screen time to two hours or less per day—that includes all kinds of screens including televisions, computers and electronic devices. Make sure you provide options for kids once the two hours is up. Stock up on library books and games, and suggest active, outdoor play too.
  • When you are watching TV, try to be active! Get your kids to stand up and march in place, do jumping jacks or give push-ups a try during commercials.
  • Keep a bowl of fresh fruit handy, and chop up vegetables like carrots, celery and cucumber for quick, healthy, grab-and-go snacking. Having these sorts of snacks available at all times is a good way to encourage healthier eating. By the same token, make sure to keep junk food like chips, cookies and candy out of your cupboards so kids don’t have the opportunity to reach for unhealthy snacks between meals.
  • Plan healthy meals for the week in advance and make sure the kids are involved in the process. Making a weekly meal plan that involves the whole family means you’ll be cooking healthy meals from scratch that everyone enjoys—and you won’t have to resort to a costly, unhealthy fast food.
  • Cut back on sugary drinks. Juice may seem like a great option, but there is the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 12oz glass of orange juice—the same amount as in a glass of cola! If your kids do drink juice, make sure it’s 100% juice with no added sugar, and dilute it with some water. An even better option is to switch to water or lower fat milk.2
  • Go to the park! Foresters has partnered with KaBOOM!, an organization that envisions a great place to play within walking distance of every child, because our purpose has always been to enhance the well-being of families. Join with KaBOOM! yourself and take your kids to the local park to run around and get some “exercise” without even knowing they’re doing it!

Changing your child’s lifestyle won’t happen all at once and you may be met with some resistance at first, but stick to it! Gradually those new, healthier activities and practices can become healthy, lifelong habits.

For more information, downloadable activity guides and family calendars, healthy eating suggestions and other useful resources visit Let’s Move. Visit the Public Health Agency of Canada for some great physical activity tips for children ages 5–11 () and 12–17 (), and visit Health Canada to get your copy of the Canada Food Guide ().

SOURCES

1 http://www.thestar.com/news/2007/03/28/obesity_dooming_youth_report.html

2 http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/how-sweet-is-it/

410148 CAN/US (04/15)

 

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