How To Teach Our Children To Be Fit And Healthy

Healthy children now are the healthy adults of the future....
Healthy children now are the healthy adults of the future....

We must teach by example....

We all like to think of our children as fit and healthy, but are they really? Are we doing the best we can to encourage them to have healthy attitudes, when it comes to diet and exercise? It is so important for us to start teaching our children from when they are young, or even better from when they are babies, how to be lead healthy life, that way it becomes a natural way of thinking and being for them.

What is important for us to remember is that our children now will be the adults of the future and that is why it is so important to encourage a healthy lifestyle and attitude from a a young age. Wouldn't it be good if obesity and all the ailments and diseases that go along with being obese were a thing of the past? In an ideal world that would be great, but in all reality that probably isn't going to happen and that's mainly because us adults aren't truly honest about how much exercise we take or what we eat and drink or the actual amount we consume through out the day. All the while our children are watching and learning from us, they have a knack for learning all the bad things without much encouragement - if only the same were to be said about their school work!!

We must teach by example....

If our children see us adults leading a healthy-ish lifestyle, then they will follow suit because it won't be something we are telling them to do and not, not doing ourselves, but something that we practice as well as preach about. We have to bear in mind also that children don't like to stand out from the crowd, so to get all of our children fit and healthy would mean that all adults would have to lead healthier lives and that would lead to a healthier population. That also would only ever happen in an ideal world, I know, and probably not in reality, but that notion shouldn't prevent us from trying our best after all we all want our children to be fit and healthy, even if it's not at the forefront of our minds all the time.

Our childrens health is important, as is the health of all of us, so read on and hopefully you'll pick up some tips on how to encourage your children to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

Attitude towards food....

The amount we eat....

We must eat to survive, that's a fact, but we don't need to constantly over eat to survive. Our bodies only need a certain amount of food to convert into energy for it to be able to function and people will need different amounts of energy depending on how active they are.

It's rather similar to a car, if you drive your car daily then you'll have to fill it up with fuel more regularly than if you don't drive it daily. What would happen if you tried filling your cars petrol tank if it didn't need fuel? It would over flow. The extra food we stuff into our mouths, that our bodies don't need, can't over flow like the petrol from our cars but what does happens is that our bodies convert this extra 'fuel' into fat. So the more we overeat the fatter we get, it's just basic maths.

Getting fat can be easily avoided by not constantly overeating, but we need to practice this ourselves before we can start to teach this to our children. We can eat the healthiest balanced diet in the world, but if we eat too much we will get fat. So it's not just about what we eat, but how much we eat and that is where portion control comes in. It helps not to have huge dinner plates,, that way they still look full with less food on them and it's a good habit to wait a while before having a second helping, that way our brains have time to register that our stomachs are full and that we don't actually need anymore food.

What we eat....

Then there is the subject of good wholesome and healthy foods. A healthy diet is a balanced diet and that, in my mind, is the only time the word 'diet' should be used in our language - to describe the type of food we eat daily and not as a reference to cutting food out in order to loose weight, how many young people go on 'diets' to loose weight? It is a most unhealthy word in that context.

We know that it is recommended that we consume at least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily and that can be easier said than done sometimes, but with a little encouragement and with us setting a good example it can be done. We must eat a varied range of foods to have a balanced diet. It's good to get our children used to eating wholegrain and brown food from a young age. If we start getting them into the habit healthy eating from babies then it shouldn't become a problem when they are older. There will be some types of food they won't like and if it is only the odd thing and not a whole food group then it's not a problem and we shouldn't make it so.

Don't stop them enjoying a biscuit or two or a reasonable sized bag of crisps or whatever junk food they fancy sometimes, but teach them why that is enough. Tell them that eating a whole packet of biscuits or a huge bag of crisps or whatever it may be, isn't good for them and tell them why, tell them it's too much and they really don't need it. I've tried to teach my children to think about why they want the extra food - is it because they are genuinely hungry or do they want a junky snack or a second helping of food because they fancy it, there is no right or wrong answer to this question I just want my children to acknowledge why they want something and for them to know that is why they are eating it. There is nothing wrong with fancying and eating a bit of junk food or a second helping at dinner sometimes, just as long as it doesn't become a habit and is kept to a minimum. As I keep stressing it is what we teach our children, if they see us sat every night munching through a huge bag of crisps and washing it down with a litre or two of fizzy drink then they will think that it is okay for them to do the same.

We must also except the fact that when our children are older we have less control over what they eat, but hopefully by then we've taught them well and they won't stray too far from a healthy-ish diet.


Being active....

It's not just food that is important to our health and fitness or that of our childrens. We also need to be active and take a certain amount of exercise. That doesn't necessarily mean joining a gym or the local running club unless that floats your boat. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk - brisk walking should raise your heart rate and bring on a slight sweat - for half an hour at least five times a week for us adults or an hour of being physically active every day for a child.

We also rely on our cars far too much, if we need something from the shop we should walk not drive. If the childrens school is within walking distance walk then encourage them to walk to school, when they are too young to walk on their own, then that may mean walking with them or making a plan with other parents to take turns in chaperoning them too and from school. The children will soon learn that it is normal to walk and not jump into the car. We must encourage our children to take part in sports and physical activities they enjoy, emphasis should be on the taking part and making friends and not so much about being outstandingly good. Life isn't about being the best all the time and not all children are good at sports, I have one child who could be good but really isn't interested and one child who is totally hopeless at sports, but really enjoys having ago and that is what it should be about, doing something they enjoy.

Taking our children down to the local park for a kick around with a ball or to toss a frisbee will get their hearts pumping. Looking for interesting shells or pebbles on a beach will get them active too. Take a family cycle if it's possible. Go swimming together. Just get outside together and have some fun.

We should be taking ten thousand steps a day to keep us fit and healthy and that applies to our children too. Todays generation of children aren't walking and running as much as they should, which means that their bones aren't becoming as dense as they should, which in time will lead to all sorts of bone problems and diseases when they are adults. If we want our children to be fit and healthy when they are older they need strong bones. How many old people take a fall and break a bone which takes forever to heal or maybe they even loose their independence because they become too frail to look after themselves after breaking a bone? Those numbers will rise if we don't teach our children to be active now as their bones won't be as dense as they should be.

Again it has to be a case of us adults leading by example, if we want our children to be physically active then we must be too. It can only be a win - win situation. Our happy, healthy, physically active children can grow up to be happy healthy and physically active adults with our help. It is possible!!

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Comments 31 comments

Natashalh profile image

Natashalh 4 years ago from Hawaii

So true. I work at a public attraction and see families all day, every day. It upsets me how many obese children I see, especially really young children.


instantlyfamily profile image

instantlyfamily 4 years ago

I believe in teaching by example.You have included some really good information and tips. I found what you said about "Attitude" to be very helpful .I am voting up.


alissaroberts profile image

alissaroberts 4 years ago from Normandy, TN

You make some very important points in this hub. We the parents have to be good examples for our children if we want them to grow up to be healthy adults. Making healthy choices was one of my new year resolutions so I hope this will rub off on my own kids. Great hub - voted up and useful!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi Natashalh, it makes me sad, when I see fat children barely able to catch their breath when they try to exert themselves and it is only because they've not been taught a healthy attitude towards food. Thank you for the comment.

Hi instantlyfamily, teaching by example has to be the best way to teach as then children aren't getting mixed messages. Thank you for the vote up. thank you for taking the time to read and vote up.

Hi alissaroberts, it is easier said than done, but we can only try. Hope all goes well with your resolutions. Thank you for reading and commenting.


Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

Good, sound advice, debbie roberts! I'm glad you've written this Hub :D


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thanks for reading it Simone, I'm glad you liked it.


KrystalD profile image

KrystalD 4 years ago from Los Angeles

Debbie, I love this hub. My favorite part is about the wholesome food. I have some two types of pearents: those that live unhealthy life styles themselves and therefore set a negative health example and those that really take the time to teach good habits. At my currect school I am amazed and how these children REFUSE fast food! They actually find it disgusting. That shows me that a family's example is more powerful than commercialism.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

I like the fact that you see children actually refusing fast food, great stuff!! A pat on the back to those parents. Not sure why schools let it be an option in the first place, when I had school dinners - okay, so it was a while back - we had proper food, it wasn't always the nicest, but it filled our bellies.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.


J.S.Matthew profile image

J.S.Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

You hit the nail on the head! What a great eye opening article! With the internet these days it is imperative that our kids get out and do something as well as watching what they eat! Great Hub! Voted up and SHARING!

JSMatthew~


MP50 4 years ago

Shared and voted up, thank you.


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

I often compare the human body to a car when talking to my kids about their health. It does put the subject in perspective for them. Your article is interesting. Thanks. Socially shared!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

The internet and technology is wonderful, but it is making our children unfit and unhealthy and it is down to us adults to educate our children...

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thank you..


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

I think if children can understand what we are trying to teach them and why it makes it easier, I've always used the car example with my two too and I think they get it.

Thank you for reading and commenting.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Your suggestion is bang on. I see in Asia that people get excited about spicy food and eating fruit as a treat/snack. The fact that people are doing this rubs off on the young, and so a snack is normally fruit (much better!).

SOCIALLY SHARED and voted up.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

You can deny and delete this comment.

However, I just wanted to let you know that the sub-title says "We must teach be example...." should that be "We must teach [by] example...."?

Just thought you should know, as I like it when people give me a quiet 'heads up'.


thumbi7 profile image

thumbi7 4 years ago from India

I totally agree with you. Children learn what they live.

If we inculcate these good habits, children will naturally follow us

Good hub! Voted up


jeyaramd profile image

jeyaramd 4 years ago from Mississauga, Ontario

Thank you for sharing such an informative hub. I liked your example of over consuming leading to fat deposition. That is very true. Children are a lot more at risk of childhood obesity and diabetes. Its difficult to see children in soccer fields worrying about their glucose levels. Its troubling. Its important to lead by example. Parents have a significant role in all this. This is a great hub. Thanks. Voted up.


johncimble profile image

johncimble 4 years ago from Bangkok

Great hub, vote up for you!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi Brett, if we train ourselves to reach for an apple instead of a bag of crisps, hopefully our children will do it too...

Thank you for sharing, a nice surprise when I checked out my emails this morning!!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thanks for pointing my error out, much appreciated - I honestly can't see how I missed that myself!!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi thumbi7, hopefully we can change the bad habits if we try..

Thank you for reading and commenting...


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thanks Brett for pointing my error out, much appreciated - I honestly can't see how I missed that myself!!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi jeyaramd, there is no need for any of us to be over weight. As adults we make food choices that make us fat and in doing that we teach our children to make the same choices.

Thank you for reading and commenting...


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi Brett, if we train ourselves to reach for an apple instead of a bag of crisps, hopefully our children will do it too...

Thank you for sharing, a nice surprise when I checked out my emails this morning!!


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Thank you for the comment, johncimble..


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Thanks for the post. I think the leading by example piece is so important. Also, availability - the most prominent feature of our kitchen is the fruit bowl that is always full! My kids are always grabbing bananas, apples, and oranges (and sometimes kiwi or dragon fruit when they're in season) for snacks.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi LauraGT, it is so easy to keep a fruit bowl looking appetizing, you have taught your children good habits and hopefully they will keep those habits up as adults.

Thankyou for reading and commenting.


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

Excellent tips! Socially shared.


debbie roberts profile image

debbie roberts 4 years ago from Greece Author

Hi KimberlyLake, Thank you for reading and the share is appreciated.


Aprilette 3 years ago

Yes we need to encourage children to have the right diet as early as possible. Nutritious food is one of the best weight loss techniques to lose weight naturally.

http://www.porridgeontuesday.com

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