Raising Healthy Children - Tips

Children Swinging

source flickr
source flickr

Healthy Patterns Produce Healthy Children

If the whole family is focused on fitness with healthy eating and exercise, than their children have a much greater chance of being healthy and fit. Children that have obese parents have a 75% chance of becoming obese kids.

Most parents know what constitutes a healthy diet and they understand that normal children are active. Parents take their children to pediatricians for checkups and to get their various vaccines, so they know if their child has a healthy profile.

Pediatricians keep track of your child’s height, weight and head circumference, and put them on a chart; there is one chart for boys and one for girls as there growth patterns differences. Health in children depends on the basic habits found in their homes.

At home parents are in tune with their child’s behavior and will notice if they look pale, are abnormally whiny, if they look flushed, then out comes the thermometer. Parents make sure there children are fed and get enough rest. Children are individuals that have individual requirements.

Being consistent is what is acceptable behavior is also a good way to make your child feel more secure as they know and understant their boundaries. If you start this pattern from the beginning, they will respect their limites even when they don't always like them. Remember to address poor behavior without using guilt or labeling your child in a negative way.

Making sure there are fun activities that include the whole family is also important. Always keep the lines of communication open, and listen to what your child has to say.

Kids Chest Press Equipment

source shapesforwomen
source shapesforwomen

Kids Health

Health and fitness is essential for a child to grow up feeling fit and good, plus they will tend to be more successful in all their activities. Some need afternoon naps or at least a quiet time for more years than another child. Some have healthy appetites and some are finicky. Just being observant can tell you a lot about your child’s health.

Why are 1 out of 3 children are now considered overweight or obese? What can you do as a parent to break the unhealthy patterns as the children get older?

Nutrition in Children

Some of the problems are caused by children spending less time playing physically active games and more time in front of the TV, the computer, or with a game video console. Also, families are busier in general today so more fast food is purchased and nutritious home-cooked meals aren’t cooked as frequently. It is important to limit TV and computer time for children and encourage them to play sports and active games.

The Body mass index (BMI) uses height and weight to estimate the amount of body fat. You can purchase a BMI calculator or figure it out manually. To calculate the BMI, divide weight in kg by height in meters squared; for pounds and inches, divide weight by height squared and multiply the result by the conversion factor 703. Normal weight is between the 5th and less than the 85th percentile, so if your child is overweight their BMI is between the 85th-95th percentiles and obese is above the 95th percentile. The BMI is not a perfect measurement and can be misleading with a more muscular child. Puberty which is a time of rapid growth can also have a misleading BMI.

Here are a few strategies that will improve nutrition for kids and encourage smart eating habits regardless of the age of the child.

  • It is important to have family meals together if at all possible. Healthy recipes will use more vegetables, fish and even some meatless meals. Siting down together as a family for dinner is a good time for communication with laughter. Children naturally laugh more when they are healthy and happy.
  • Serve a variety of healthy snacks for kids. Act as a role model as children mimic their parents. Avoid battles over food particularly with toddlers. This is one of the first areas children try to take control over their lives. Toddlers are often picky eaters.
  • You choose the food on your toddler’s plate and try to introduce different foods frequently as it isn’t healthy to feed them the same food every night. Most food jags with toddlers don’t last long and they move on to the next thing.
  • They won’t starve and they will learn to be more flexible. Serve small portions and they may like something served the second time that they didn’t the first time around. Also, as children get a little older involve them in the cooking process and let them help with some small tasks.

Children Laughing and Playing Outside

Eliptical Trainer

Great exercise for children source youthfit
Great exercise for children source youthfit

Children's Exercise

There are numerous ways to get your child to be more physically active. Start your child on an exercise program and make it fun. This is so important because there are a huge number of disease associated with child obesity, such as type II diabetes, asthma, hypertension, orthopedic problems and the most frightening is sleep apnea (when someone stops breathing for short periods of time).

You accomplish this primarily through cardiovascular activities that burn energy. Some examples are swimming running, bike riding, rowing, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, or group sports such as soccer and basketball. You want to be careful of safety issues and children should wear a well ventilated bike helmet strapped on properly, plus wear bright colors that drivers can see. Make sure the helmet has a CPSC or Snell sticker inside and this indicates the helmet meets standards set by the Consumers Product Safety Commission. Also, there are city playgrounds with swings, slides, monkey bars, etc. as another option.

You just want to get their heart rate up and have them sweat a little bit. Your children will be happier, as research as shown that obese children are more depressed than other children. When children are active they can get the “runner’s high” which is happens during cardiovascular activity. A massive dump of dopamine into the brain causes the "runner’s high"—a chemical that instills a euphoric state in the person doing the activity, a natural high.

Exercise Options for Colder Climates

If you live in a cold climate, there is sledding, skiing, snow boarding and throwing snow balls to name a few. If children can’t play outside but you have a large basement you may want to purchase some type of kid’s commercial hydraulic fitness equipment, which is fairly expensive. There are many types of fitness equipment that is more reasonably priced. The dance resolution is another fun way for children to exercise. You can purchase pads for the floor and the dance can be done as a single or in a group. Other options are maybe the whole family can get a YMCA membership.

In Conclusion

Exercise should be one part of the existence of a healthy lifestyle. Actually, excessive exercising can be detrimental to your child’s health. It can be more of a problem with daughters. Over exercising is often associated with eating disorders, which can lead to tendon, ligament, bone, cartilage, joint and muscle damage.

All things should be done in moderation for the best results with the whole body involved in the good health of the family and child fitness. The family that exercises together and focuses on healthy food will have healthier children.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 64 comments

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Oh this is soooo try, we did some many wonderful things all year long, with our five kids, bike riding all day, skiing, boating, a family that plays together stays together. Great hub


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Darlene, Thanks for your comments and it is good to hear that your family exercises together and plays together. Sounds wonderful.


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Pamela,

A good parental example is priceless in all phases of raising children. Good hub.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

rom, Thank you for your comment. I agree.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

very nice pamela! you have presented various ways to get our children moving. those are terribly grim statistics at the top, I hope more and more people will see how important their example is to their children. thumbs up!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Rebekahelle, Thank you for your comment and congratulations on winning the hub contest for the day.


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Many kids are tied to their electronics--this is a very good hub to get parents to motivate their kids to enjoy physical activities. These habits should start young and you've provided many ways to do just that. Thanks.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Anginwu, Thank you for your comment. I hope this hub does help some people. Being a parent is so difficult.


partisan patriot 6 years ago

Pamela

Sorry I’ve been away for a few days so I was unable to provide my expert commentary but even us fat old retired guys will not pass up the chance to pick up an extra buck when opportunity comes knocking.

I whole heartedly agree; children that have obese parents have a much greater chance of becoming obese. I have worked all my life to stay in shape and both of my kids are in good shape today.

Kids are less active today because parents are less involved in their lives.It is easier for parents to drop their kid off for practice than to coach their kids team; it’s easier to drop them off at their game and go shopping for an hour than to stay and support your kid. And another thing is those that are involved have ruined the sports for their kids. What kid wants to participate in any game that you don’t even keep score. Athletics is about competing against another person or team of persons and deciding the outcome by KEEPING SCORE. Life is about being the best at what you do and you don’t learn that by everyone just getting along so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings.

When I was young you had to compete for a spot on a Little League Team. We grew up as a result of that system in shape and better prepared for life. Today everyone makes the team; everyone plays; you don’t keep score and as a result you produce a group of Fatties unprepared for life but all well versed in the Rodney King Can’t we all Just Get along Philosophy!

Sorry to get off subject somewhat but I believe the essence of the above ranting and raving is at the root of this!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Pamela, for a very interesting and informative hub. I am no friend of all these gym things but love walking and swimming.


habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

This is such useful and needed info!


vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 6 years ago from Port St. Lucie

one of the best exercises is running, which a parent can do with their child. BTW, the new surgeon general is overweight, some say 40 lbs. some say that there's too much emphasis and bias against "full" people. Sometimes kids develop bulemia, because they're under so much social pressure.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Patriot, You brought up several good points and I agree with you. The job of a parent in my opinion is to raise a child that can stand on their own two feet, not lean on society to fix their problems. The better the example the parent sets, the better off the child.

Hello, I think what's important with exercise is to find something you like and then do it. Gyms are not for everyone.

Habee, Thank you for your comment.

Vrajavala, I think running is a great sport for family members. Hollywood does us a disservice by making size 0 a goal.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Very true Pamela...Thankfully I grew up in a very active family and therefore can see exactly what you mean! Thanks for sharing!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Ann, Thank you for your comment.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Terrific hub, Pamela. Besides fitness, all this great activity keeps a family united.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

BPOP, Thank you so much for your comment.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Very good hub Pamela. Keep up the good work.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

good advices mam, rated it up! Maita


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy & Maita, Thank you for your comments.


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Great Hub Pam and congratulations on your daily win!


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Nice job and well written. My son at 5years old knows what workout means so I think that is a good start. We put on music and dance and little does he know he is getting exercise all he knows is he is having fun with mommy.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Green Lotus & Janny, Thanks for your comments. I think 5 years old is a great age and a good place to start with the exercise habit. Thank you for the congratulations Green Lotus, I didn't even know I won until now. Hooray!


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

congrats Pamela, HOORAY! Maita


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

Awesome job Pamela! Congratulations on your daily win! :)


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

This was wodnerful and Congratulations on the daily win! :)


daisyjae profile image

daisyjae 6 years ago from Canada

You are so right that you have to set the example for your kids. if you lie around all day watching tv you can't expect to have fit kids!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, Moneyglitch, AEvans & Daisy, Thank you so much for your comments. I am thrilled to have won today!


poetlorraine 6 years ago

wow you sure do pack a lot into your hubs.... lovely and well done, i am lazy and only do short hubs.,


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Poetlorraine, Thank you for your comment.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I really believe that children will emulate their parents.. if they are active so will the kids be. Terrific post !!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Carolina, I agree with you. Thanks for the comment.


Grant's World profile image

Grant's World 6 years ago from Canada

Congrats on your daily win Pamela99. I agree also that your children will only be as active as their parents.

Cheers.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Grant, Thank you so much for your comment and I appreciate the congratulations.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Great hub and congrats!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sandy, Thanks for your comment


TnFlash profile image

TnFlash 6 years ago from Tampa, Florida

Excellent Hub! I had always tried to get my daughter to exercise more but it's hard to pry the Gameboy from her hands.


Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Great job once again, Pam. You really put your heart and soul into these hubs. Very good advice with so much information.

Good Luck, Rated up!

Sage


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Jack and Sage, Thank you so much for your comments.

This hub has been chosen for the weekly vote which of course makes me very happy. If you like it, I would appreciate your vote. Thanks everyone.


carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

Pamela: How do I vote?


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Carolina, Thanks for your comment and your vote. I sent an email to you. Thanks again.


betherann profile image

betherann 6 years ago from Montana

Great hub -- congrats on the win! :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Betherann, Thank you for the congratulations and of course, I am thrilled; and thank you for your comment.


Madame X 6 years ago

So often it comes down to what the parents do. If they are sedentary the kids will be too. And the same goes for eating habits. If the parents like McDonald's better than home-cooked veggies the kids will be there right behind them.

Your advice on toddlers is very well-said. Eating habits really do start at that age and if you can instill good habits then the kids will have a head start.

Excellent hub Pam - congrats on the win :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Madame X, Thank you so much for your comments. I agree with you on the parenting and thanks for the congrats.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

came to visit again, congrats Mam! HOORAY!


alexandriaruthk profile image

alexandriaruthk 6 years ago from US

Congrats Pam! you truly deserved to be included as nominee!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata and Alexandria, Thank you so much for the congratulation. It is very exciting for me.


Money Glitch profile image

Money Glitch 6 years ago from Texas

I know I've already commented on this one earlier, however, I just wanted to stop by and say congrats on being selected to this week's contest. :)


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Money Glitch, Thank you for the congratulations. I appreciate your thinking of me as I am very happy about being selected.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

congrats HOORAY, you deserve it, Maita


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, Thanks so much. I am so happy I won.


Cassidella profile image

Cassidella 6 years ago

Pamela this is a very good hub! I especially like the points to get kids involved in outdoor activities. Congrats on your win for week 3! Happy for you!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Cassidella, Thank you so much for your comment and your congrats on my win. It is exciting.


Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Extremely well written!!!! To make a long story short, I am so glad that my daughter is now more focused on being more physically fit. She is taking a dance class in school. There was just way too much 'internet and phone time'. It is also something that we now practice at home, even if only for a few minutes of the day. This hub is very helpful and gives ideas to moms and all others who may have concerns about getting their children (as well as themselves) active. It really does not take that much when they are very young, running and playing is a natural part of their lives. When they get older, it's somewhat more difficult and that's what makes family teamwork important. Thank you, reminders are awesome!!!!!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, Thank you do much for your comments. I am glad your daughter is dancing and she'll be glad she knows how to dance one day also. My thought was to start training children young when they still like to please their parents.


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States

Great hub! I think it's so important for your children to see you exercise, so they can see the importance of a healthy lifestyle!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Angela, I agree with you. Thank you for your comment,


FindTheBest profile image

FindTheBest 6 years ago

Great article. It's so important for families to be active so they can raise their children to be healthy as well.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Findthebest, You are so right. Thank you for your comment.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas

Congratulations on the daily win!


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Smireles, I appreciate the comment.


Iberkenbosch profile image

Iberkenbosch 6 years ago from Amsterdam, Netherlands

Yes you're absolutely right,we all know that children first learn & follow everything from their family members.So a children must also follow the fitness & diet habit of their family members.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Iberkenbosch, Yes, that is why I wrote this hub and I'm glad you stopped by. Thank you for your comment.

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