Raising Healthy Children - Tips
Healthy Patterns Produce Healthy Children
If the whole family is focused on fitness with healthy eating and exercise, then 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 their growth patterns differ. 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 understand their boundaries. If you start this pattern from the beginning, they will respect their limits 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.
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? It is important to build a healthy self esteem for your child. They need to know they are great kids no matter how smart they might be or how much they weigh. Focus on the positive!
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. Sitting 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
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 diseases 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 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.
Children's Exercise Equiptment
Exercise Options for Colder Climates
If you live in a cold climate, there is sledding, skiing, snowboarding and throwing snowballs 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 are 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.
Raising Happy Children
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.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.