Inspiring Our Kids to Lead Healthy Lives

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article about childhood obesity and discovered an easy way to remember what we need to do to get our kids to live a healthy lifestyle.

In case you haven’t heard or noticed, childhood obesity is becoming a serious health problem in the U.S. More than 23 million kids in the U.S. are overweight or obese, enough for public health officials to call it an epidemic. The topic warrants attention because September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

Being obese in childhood puts you at significant risk for other health problems down the road. These kids are greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, and all the complications that come with these conditions such as neuropathy, blindness and kidney failure.

To inspire a healthy lifestyle among kids, a group of health, business and community organizations in Maine launched 5-2-1-0 Let’s Go. The goal was simple but challenging: to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children and youth – from the time they’re born until the time they turn 18.

The formula was simple. Every day, you should urge your children to follow these rules:

* Eat 5 fruits and vegetables.

* Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours.

* Exercise for at least 1 hour.

* Drink 0 (or near 0) sugar-sweetened beverages.

Some of you may these ideas are crazy. After all, some kids may get their only fruit for the day from fruit juice. Anything more strenuous than a round of Guitar Hero might be too taxing, and cutting back on electronics may feel like social suicide for the text-happy teen.

As parents, we all know how hard it is to encourage our kids to eat healthy when they’ve got so many tastier, less healthy options to choose from. We know how hard it can be to pry them away from their electronic toys to send them outdoors to play. And trying to squeeze an hour of exercise into already busy schedules? There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in our days.

But we’ve gotten to the point where we have to do something. Maybe it’s setting a bowl of fruit on your kitchen table or taking the TV out of your child’s bedroom. Maybe it’s getting up a half hour earlier on weekends to take a morning walk with your child. Maybe it’s limiting soda to once a week instead of drinking it every day.

One thing is for certain: we all have to do something toward creating healthier habits in our children. Their futures depend on it.

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About healthywritermom

I'm a health writer and the married mom of two daughters, who finds herself constantly tending to the health needs of her family. Writing ab
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One Response to Inspiring Our Kids to Lead Healthy Lives

  1. Karen KuhnWright says:

    Winnie, kids of parents that garden AND have the kids involved in the garden eat way more veg than the *average*. My 5 year old eats cherry tomatoes that are the shade of her teepee, she pulls radishes and carrots she planted herself, loves the heirloom lemon cucumbers ( delicious and adorable) eat’s pesto with gusto, and is helping me dig out the purple potatoes we grew this year. Now, I DO make french fries out of them but hey, I also use olive oil and rosemary, so they are better then fast food =)

    When you invite your children to join you in the garden, you are getting them outside and they are invested into what comes OUT of the garden. Even something as simple as putting in a patch of everbearing strawberries will get your kids interested. And it’s fun to join them on the strawberry treasure hunt from spring to fall !

    Gardening can be work, but there are great resourses to help you have a awesome productive garden in a very small space and a minimum of work. I reccommend “Lasagna Gardening” by Patrica Lanza as a excellent introduction to no-till gardening. I have a 50′ asparagras patch, as well as 5 other raised bed gardens that are 4X16′ and I have used lasagna gardening in all of them and I never till, weed, just mulch and harvest. I would also reccommend “Carrots love Tomatos” by Louise Riotte, which has a great introduction to companion planting.

    Happy gardening! And remember, you don’t have to mow a garden =)

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