Healthy Habits in Children

Dr. Family Talks about Healthy Habits in Children

Like adults, children should be physically active most, if not all, days of the week. Experts suggest at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity daily for most children. Walking fast, bicycling, jumping rope, and playing basketball, soccer, or hopscotch are all good ways for children to be active. Parents play a big role in helping kids to get up and get moving.

Sitting while using computers, hand-held devices, or TVs for hours at a time may reduce your child’s active playtime. Limit your child’s time watching TV, playing inactive computer and video games, or listening to music on hand-held devices while sitting down.

Children who are overweight are more likely to become adults who are overweight. These children may develop type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems. Weight problems can also lead to stress, sadness, and low self-esteem in children.

Think about the drink

  • Serve water or 2% low-fat milk more often as the drink of first choice.
  • Reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened sodas that your child drinks.
  • If serving fruit juice or fruit-flavored drinks, dilute with an equal or greater amount of water.
  • Offer fresh fruit, which has more fiber than juice, more often than 100% fruit juice.

Offer healthy snacks

  • Try to keep healthy food in the house for snacks and meals for the whole family.
  • Offer such snacks as sliced apples, oranges, pears, and celery sticks. Or try whole-grain bread served with low-fat cheese, peanut butter.
  • Give your children a healthy snack or two in addition to their three daily meals to keep them energized.
  • Read nutrition labels. Some foods, like snack bars, are not as healthy as they seem.

Limit fast food

  • Order a side fruit bowl or salad instead of fries.
  • Ask for sandwiches to be prepared without sauce.
  • Order “small.” Avoid super-sizing.

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