Did you know that childhood obesity is the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking? Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. If current trends continue, today’s kids could be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.
Parents and caregivers are essential decision makers when it comes to the nutrition, physical activity & health needs of their children. The American Heart Association offers tips for parents to help their children develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits. For more information, visit www.heart.org.
Help Children Develop Healthy Habits
You can help your child develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits. As a parent, you can encourage your kids to evaluate their food choices and physical activity habits.
• Get the whole family moving – Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise & the time together.
• Limit TV, video game and computer time – These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle & excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Limit screen time to 2 hours per day.
Healthy Foods Under $1
Try some of these healthy foods under $1 to keep your family on track while sticking to your budget.
- Bananas Great for: Snacks and fruit salads, yogurt parfaits, and smoothies. What’s a serving? 1 banana. Price per serving; About 45 cents. (national average) Bananas sell for about $0.89 per pound, & a large banana weighs about 1/2 lb. Nutrition Info per serving: About 121 calories, 3.5 grams fiber, 14% Daily Value for potassium (487 mg), 20% DailyValue for vitamin C.
- Baby Carrots (in bags) Great for: Snacks, casseroles, stews, veggie platters, and side dishes. What’s a serving? About 1/2 cup or 2 ounces raw. Price per serving: 19 cents.(national average) A 16-ounce bag costs about $1 on sale and contains about 8 servings (2 ounces each). Nutrition Info per serving: About 21 calories, 2 grams of fiber, and 166% Daily Value for vitamin A.
Get Non-Athletes to be Physically Active
Team sports are a great way for kids to get their daily activity requirement, but competitive sports aren’t for everyone. Here are some ways to encourage your “non-athlete” to get up and get moving.
Find an activity they love. Some kids just don’t like competing in sports. That’s OK, there are lots of other ways to be active! Try swimming, horseback riding, dancing, cycling, skateboarding, yoga, walking or jumping rope. Encourage your child to explore multiple activities to find one they really enjoy. Need more ideas? Visit startwalkingnow.org for tips on getting active through the American Heart Association’s Start! movement.
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