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Keeping Your Kids Fit and Healthy

What is the first thing your kids do when they come home from school? Do they grab a snack and head for the TV or computer?

Eating too much and not being active can make kids too heavy. In the last 20 years, the rate of overweight kids has doubled. About 15% of kids ages 6-19 weigh too much. That means that nearly one out of every five kids is too heavy.

Young people who are too heavy have a greater risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Certain cancers

Extra weight also puts a lot of stress on growing bones and joints. Being overweight plays a role in poor self-esteem and depression in kids, too.

Kids really do watch what you do. Habits they learn early follow them all their lives. Make sure your home is a place where they learn healthy habits.

Tips for Parents:

  • Be a good role model for your kids. Make sure you and your family eat healthy
  • Keep fewer sweets and high-fat snacks in your home. Have fruits and vegetables ready for when kids want to snack
  • Use 100% fruit juice in place of fruit juice drinks. A half cup is 1 helping
  • Give your child water instead of soda pop or fruit drinks
  • Use skim or 2% milk in place of whole milk
  • Do not force your child to finish the food on their plate if they are full
  • Do not use food as a reward. And do not withhold food to punish your child
  • Do not eat snacks or meals while watching TV
  • Try to get your child to be more active each day. You can join in on the fun! Go out walking or biking together, wash the car or do other chores as a team. Each child should get at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.

Please talk to your doctor if you think your child may weigh too much. The diet for all kids should be safe and full of good things for their growing bodies.

Source: OSF Saint Francis Medical Center

Visit WebMD for more information.

Exercise:

You play an important role in how your children feel about exercise. Here are some tips to help them be more active:

  • Make being active part of your family's daily routine. Set aside time for family walks or for playing active games together.
  • Give children active toys and equipment. Take them to places where they can be active.
  • Cheer children on when they take part in physical activities. Support them as they show interest in new ones.
  • Make being active fun. It can be anything your child enjoys, from team sports to free play.
  • Make sure activities are correct for a child's age. And, to ensure safety, use gear such as helmets, wrist pads and knee pads.
  • Find a handy place to be active regularly.
  • Limit TV and video game time to no more than two hours a day. Urge children to walk, play or dance instead.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Visit WebMD for more information.

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Last Updated On: 11/20/2015
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