According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than tripled in children and adolescents over the past 30 years.
Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for a number of health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers.
A family that changes together gets healthy together — building a culture of health that helps families adopt healthy habits is key to reducing childhood obesity rates. If families don’t know how to get started, reaching out to Good Neighbor Healthcare Center’s Registered Dietitian, Michelle Davila is a great first step.
The following tips are some great ways to incorporate healthier eating habits and more physical activity into your daily family routine:
1. Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice (supplemented by age-appropriate servings of low-fat milk) and make it easy for everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. Feel free to mix and match fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables to provide variety. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals, and allow children to pour their own water. 2. Play Every Day/Go Outside: Kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving. 3. Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company. 4. Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, keep a chart, go for a walk after a meal). 5. Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; go to bed and rise from bed within 1 hour of the same time every day. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.
Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, a full service healthcare clinic, is located on Heights Blvd in Houston, TX. One-on-one healthy living/healthy eating sessions are conducted by a bilingual registered dietitian. Nutritional counseling can help with preventing disease and achieving/maintaining a healthy body weight by creating a eating regime tailored to your lifestyle and/or optimized for your chosen sporting activities (running, cycling, swimming, soccer, football, etc.).