Teaching kids healthy habits and how to make better choices on their own is key so they grow to be healthy adults. They also help prevent future health problems like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Unfortunately, there are many factors that are keeping kids today from building a healthy lifestyle.
The CDC reports that the percentage of adolescents aged 12–18 years who are obese is now 20.6%. Technology, busy schedules, fast food, and lack of exercise are all factors that contribute to our obesity epidemic. The fact is that kids today are learning many bad habits that are very difficult to change.
Too Much Technology – These days, kids learn to use technology at such a young age that they spend their whole lives texting, playing video games, and staring at screens. The problem is that their bodies were created for movement and not this kind of sedentary activity which can lead to obesity.
Having a Busy Lifestyle – Even though it is better for kids to be busy than lazy, packing their schedule with too many activities leaves little time left for play and relaxation. It is important for kids to have fun and do their own exercise through play while still having enough time for relaxation to avoid burnout.
Fast Foods – According to the CDC, fast-food consumption has increased fivefold among children since 1970. The fact is a diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause kids to gain weight quickly. And poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood.
A Sedentary Lifestyle – The CDC recommends that children get at least one hour of exercise daily to remain healthy. Unfortunately, most kids today are sedentary and the more inactive a child is, the greater the risk of many major health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Teach Kids Healthy Habits Early
Habits are actions and behaviors that we perform subconsciously and they are very difficult to break. Studies show that the habits that we develop early and are formed in childhood related to eating and exercise carry over into adulthood. And once poor health habits emerge they tend to be long lasting.
For example, research has indicated that 97% of people who lose weight regain it again within 5 years. Yes, our health habits are really that hard to change! That is why if you want to help your child develop good habits that are associated with a longer and healthier life you have to start at a very early age.
For these and more reasons, it is important that children learn to make better choices on their own. Here are the top 6 habits to teach your kids while they’re young so they can grow into healthy adults:
#1: Set Early Bedtimes
It is very important that kids and teens get a healthy amount of sleep each night to stay focused throughout the day. They also need more sleep than adults because they are in a time of very fast physical, intellectual, and emotional growth. To help your teen stay alert and focused, most experts agree that kids should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Sticking to a routine is important too, so don’t let weekends become a late-night free-for-all.
#2: Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
Most experts agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. It is also a great opportunity for your teen to get a healthy dose of essential nutrients such as calcium and fiber. To get your kids ready for breakfast each morning, consider making their bedtimes a little earlier each night so they have enough time to eat breakfast and whenever possible, can enjoy it together as a family.
#3: Stock up on Fruits & Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and low in calories! A healthy snack will also help your teen stay energized and alert during the day. To ensure your teen gets plenty of fruits and vegetables, we recommend you keep pre-washed produce available to simply grab and eat. Keep a bag of baby carrots or celery and plenty of berries, grapes, and apples for your kids to snack on during the day.
#4: Try Not to Skip Any Meals
Although skipping meals seems like a good way to lose weight, it may actually slow down your metabolism and cause you to eat more throughout the day. Studies show that teens who skip meals are more likely to be overweight than those who make eating a balanced meal a priority. During meal times make sure to include one food from each food group – Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, and Protein. MyPlate is a great resource that will help your family stay on track!
#5: Exercise at Least Twice a Week
It is important that your teen exercises regularly not only to stay fit but also to perform better in school! According to experts “exercise boosts academic performance in various ways: allowing kids to pay attention better and focus on their work; boosting self-esteem and mood; and increasing blood flow to the brain helping with memory and concentration.” We highly recommend that all our kids come to our Lean Teen Classes at least twice a week.
#6: Limit Liquid Calories
When it comes to building lifelong healthy habits, drinking 8 glasses of water is a must. Teens cannot replace water with juices or diet sodas! Water helps us stay hydrated and increases our metabolic rate which is important for weight loss. On the other hand, juices and diet sodas contain artificial sweeteners that are toxic and directly affect our hormone levels. Sugary drinks are simply empty calories and devoid of nutrients!
Maintaining Balance and Consistency
Being fit is all about learning balance and consistency while having the right guidance and support to be successful. At Kalina’s Fitness, our mission is to give kids (ages 8-18) the tools to transform their lives and build healthy habits that last a lifetime. By combining nutritional counseling, group support, and exercise classes, our Lean Teen Program empowers kids and teens to achieve their fitness goals.
It all starts with a one-on-one nutritional consultation to better understand your child’s eating habits. Your health coach will prepare a nutrition plan that gives your family the flexibility needed to make permanent lifestyle changes. Register your child today for a Free Day Pass so we can start helping your family use MyPlate. We look forward to serving you with excellence. Thank you for visiting us!