Healthy habits help children to grow up to be happy and successful adults. They also help prevent future health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, 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 reasons, we will focus on the 3 pillars of a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, exercise, and sleep.
1. Balanced Nutrition
Proper nutrition is essential at every stage of life, but this is especially true for children. Kids need a balanced diet to help fuel their growing brains, muscles, and bodies. Whether you have a toddler or a teen, here are a few of the best strategies to improve nutrition and encourage smart eating habits.
Sitting down at the table as a family is an important part of establishing healthy eating habits and provides quality time for the whole household. Studies show that families that eat together tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and consume less fast food, soft drinks, and foods high in added sugar.
Eating at home is also more economical and gives you control over both the quality and quantity of food your family eats. While preparing family meals try to serve a variety of fruits and vegetables, limit soft drinks, encourage lots of water, keep in mind proper portion sizes, and avoid junk and fried foods.
2. Physical Exercise
In order to create a future of happy and healthy adults with your kids, it is essential to get active as a family. Unfortunately, between school, work, and extracurricular demands, families today are very busy and home is the place for decompressing in front of a screen… many times in separate rooms.
Make physical activity part of your family’s routine. Take a walk, visit the community pool, or go on a bike ride. Encourage your kids to try team sports or karate classes. These can help your child’s growth and self-esteem. It is also essential that your child learn to workout and build a weekly exercise habit.
Developing a weekly workout routine and playing sports are two very different things. Most kids that play sports eventually stop playing as adults. This is why it is so important for kids to learn to workout at a young age. Especially since it will be a lot harder for them to develop an exercise habit as an adult.
3. Resting and Sleep
Sleep, and the rest and repair it offers, is critical to life. It ensures the optimal functioning of our bodies including our physical endurance, mood, memory, digestion, and even the condition of our skin. However, compared to diet and exercise, our culture undervalues the health benefits of sleep.
Most kids today are trading their sleep time for screen time which can have negative long-term consequences. Kids that do not get enough sleep often gain weight since they become hungrier and drawn to high-calorie foods. They are also at a higher risk of diabetes and have a slower metabolism.
This is why it is critical that kids have no more than 2 hours of screen time per day to be fit. Screen time includes the TV, computer, tablet, and video games. You should also set time limits on smart phones as a part of screen time. Promote physical activity instead and make sure your kids get plenty of rest.
Schedule Your Free Class Today
At Kalina’s Fitness, we combine personalized nutrition, group support, and unlimited exercise classes to empower kids and teens with the tools they need to achieve their fitness and weight loss goals. We are driven by a strong belief that every child deserves the opportunity to realize their full potential. Let us help your child become an amazing version of themselves and register today for a Free Day Pass.