Children's Healthy Living
Good health with a healthy lifestyle and vibrant living as adults begins as a kid with your children's healthy living derived from "healthy living" and "healthy eating" with good kids nutrition over the child's years, plus consistent physical activity and daily exercise, combined with a healthy family life too.
Your child's health includes physical, mental and social well-being. Most parents know the basics of keeping children healthy, like offering them healthy foods, making sure they get enough sleep and exercise and insuring their safety.
It is also important for children to get regular checkups with their health care provider. These visits are a chance to check your child's development. They are also a good time to catch or prevent problems.
Other than checkups, school-age children should be seen for:
- Significant weight gain or loss
- Sleep problems or change in behavior
- Fever higher than 102
- Rashes or skin infections
- Frequent sore throats
- Breathing problems
Exercise for Children
Like adults, kids need exercise. Most children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. Regular exercise helps children
- Feel less stressed
- Feel better about themselves
- Feel more ready to learn in school
- Keep a healthy weight
- Build and keep healthy bones, muscles and joints
- Sleep better at night
As kids spend more time watching TV, they spend less time running and playing. Parents should limit TV, video game and computer time. Parents can set a good example by being active themselves. Exercising together can be fun for everyone. Competitive sports can help kids stay fit. Walking or biking to school, dancing, bowling and yoga are some other ways for kids to get exercise.
Eating well and being physically active are key to your child’s well-being. Eating too much and exercising too little can lead to overweight and related health problems that can follow children into their adult years. You can take an active role in helping your child and your whole family learn healthy eating and physical activity habits.
All children benefit from healthy eating and physical activity. A balanced diet and being physically active help children:
- Build strong bones and muscles
- Have energy
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid obesity-related diseases like type 2 diabetes
- Get plenty of nutrients
- Feel good about themselves
Tips for Parents
- Make sure your child eats breakfast. Breakfast provides children with the energy they need to listen and learn in school.
- Offer your child a wide variety of foods, such as grains, vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products, and lean meats or beans.
- Talk to your health care provider if you are concerned about your child’s eating habits or weight.
- Cook with less fat when you bake, roast, or poach foods instead of frying.
- Limit the amount of added sugar in your child’s diet. Serve water or low-fat milk more often than sugar-sweetened sodas and fruit-flavored drinks.
- Involve your child in planning/preparing meals. Children may be more willing to eat the dishes they help fix.
- Be a role model for your children. If they see you being physically active and having fun, they are more likely to be active and stay active throughout their lives.
- Encourage your child to be active every day.
- Involve the whole family in activities like hiking, biking, dancing, basketball, or roller skating.
Health Tip: Sign Up Your Child for a Sport
Enrolling your child in a baseball, soccer or other sports league can ensure regular exercise, promote friendships and instill a sense of teamwork.
Suggestions before you sign up your child for a team sport:
- Consider how much time the sport will take away from family time, homework and relaxation.
- Think about how sports participation will impact the rest of the family.
- Make sure you work out any transportation and schedule issues, especially if you have more than one child playing sports.
- Consider lending a hand to your child's sport. Volunteering can encourage your child to participate and help you spend quality time together.
Parents want to keep children safe from harm. Take steps to keep your children safe by:
- Installing the right child safety seat in your car
- Teaching children how to cross the street safely
- Making sure they wear the right gear and equipment for sports
- Installing and testing smoke alarms
- Storing medicines, cleaners and other dangerous substances in locked cabinets
- Baby proofing your home
- Not leaving small children unattended