Help Your Kids Stay Healthy

Tallahassee Parents,

When it comes to making your kids healthy, you have to do more than exercise.

The obesity rate in kids is estimated as 18.5% and affects about 13.7 million children and adolescents. Obesity percentages climb as children get older. 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds.

In the past, parents could get their kids more active and usually the problem would subside, however that is not the case anymore.

A healthy diet and better nutrition are more important keys to preventing your child from becoming a statistic.

Here are some ideas to help .

STAY AWAY FROM ALL TYPES OF SODA AND SUGARY DRINKS: Whether it is juice, soda or diet soda, eliminate them from your child’s diet. They have little to zero nutritional value. Do not be fooled, diet drinks are not much better. They contain artificial sweeteners that confuse you mind in how to process them. Your body still producers insulin to counter the sweetness causing weight gain. Juices, including orange juice, are full of sugar too.

MILK DOES NOT DO THE BODY GOOD: Drinking milk is not as beneficial as we are led to believe. It also contains sugar and often causes health problems by being responsible for producing large amounts of mucous in the body. There are many other sources of calcium available that are consumed more effectively in your body. There are also other variations of milk that are healthier like cashew and almond milk.

SNACKS AND SUGAR: You don’t have to deprive your child of snacks and/or cookies, but having a schedule or plan does help. Instead of pulling out the whole bag of chips to snack on in front of the TV, pull out a specific portion size. Studies show people eat more in front of the tv or when they have the whole bag available to them.

Having a snack and organized meal schedule helps too. Set times when you eat breakfast, lunch, dinner along with ideal snack times. This keeps your kids satisfied, energy levels up and increases their metabolism.

WATER: Yes, you knew it was on the list. Drink lots of it all day long. Kids have faster heart rates traditionally than adults and their bodies have a lot going on inside. Water is essential to making those process work effectively.

SLEEP: You actually burn fat when you sleep. If you kids aren’t getting enough sleep, it is affecting them physically and mentally. Adults are fine with 7-8 hours, but kids need more. Their bodies are like high performance race cars and need the proper fueling. Sleep is fuel for later.

EXERCISE: Yes, this is still important. It is the last on the list for a reason. You cannot outwork nutrition. Find exercise your child will enjoy and receive the support they need. Team sports might not be the answer if they are out of shape. Teammates can be mean and judgmental if they think you are slowing the team down. Also, your child might not get much playing time if they struggle physically. Individual activities like running, gymnastics and martial arts can be great solutions. Martial Arts especially is a great outlet and often mixes life skills and personal development lessons to help kids develop into great adults.

Take a few minutes and a piece of paper to make a plan for your child. You will see with just a few changes here and there, you can make a big difference. It helps if you set a good example and follow the same path. Parents who practice healthy habits often have kids that follow the same habits.

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