Parenting Tips: Healthy Eating and Exercise for Kids

 

During your child regular wellness check-ups, your pediatrician or health care provider routinely measures your child's height and weight. These numbers are used to calculate your child’s Body Mass Index (BMI). The BMI scale is only one indicator of physical health in the present moment and is used to determine whether a child is currently at a healthy weight, overweight, or underweight. According to the CDC, around 14% of all children ages two to five in the United States are overweight. Many families are working to manage a healthy weight for their child’s healthy weight. Here are a few tips and reminders to help:

Diets are not for kids. Restricting food at an early age may lead to low self-esteem and eating disorders later in life. Instead, encourage healthy eating habits by introducing your child to a variety of fruits and vegetables early on. Swap sugary drinks such as soda and juice for water. Talk about healthy eating when taking older children grocery shopping.

Commit to adopting healthy eating habits as a family. When adults practice healthy eating habits, children naturally mimic their actions. Modeling healthy eating benefits everyone in the home. Children as young as one year old can play a role in preparing meals together as a family.

Never use food as a reward. or punishment for your child’s behavior. Use non-food rewards like taking your child to the library where they can pick a new favorite book or playing a game they love with mom or dad.

Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy weight. Staying active helps to burns calories and excess energy and exercise has a positive impact on children’s mental health and well-being. Incorporate exercise in everyday activities like parking further away from the grocery store or walking upstairs instead of taking an elevator. If venturing outside is not possible for your family, try activities such as having a dance party in your home or putting on an exercise video on YouTube. A half an hour of exercise every day can make a big impact for your family.

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