September: National Childhood Obesity Month
It’s back to school! Did your child have an annual physical before joining a sports team this fall or before starting school? Did their pediatrician say anything positive or negative about their weight or BMI (body mass index)? Let’s start with some statistics:
What can you do, as a parent or guardian, for the children in your life to help them get healthy and stay healthy? The American Heart Association highlights seven factors, Life’s Simple 7, for people of any age to follow.
Walk, Run and Play Every Day:
Get moving! Though the number varies by source, making time for 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day will keep your metabolism healthy and extra weight at bay.
Keep a Healthy Weight:
Learn about Cholesterol:
There are some things you can’t control, and despite what medication ads you see on TV, your cholesterol isn’t entirely out of your hands. Know your “good” and “bad” cholesterol numbers, and a healthy lifestyle can bring your numbers within reasonable guidelines.
Don’t Smoke or Use Smokeless Tobacco:
For children, make sure they know how to avoid peer pressure to smoke. If you smoke, make an effort to quit and to keep tobacco products out of the house. Kids are smarter than you think about sneaking a few cigarettes, and before you–and they–know it, they’re addicted. Quitting, with appropriate support, will improve your chances of living longer.
Eat a Heart-healthy Diet:
Was the last thing you learned about nutrition the Food Guide Pyramid? Check out USDA’s MyPlate and the American Heart Association’s heart-healthy recommendations.
Keep Blood Pressure Healthy:
High blood pressure is but the beginning of a host of heart and health problems. Know your numbers and how to bring them into a healthy range.
Learn about Blood Sugar and Diabetes:
As with cholesterol risk, even with a family history, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way to mitigating the effects of diabetes and blood sugar disorders.
You may be thinking, “But they’re just kids! Let ‘em have what they want; they’ll bounce back!” If you missed the infographic and scare statistics at the beginning of this post, let me reiterate: health matters at any age. Where does health and nutrition education begin? At home, at the family table. As a parent or other caretaker, the best thing you can do for your children is to be a good role model, with healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and cooking habits.
Who watches the Watchmen?
Fans of the comic Watchmen know, who watches the Watchmen?
Seems like a lot to take in: healthy nutrition, adequate activity—and all this on top of childcare, working a job and paying bills and carving out a sliver of time for your blog or your photography hobby? Who cares for the caregivers?
You are your own caregiver. When you make sure you take care of yourself first—including setting aside time for that photography hobby—you will have enough energy to set and maintain health goals, for you and your family. Modeling good health will 1) keep you able to care for those around you and 2) provide a good example and show people how to take good care.
The Challenge for this September, National Childhood Obesity Month: The American Heart Association organized a series of activities for children and families to become aware about childhood obesity and to offer solutions for healthy living. How can you shape your family’s habits into health-supportive choices for life?