School will soon be back in session, but do you know what your children are learning about a matter of lifelong importance? Health matters… food and drink, exercise, sleep and a general sense of well-being. These are the substances that sustain life. For the next few weeks we will be focusing on our children's health and nutrition.
One of the best gifts we can give or children is the gift of health. As parents, we try to guide them toward behaviors that encourage proper growth and development, as well as to set the stage for a high quality of life as adults. One of the most basic steps we can take is to encourage a foundation of healthy eating and physical activity. What many parents do not realize is the impact their own habits have on their children.
A survey conducted by the Children's Nutrition Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine shows that there are some good reasons to return to family dinners. The study revealed that kids who had dinner with their parents ate lower fat foods and more fruits and vegetables than kids who did not. Overweight children were more inclined to report eating meals in front of the television.
Another study in Spain of 282 teenagers showed that kids who shared at least five meals per week with family members suffered less anxiety and depression regardless of their parents' education level or whether both parents worked outside the home. (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health July 2001).
The reason is obvious. Family meals mean that an adult is in charge of the food, teaching good table manners and also that parents are paying attention to their children.
According to Aristotle, we teach children three ways - based on habit, precept and example. Habituation at an early age makes all the difference. If you want kids to learn what work is, have them work. If you want them to understand responsibility, hold them responsible. And, if you want them to understand the importance of a healthy diet, make sure they eat one. He goes on to advise that the earlier you start the better.
But the most important part is setting an example. That's how children know that we, as adults, take the precepts seriously. This is how children know that whatever we are trying to impart to them, whether it is the importance of a healthy diet, or the value of telling the truth, is not a game, not just talk, but rather something the adults in their lives take seriously.
So, the advice for parents who want the best for their children is as follows: help your children form the habit of eating healthy foods, and living a healthy lifestyle as early as possible (but remember, it is never to late to start); make sure your children understand the importance, not by preaching, but by making health and wellness part of your family culture; and, lead by example - children do not respond to what you say, as much as they respond to what you do!
What can we do to keep our kids fit and healthy: Plenty! Quietly begin phasing in changes: get rid of the soda one week, make the after-dinner walk a family tradition the next. Make no announcements - just start stealth health.
Disclaimer: Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles are written and published strictly for information purposes. Consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.maryellajuiceplus.com