Keeping kids fit and healthy

Keeping kids fit and healthy

Teaching kids to eat right and stay active can implement lasting values and help prevent disease.

Teaching kids to eat right and stay active can implement lasting values and help prevent disease.

by Dr. Linda Khoshaba —

Preventative health in children is an important topic to focus on, as this can set the foundation for optimal lifelong health. Teaching kids to eat right and stay active can implement lasting values and help prevent disease.

Here are some simple tips to help keep you and your family fit and healthy, and to have fun while doing it.

 

Healthy eating and living

Since kids spend the majority of their time at school, making sure that they get their essential nutrients from a diet dense in antioxidants, protein and good sources of carbohydrates and fats is extremely important. Packing a lunch that contains these key ingredients can have a tremendous impact in the long term.

This will also help curb cravings, especially for those high-calorie foods in the vending machine that look so appealing. When it comes to snacks, great ideas include organic celery stalks with nut butters, fruit kebabs, hummus and veggies. Avoid sugary drinks. Instead, try water with lemon to make light lemonade.

We live in a society that is bombarded with electronics, ranging from computers, tablets, hand-held devices and other media sources. Naturally, our children have become experts at using them. The average screen time for children is approximately three hours per day.

The downside is that there is a direct correlation with the amount of screen time and obesity; therefore, limiting duration and using this time for high-quality content would be extremely beneficial in reducing factors that contribute to obesity, including a high body mass index (BMI).

Try balancing screen time with some lean time. Lean time is physical activity, such as playing sports, walking outdoors, dancing or swimming.

 

Healthy body, mind and spirit

The best medicine is preventative medicine. Childhood years are extremely important in educating and bringing awareness to the negative consequences associated with tobacco, alcohol and recreational drug use. Being a positive role model is significant.

Focus on creating a healthy body image by complimenting children on their efforts and accomplishments. This positive feedback will increase their overall self-esteem. It is important to discuss healthy body messages and overcome the media pressure of “ideal” images for both girls and boys.

Helping and guiding children through mental and emotional health issues is as important as addressing physical needs. Whether they are related to temper tantrums or going through puberty, having a supportive family and friends can help improve the developmental process.

Some great ways to improve this area include finding time for spiritual practices, meditation and relaxation. Another beneficial activity is to get kids involved in their community, which can often correlate with learning a new skill or hobby.

 

Dr. Linda Khoshaba is a naturopathic physician whose focus includes women’s health, pediatric medicine, diabetes management and prolotherapy. She is in practice at Integrative Health in Scottsdale, Ariz. 480-657-0003 or integrativehealthcare.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 33, Number 1, February/March 2014.

 

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