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Teaching your Kids to be Healthy

Guest Post by Kay Dalton

With the noted rising annual obesity levels among children, it is increasingly becoming important to teach your children to be healthy more than ever. Overweight and obese children are more susceptible to illnesses like diabetes and heart problems. Obesity is a very unhealthy condition for children and it is very difficult for them to conquer this by their lonesome without the proper guidance. When kids reach adolescence and may already want to do something about the problem, it may be too late as they may already have well-entrenched eating and activity habits that can easily overpower them if they are not disciplined enough, or they will be trying vainly to break free from it for the rest of their lives.

The most important step you as a parent can take to teach your children to be healthy is to set an example for them. Eating healthy food should be the norm while fast foods, cake and candy should only be thought of as treats which can be enjoyed occasionally. Those categorized as unhealthy food should not be stocked inside the house so as to avoid being tempted.

Be sure that the consumption of fatty foods are minimized while encouraging your children to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat and poultry, and wholegrain carbohydrates. Make it a point to serve healthy meals to the whole family so that it becomes the standard and anything unhealthy is frowned upon as not in keeping with that standard. A very important part of a healthy lifestyle is physical activity, so go out and have fun with your kids and convince them to be active even if it's just to play catch in your backyard. Skipping, hopping and running are activities that are easily blended into various games. One way to pique children's interest in physical activity is to introduce them to traditional games like hop-scotch, tag and handball. They can also participate in sports and other organized activities once they start playgroup or pre-school. Tell them how active you were during your younger days by showing old photos of mom in her cheerleading outfit or of dad playing football.

In the same manner that you should become a passionate reader yourself if you want to encourage your children to read, so should it be when it comes to physical activity. Provide an example by exercising yourself and have fun with your children and support them when they participate in sport or other physical activities.

It is important however to always emphasize the importance of being healthy and not just on being thin or losing weight. Your children need to learn that a balanced, healthy lifestyle is better for them - and for you. Parents stand to gain a lot from being fit and healthy because aside from feeling better - they will also be able to lead a better quality way of life to enjoy with their children and even grandchildren.

It is our responsibility as parents to train our children the best we can. There is no hard rule when it comes to parenting, but keeping our family healthy is always a very wise investment. Don't give in when your kids return from play dates and ask you for certain kinds of food because they claim that their friends can eat whatever they like. Unhealthy food is full of additives, preservatives and flavoring designed to make it taste better, but it is unhealthy. From the very beginning, train your children to be healthy and you won't regret it.

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