Family routines help kids shed weight?
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Many factors are contributing to our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic. At home, making some lifestyle changes in your family’s everyday routine can help kids get back on track when it comes to learning new habits that can result in weight loss.
WHAT WE KNOW
Only 2% of American children eat their recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. Today, our youth are spending less and less time engaged in physical activity and more and more time watching TV, talking on cell phones, and sitting in front of computers. In addition, a family’s busy schedule often results in fewer opportunities to have dinner together and less time for sleeping. All of these habits, (all too commonplace in today’s world) have resulted in more and more young people being overweight and obese. The good news is, there are steps families can take to reduce the likelihood that their children will have to deal with overweight issues and problems associated with this condition.
HOW DO WE KNOW THIS?
A 2013 study published by JAMA Pediatrics reports that low-income families who received in-home counseling on healthy habits found that their children increased sleep by 45 minutes per day, cut down on TV by one hour on weekend days and, in turn, reduced their body mass index (BMI) by 20%.*
Promoting healthy household routines like increasing sleep duration and reducing TV viewing may be an effective approach to reducing BMI.
3 Ways to Create a Healthier Home Environment
- Engage in outdoor activities as a family and encourage your children to play sports or to get some exercise each and every day.
- Monitor the amount of time your kids use cell phones and computers, and play video games.
- Eat more meals together as a family.
When thinking about eating more meals as a family, be sure to plan on meals that include plenty of fruits and veggies. That way, children will get all the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other substances their bodies need to grow and be strong.
7 Ways to Help Your Kids Make Healthy Food Choices
- Serve meals that are rich in fruits and vegetables, fiber, whole grains, and lean protein, and that are low in calories, fats, and sugar.
- Monitor what your children are eating, at home and when dining out. Pack nutritious lunches and snacks for school or encourage them to eat from the school salad bar, if one is available.
- Teach children about portion control. Start by using small plates and as they get older show them how half their plate should be filled with fruit and veggies.
- Model good eating habits by eating lots of nutritious food, including plenty of fruit and vegetables.
- Got a picky eaters? Be patient, it may take several tries before they’ll develop a taste for certain foods. Introduce new fruits and veggies to foods they already like: add carrots to meatloaf and berries to their cereal or salad.
- Take them shopping with you. Teach older kids how to read labels and show them the different places in the supermarket where they can get fruits and vegetables—in the produce department, in the frozen food section, and in the canned, dried, and 100% juice aisles. All Forms of Fruits & Veggies Matter
- Plant a garden so you can harvest and cook fruits and veggies together. Children are more likely to eat something they’ve grown and prepared themselves! Cooking with your kids can be fun. Check out our kid-friendly ideas.
To sum it up … parents are a child’s first and best role models! To ensure a healthy weight for your children, create a healthy lifestyle at home when they’re young, and reinforce good habits that they can carry well into adulthood. Start today by developing a home environment and routines that include exercise, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, getting enough sleep, and limited TV, cell phone, and internet use.
Use Smaller Plates to Combat Childhood Obesity
70 Childhood Obesity Task Force Recommendations
Replace Junk Foods With Fruit and Veggies
Mom’s Diet Can Affect Child’s Weight
Tips for Getting Kids to Eat More Fruits & Veggies
* Haines, Jess, Julia McDonald, Ashley O’Brien, et.al, “Healthy Habits, Happy Homes: Randomized Trial to Improve Household Routines for Obesity Prevention Among Preschool-Aged Children.” JAMA Pediatrics
(2013). View Article