Healthy Living is a Family Affair

Friday, September 29, 2017

There are so many pressures in the world we live with today, which cause us to ignore or even eliminate the very behaviors that will help us and our families live a healthy, happier life. We don’t sit down for meals. When we eat we tend to do it in front of the TV or on the run in the car, not really paying attention to what we eat. When we do eat off a plate, it is a very large plate, and with no rim. Then we are so busy with work, children’s activities and the other action items on our to do list, we feel we don’t have time to add in exercise so instead we sit at our desk, sit watching our children in their activities or sit down for a little relaxation in front of the TV or on the weekends we may have some time to be with others to sit and have a meal or a few drinks at the bar. We even build in inactivity to our schedule as the fun in our lives. Compounding our lifestyle challenges is our lack of sleep. It is hard for any of us to go to bed early enough and get the 7-8 hours of sleep our bodies really need.

As parents, we have a tremendous influence on our children’s lives. Not only are we affecting our lives with the way we eat, our inactivity, and lack of sleep, but we are also role modeling these behaviors to our children. In order for our children to live a healthy lifestyle, we have to work to live a healthy lifestyle ourselves. They won’t be able to adopt healthier habits if we don’t help them not only by modeling these healthy behaviors but also by creating the necessary environment for our children to thrive and be healthy.

There are more and more studies that show the benefits of parents being involved in their children’s health and weight management, particularly when their child is challenged with obesity. The rate of successful outcomes dramatically increases when parent’s become involved in their child’s weight management program. It is not just a matter of children mirroring their parents’ healthy lifestyle behaviors, it is also about them having their parent’s support in making the long term changes they need in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. They are dependents, needing us to ensure they have the best possible environment to grow up healthy and happy. The truth is it does take a village to help raise healthy children.

The good news is that everybody wins when we talk about embracing a healthy lifestyle. It improves everyone’s quality of life. And the resources available to help us, and our children, have grown substantially. There are lifestyle programs, exercise choices and downright fun activities available through schools, local community centers, YWCAs, children’s hospitals and other nonprofits. It is super helpful to find a group that will support you and your children in the healthy habits you have chosen to integrate into your life and how you live everyday long term. It is hard enough as it is to make better choices to improve your health when it seems the rest of the world is not yet helping you get there… so finding others who get it, who are practicing those healthy habits AND want to support you in doing the same is essential for everyone’s ongoing success.

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