How we can Help our Kids live Healthier Lives? An Interview with Sheila Kemper Dietrich

Friday, September 8, 2017
"My one piece of advice for parents is to make learning
 about healthy life choices an adventure."

Earlier this year I was interviewed for the Childhood Wellness edition insert for USA Today. I was asked a series of questions about how we can help our kids live healthier lives. I thought during this month of National Childhood Obesity Awareness it was a good time to share my answers to these important questions. I hope this expands the dialog on even more ways we as parents, friends, teachers, a community and a nation can be actively engaged in helping all kids live healthier lives.

1. What do you feel is the largest obstacle hindering the wellness of our younger generations?
The biggest obstacle hindering wellness of our children today is that we live in a super-sized world which has conditioned all of us to eating super-sized meals and snacks which has contributed to an escalating obesity epidemic. This has become a serious health issue for our children. We need to right size the world our children and all of us live in. It is so important that children live in an environment that supports a healthy lifestyle. Children need to live in a community where they have the tools and ability to practice healthy habits. So much of learning is a hands-on experience.

2. Why is it so important that families and communities work together to improve wellness?
Research shows that children will be far more successful in living a healthy lifestyle if everyone around them is also engaged in this same endeavor. Having everyone involved provides support, it allows children to mirror positive healthy behavior and most importantly, it creates an environment where good habits can be formed, repeated and sustained. If one person in the family has a weight issue it is not just their issue, it is really everyone's issue. Helping your children live a healthy lifestyle is worth the investment and effort you make.

3. If you had one piece of advice for parents who want to expose their children to healthy life choices what would it be?
My one piece of advice for parents is to make learning about healthy life choices an adventure. Engage in healthy lifestyle activities with your kids. Read age appropriate books together that teach kids about balanced meals, nutritious foods and cooking. Let them pick foods they want to try and recipes they can help prepare. Go to a farmers market, apple orchard or volunteer at a community garden so they can see first hand where the food they eat comes from. Consider signing up for a parent and child cooking class to share in the fun and learning of home cooking. Above all, enjoy! And live vibrant!

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