Along with the obesity epidemic among children has come an alarming rise
in Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and "non-alcoholic"
fatty liver disease—conditions once considered illnesses of the
middle-aged and elderly. In ways medical researchers are just beginning
to understand, being overweight and inactive at a young age appears to
be far more destructive than adding extra pounds later in life.
Here are four numbers you can use to improve your kids' health. Best
of all, it's equally effective for parents.
5: Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
"This is so much easier to do than most people think," explains
Susan Watkins, registered dietitian,
St. Jude Heritage Medical Group. "Healthy smoothies and soups are both great ways to get several
servings of fruits and vegetables into your children in one sitting.”
Read more about creating healthy eating patterns related to the 2015-2020
Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
2: Reduce screen time to two hours or less a day.
Experts in every area of children’s’ health point to
the importance of this unpopular rule, which should include all screens, from computer games to hand-held electronic
games. And if your child has a TV in their bedroom, experts say, take it out.
1: Get an hour of exercise every day.
"Get your child to ride a bike, play soccer, or set up a backyard
obstacle course and race," Susan advises. "Develop family traditions
that include exercise: like going to the park every Saturday and playing
Read more about how you can encourage increased physical activity at home
and at school.
0: Eliminate sodas or sugar sweetened drinks.
Sodas or drinks with high fructose corn syrup shouldn't be found in
your grocery cart: "They are terrible for you no matter what your
age," Susan explains. “Instead, have kids drink more water
and switch to low-fat milk.”
Read more about how sugary drinks are not sweet for your kids’ health.