Healthy living is a way of life. Lifestyle diseases are dominating health problems in this country, & their impact on the youth is worrisome. It is important that children are initiated into a healthy lifestyle in a natural, happy and enjoyable manner early on in their lives. Promoting a healthy lifestyle in children is an important aspect of good parenting.
CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS:-
Challenge: Lack of Physical Activity
- Inadequate activity levels have a negative impact on cardio-respiratory health
- Inadequate activity is a major risk factor for obesity
Solution: Make Physical Activity Fun & Cool
- Be a physically active role model
- Encourage children to participate in 60 min of physical activity per day
- Everyone must be physically active for at least 30 min a day on most days
- Children & teenagers must be physically active for at least 60 min a day on most days
- Find fun, physically active ways to celebrate special occasions, such as swimming or roller-skating parties
- Add physical activity to weekend or vacation plans, such as hiking, biking or long walks
Challenge: Children Are Glued To the TV
- The average child spends up to 4 hours of watching television, playing video games & surfing the net each day
Solution: Minimize Sedentary Habits
- Restrict TV: Start by removing TV sets from children’s bedrooms & allowing a maximum of two hours of quality TV Programs per day. Try making TV commercials a time to be physically active; whether it is skipping, stretching or jumping on a trampoline
- Enjoyable options: Encourage children to spend time with different types of media, such as reading books or dancing to music
Challenge: Eating too much & the Wrong type of Food
- Obesity is on the rise. In the upper-income group in India, 5% of children are obese & 18% are overweight
- Obesity has major health repercussions like diabetes, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension & respiratory problems
Solution: Make Healthy Eating a Way of Life
- Eat together as a family, preferably at a dining table
- Never eat while watching TV / at the computer
- Breakfast – the most important meal of the day
- Eat frequently & eat slowly
- Respond to hunger cues: start eating when slightly hungry & stop when just satisfied
- Portion control: learn how much to eat
Promote Healthy Nutrition
- Be aware of & balance food groups
- Food groups include grains, vegetables, fruits, milk & protein food
CAN YOU TELL IF YOUR CHILD’S WEIGHT IS NORMAL?
Overweight children often become overweight adults. It is therefore important that we monitor our child’s weight & try to maintain it in the normal healthy range. BMI (Body Mass Index) is a calculation that uses height & weight to estimate body fast. Using this tool, one can determine how appropriate a child’s weight is for his/her height & age.
The calculated BMI score is plotted on the BMI – for age growth chart (for either girls or boys) to obtain a percentile ranking. The growth chart shows the weight status categories used for children & teenagers (underweight, normal, overweight & obese)
The formula used to calculate BMI is weight in kg/ height in meter square
|Overweight||BMI 85-95% tile||>25|
|Normal||BMI 5-85% tile||18.5-25|
|Underweight||BMI <5% tile||<18.5|
Check your child’s BMI!
EAT HEALTHY, BE ACTIVE
Some questions to get you thinking about your home environment:
- How often does the family eat together?
- How often do family members eat a wholesome breakfast?
- What Kinds of snacks are available & accessible to your children when they are hungry?
- Is the TV turned on during the meal times?
- How many hours do your children go down to play (any sport/physical activity included) each day?
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
- Help your children form healthy habits now.
- Healthy & active children are more likely to be healthy & active adults.