For children and teenagers to grow up healthy, it is important that they consume healthy food and practice physical activities every day. As parents you have the responsibility to help your children develop habits that will last a lifetime, so a healthy and active lifestyle must start early in life. Physical activity has benefits at every age and helps children to:
- Lower the risk of several health problems,
- Improve their mood and self-esteem,
- Keep a healthy body weight,
- Develop strong bones, and
- Improve school performance.
Children learn the most about healthy and active living from parents. It is important to avoid any sedentary behavior such as sitting in front of the computer, playing video games, or watching television for hours. As a family you should include regular physical activities and promote healthy eating habits. It is easier if families schedule these activities together as part of the daily routine.
Choose activities that suit your children’s age, interest, and developmental stage. Provide opportunities to have time to be active in both structured activities, like sports, and unstructured ones like playing outside. As teenagers look for independence, they may want to do some activities on their own, so encourage them to go for a walk or bike with friends. To support a healthy active living, you should set limits on how much time your children can spend time in front of a screen.
Encourage them to be active every day, by walking or cycling to a friend’s house, skipping rope, or playing in the neighborhood park or the garden. When visiting the mall or any other building encourage them to take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Get your children involved in activities around the house like carrying the groceries, raking the grass, or watering the plants. Most importantly, remember to be a good role model and enjoy the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
These and other suggestions are given to all our parents as part of the training and orientation that is sought at APDE Schools.