Childhood obesity has now become a worldwide problem. More and more children these days are suffering the same symptoms and diseases that were once only seen in adults; heart disease, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes, to name just a few.
The good news and the bad news is that our children mimic everything we do. Your habits will sometimes become their habits (scary huh?).
I'll never forget when my old neighbors said to me, "Isabel, our 10 year old woke up this morning and ate leftover chicken and veggies for breakfast, instead of the bagels we bought. I wonder where she got that idea?" I loved it!
When parents bring in their children into my office wondering why their child's weight has now become a health hazard, I always have to ask, "How is the whole family taking care of themselves or better yet, how are you taking care of yourself?"
I know this is a tough question to answer but these little people are looking to us for their answers and many times our actions speak louder than words. We are their role models.
So as a mommy, daddy, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa or just neighborhood friend, what can you do today to be a healthy influence to a child?
1. Develop one new health habit each week that involves your child. Want to go for a walk with Mommy to make our legs and our heart strong? Want to pack carrots in your lunch bag and see how many veggies we can both eat? Want to pick a healthy recipe and cook together? The options are endless. Make sure your child feels like he or she is an important part of your healthy life.
2. Let's try and stay away from words like "weight loss" or "weight gain" and definitely avoid the word "fat". Make it about "HEALTH". We are going to take a family walk so we can all be healthy together. These foods make my heart and my muscles strong. Want to see Mommy or Daddy do pushups? Cool, right? Let your child know that being healthy is fun.
3. Be the healthy change you wish to see in your child. Show your child that genetics, time, and nothing else can get in the way of you getting healthy. Work on your biggest health obstacle and chances are you will see the same change in your child.
Commit today to good health not only for yourself but for those wonderful little people in your life that look up to you and emulate you.
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