Healthy Kids Make Healthy Adults
Teaching Children about Good Nutrition Provides Long-Term Benefits
You give them whole-wheat toast and fruit. They’d rather have a doughnut. You offer grilled chicken and steamed veggies. They say they want a cheeseburger. With so many unhealthy options available to our children today, is it any wonder that childhood obesity is quickly becoming a nationwide epidemic? According to the American Heart Association, more than 10 percent of U.S. toddlers and preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight, and nearly 4 million children ages 6 to 11 are overweight or obese. The good news, however, is that by teaching your kids early about the importance of healthy dietary and lifestyle habits, you can provide the essential principles that will enable them to grow into strong, healthy adults.
Don’t Forget the Fiber
Clinical studies have proven that a diet high in fiber provides countless health benefits, and that holds true for our children as well. In addition to helping prevent many of the chronic diseases so prevalent in today’s society, high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds can help kids control their hunger and maintain a healthy body weight.
Because of the bulk that high-fiber foods add to a meal, they help young children as well as adults feel full longer after eating, and this can help prevent unhealthy snacking throughout the day. Further, foods that are high in fiber generally have a lower energy density (the number of calories in a particular volume or weight of food) than foods with fewer grams of fiber, so they pack fewer calories per bite.
Fiber also slows down the rate at which the body converts carbohydrates into sugar, which is particularly important when considering the growing rate of diabetes (a disease marked by elevated blood sugar levels) among today’s children. Essentially, fiber-rich foods help normalize blood glucose levels by slowing down the time it takes food to leave the stomach and delaying the absorption of glucose (blood sugar) from a meal.
By providing a healthy balance of high-fiber meals and snacks, parents become role models by setting an example for good nutrition. When kids see moms, dads and other family members choosing healthier options, they will inevitably want to do the same. It may be easier to make gradual changes such as choosing whole grain breads and cereals or replacing snack crackers with apples and peanut butter, but the benefits will be more than worth it in the long run.
Do you ever get the feeling that your kids are spending more time on their behinds each day than they do on their feet? When children spend too much time watching TV and playing video games, their little bodies are missing out on one of the most important things they can do to stay healthy: exercise.
According to the National Institutes of Health, kids should get at least an hour of physical exercise every day to help build healthy bones and keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. Regular exercise can also help burn calories and promote healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. And amid the ever-growing pressures of academic and social life, taking a break and getting active can help ease stress, increase mental clarity and boost their self-esteem. It has even been shown to help kids sleep better at night.
Setting an Example
Parents can help set a good example by making daily exercise a priority. Family bike rides and walks are a great way to get kids involved, and chances are when they see you making an effort to get active, your children will want to follow suit.
The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.
Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.