Getting Your Family to Exercise: Increase Wellness, Decrease Obesity
The statistics on growing obesity among children may get your heart pumping in panic, but that won’t help your little ones if they’re getting bigger than they should. What’s a parent worried about high cholesterol, diabetes and other obesity-related illnesses to do?
First, relax. While the problem is large, there are small steps you and your family can take to make wellness a part of your everyday routine.
- Make exercise fun: Turn on the music and encourage the kids to dance around while doing chores.
- Set regular eating times: A routine of regular meals at home helps curb reliance on fast food and to-go snacks that are typically higher in fat and calories, says Dr. Phillip Rhoads, a pediatrician and internist at the Banner Health Center in Fort Collins.
- Practice what you preach: If you’re telling your kids to stop the snacking, but you’re still loading the grocery cart with chips, you’re sending mixed messages.
- Take your kids’ tastes into consideration: Finding a DVD that professes to teach kids to dance like a pop star will allow them to still have fun with their digital media.
- Count steps: Use a pedometer for both kids and adults. Math-minded kids may like being able to see the numbers increase with every step they take. Walking soon becomes a game.
- Don’t be bothered by variety: The idea of eating broccoli every night may bore you to tears, but if it’s the only veggie your kid will eat, serve it up.
- Be sneaky: A vegetable in spaghetti sauce is better than no veggie at all. Try introducing a new vegetable into a favorite recipe. Once it’s accepted, expand its repertoire.
“Quite often people get daunted by the prospect of having to do something drastic to make lifestyle changes. I would say it’s the little steps that really count in the long run,” says Dr. Rhoads.
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|Five Ways to Move More
Source: National Institutes of Health
To make an appointment with Dr. Rhoads at the Banner Health Center in Fort Collins, call (970) 229-4600 or find other Banner Health physicians.