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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

In a media-saturated environment where fast food advertising reigns, raising healthy kids has parents searching for tools that will keep them from being distracted by unhealthy habits. According to the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, obesity is now considered to be a global health crisis among children and adults. Teach your children how to ignore the hype and choose to live well every day.

1. Fuel your kids with wellness resources they can interact with

Teaching kids about whole body health can help them take an interest early on in playing an active role in their everyday wellness. Because back problems are so commonplace today, help them understand concepts such as how caring for your back through diet and exercise can help promote energy or relatively speaking, how exercise and nutrition can help prevent weight gain and obesity that often compromises spinal health. A cool resource kids will enjoy is Laser Spine Institute’s Pinterest page. Their boards feature pins kids can turn to that offer quick visual tutorials and tips that will drive the preventive wellness point home. Plus, kids can interact by selecting and repinning pins that stand out most to them, creating their own health collage online. Although they don’t specifically treat kids, their information is helpful to everyone.

2. Keep the focus on living well rather than losing weight

Kids gain and lose weight throughout growth spurts, changes in sports activities and of course, during hormonal changes. This is natural and children should feel supported rather than ashamed or embarrassed. The key is recognizing these natural shifts so you can best support your child’s personal wellness needs with nutrition and exercise. By focusing on being well, you’ll be making every effort to maintain healthy metabolism and weight with a positive outlook.

But, what happens when your idea of a fun day with junior is the farmer’s market and his friend’s mother always wants to hit the burger shop? Keeping their wellness balanced can be a challenge when other parents don’t practice the same lifestyle. Check out RaisingThem.com to align with other like-minded parents in your area to discover health-oriented activities to immerse your child in.

3. Slow down with food

Kids need to eat in a relaxing, slow-paced environment just as much as we do. Emphasizing family dinners is the backbone to raising healthy kids. Everyone shares their day while savoring delicious home-cooked food. Research supports the idea that eating slower can help stave off risk of diabetes and obesity in children and adults. The Journal of Nature Reviews and Endocrinology reports that choosing foods that can be eaten quickly leads to discontentment and can disrupt metabolic processes over time. Establishing family meal time as early as possible will ensure this healthy habit lasts into adulthood. The Slow Food Movement, started in Italy, emphasizes the need to downshift, put on the brakes and take time to bond over food to promote whole body health. If it’s going to take time to shift your weekly schedule to get everyone at the table, try taking picnics at the park on the weekends to come together as a family.

Crystal Miller
Crystal is an outdoors enthusiast and kindergarten teacher from Rhode Island.