It can be prevented! Did you know that regular physical activity increases your chances of living a longer, healthier life? It also reduces your risk for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and some types of cancer. Youth who are regularly active also have a better chance of a healthy adult-hood. Yet in Louisiana, many do not get the recommended amount of physical activity.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that children and adolescents get 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
Compared to those who are inactive, physically active youth have higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness and stronger muscles. They also typically have lower body fatness. Their bones are stronger, and they may have reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Children don’t necessarily need formal strengthening programs. Exercise can be fun! Children are naturally active when they do unstructured play; hopping, skipping, running and jumping, riding a bike and climbing trees.
In the United States, where fewer than 1 in 4 Americans currently meet the recommended levels of physical activity and 2 out of 3 deaths every year are related to chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, encouraging children to be physically active at a young age can prevent this.
Tips for Encouraging Kids to Eat Healthy
1. Get them involved—if kids are involved in meal planning, grocery shopping, growing and preparing food, they become more invested in the process and more likely to eat.
2. Go to the source—teach kids where their food comes from. Take your family to the Farmers’ Market or to the farm itself. Pick berries off the vine or plant tomatoes and melons in the backyard.
3. Make healthy snacks available—if you stock the kitchen with only healthy treats, children will eat them. Good choices include apple slices, carrot sticks and whole grain crackers.
4. Be a Role Model—letting your child see you order a fresh salad rather than a burger and fries may encourage him or her to do the same.
5. Teach Healthy Eating Habits Early— use meals and snack times as teachable moments.
6. Don’t Give Up!!! - most children need multiple exposures to try new foods.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture