Teaching Children To Be Healthy With Diet And Exercise

Share Button

By Steve Barker

kidseatinghealthyWith all the issues associated with obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, it’s incredibly important to stay healthy yourself and help your children learn how to make wise choices. For most people (without unique circumstances involving chronic health issues), the two biggest contributors to health are nutrition and exercise. It’s tempting to only focus on one of these things, but the fact is that you need both a nutritious diet and an active lifestyle to stay fit and keep your body healthy.

As important as it is for every person to eat well and stay active, it can be even more important to teach children how to make proper choices regarding food and exercise. It can be difficult for children, with all the junk food available and a school schedule that has little time for recess, to eat properly and get enough exercise. However, if you can teach your children how to balance nutrition and exercise into a daily routine, you can give them the tools to live a long and healthy life.

Why Exercise Is Necessary

There are numerous benefits to regular exercise including many physical results from a regular exercise regimen. Your body will burn more calories, which could lead to weight loss or help the body maintain a healthy weight. Increased muscle mass also improves the metabolism and helps every part of the body function properly. Many diseases are far less common to people who exercise and the effects of aging are usually reduced or slowed as well. The body is a complex machine, and regular exercise helps keep all the parts working well individually and together.

Exercise not only helps condition your physical body, it also contributes to a healthy mental and emotional state. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy. Many people who exercise regularly also report a calmer emotional state. Additionally, regular exercise can improve your physical appearance, leading to more self-confidence. Concentrating on your body’s physical state can help you be more aware of your personal goals and find ways to achieve them.

How to Encourage Kids to Exercise

Many children get enough physical exercise when they are young simply by playing actively. However, as children get older, they often spend more time sitting at school and leading a sedentary lifestyle at home. Physical education classes are important, and you can also encourage exercise by enrolling children in sports they enjoy. There are numerous types of exercise, so if your children aren’t interested in weightlifting or soccer, you could encourage them to try yoga, swimming or hiking.

Why Proper Nutrition Is Necessary

Getting the proper nutrition is just as important as maintaining a regular exercise schedule. A balanced diet helps every part of the body function well and is especially important for growing children so they can develop and mature properly. A poor diet can be a major contributing factor to heart disease, diabetes and some kinds of cancer. However, when your body gets the right amount of nutrition, you feel better, have more energy, sleep well and have mental clarity. A proper diet also helps maintain a healthy weight and gives your body the energy to perform all your daily tasks.

Helping Kids Make Good Food Choices

kidsunningtogetherIt can be a challenge to help children develop healthy eating habits, especially when they are picky and dislike many healthy foods. However, it’s worth the work to teach your kids the importance of a nutritious diet and help them understand which foods are healthy. Thankfully, there are more healthy products on the market than ever before. Hampton Creek is one company dedicated to making nutritious, affordable food products in a sustainable way. As more people choose the healthier options at the grocery store, the rest of the food production system will respond and provide more choices.

Personal health involves both exercise and a nutritious diet. It’s extremely important for everyone to make healthy choices in life, and to teach children how to make those choices as well. Kids should learn how important exercise is to physical, mental and emotional health, and why the body requires a nutritious balanced diet. It’s just as vital to then teach children the specific keys to maintaining an active lifestyle and sticking to a healthy diet. Encouraging the next generation to make good choices can lower the rates of disease and help every person live a long and happy life.

Practicing And Teaching – Good Hygiene Habits

Share Button

By Susan Terkel

washhandsGood hygiene is one of the most important habits to acquire. In the days before “germ theory” was developed, in the late 1880s, the connection between good hygiene and good health was not generally understood. Yet some cultures stressed cleanliness and purity, even without an understanding of how important hygiene was to good health—and, indeed, their populations were often healthier and lived longer.

Today, we know it is important to wash our hands, faces, and bodies, and to brush our teeth. We know this helps to protect us from germs that can make us sick. Thus, one of the roles of a parent is to teach the child the importance of hygiene. Most parents understand the value of hygiene, but not all parents know exactly what to do or how to convey that value or teach that habit to a child.

Washing hands. Washing hands regularly can dramatically reduce germs, because washing with ordinary soap and water, for only 15 seconds, and drying hands with clean towels can kill as much as 99.9 percent of germs. This translates to staying healthier, getting sick less frequently and, perhaps, even recovering more quickly and fully.

That is because widespread use of anti-bacterial soap is increasing the rate of resistance to antibiotics.

Regular soap is the best choice. That is because widespread use of anti-bacterial soap is increasing the rate of resistance to antibiotics. Drying with a clean towel, or a paper towel (instead of a blast of hot air from a machine that may not be entirely free of germs), reduces the risk of picking up additional germs—after washing away the original ones. Also, washing with soap is more effective than using a hand sanitizer. While hand sanitizers are often very useful, and effective, regular soap does a better job of killing germs.

To sum up this advice: wash your infant’s hands often, and, later, teach your children exactly how to wash their own hands, and you will have taught them an important lesson in hygiene and healthy living. And remember that habit for yourself!

Washing genitals. The intestines, and therefore stools, harbor countless infectious germs in the body. It is important to keep those germs from traveling into the blood stream and other parts of the body. This means that washing your hands before and after changing a diaper, and keeping stool from entering your child’s urinary tract (or mouth) is vital. It also means wiping, then washing a girl’s genital area from front to back, and washing a boy’s genitals, with soap and water are vital. Later, it means teaching your child healthy habits: washing their hands after they use the toilet, and when they take a shower or bath, washing the genital area with soap and water.

babyDirty diapers, especially those with loose stools, can easily allow germs from the stool to enter the urinary tract and cause an infection. That infection can spread to the bladder, or worse, to the kidneys. While girls, with shorter urinary tracts, tend to get more urinary tract infections (around 10 times more), boys tend to get more serious infections.

Boys with foreskins get more urinary tract infections than boys who have been circumcised, in part, because the genitals of boys with foreskins are slightly harder to clean than those without them. This is especially true of younger babies, whose foreskins have not separated from the glans.

The advice here is to change diapers frequently. Wash your hands and wash your child’s genitals with soap and water, remembering to go from front to back for girls. It’s a good idea to avoid letting a daughter linger in dirty bathwater. And, it is important to keep the bathtub clean, since bathtubs are one of the most germ-harboring places in a home (ditto for kitchen and bathroom sinks and faucets).

Later, teach a daughter to wipe herself from front to back, thus keeping germs from her anal area and from feces away from her urinary tract. And teach a son how to keep his genital area clean, mainly by washing it with soap and water – regularly.

To sum things up. The medical community and health educators and many parents are recognizing the value of hygiene—especially hand washing and genital hygiene. They have learned that good hygiene habits are effective, inexpensive, and simple ways to prevent infection and disease—but only when they truly become everyday habits.

– Susan Terkel studied Child Development at Cornell University, and has written over 20 books on medical and social issues. Recently, she coauthored an award-winning book, The Circumcision Decision: An Unbiased Guide for Parents, which helps expectant and adoptive parents make a decision to circumcise their son or leave him intact. She also coauthored Small Change: It’s the Little Things in Life That Make a BIG Difference, a book about habits to acquire or to give up.