Work Together as a Family
To help children lead fit lives, it's important to not just teach them how to make healthier food choices and encourage them to move more. Parents also need to participate fully by making the same healthy changes in their own lives.
When families work together as a unit, everyone benefits. The key is to start as young as possible. "As a parent, I would start in toddlerhood and early preschool years, thinking proactively about nutrition and activity and being able build that into your family's routine," says Chris Tiongson, MD, a pediatrician with Sanford Health.
If your kids are older and you missed that opportunity, it's not too late. Pick the area from FOOD, MOVE, MOOD, or RECHARGE that you feel the most able to make change in, and focus on making that area even stronger.
As you saw in Sarah's story above, making healthy choices in one area positively influences the other FIT areas. For example, if you are naturally active and like to MOVE, your goal could be to make sure that each family member fits in 30 minutes of moderate activity each day. Within a few days, you'll notice that moving more is helping you sleep better. That one change in MOVE helps you RECHARGE better, improving your problem solving skills so your stress is reduced and your MOOD is better. When you're making good progress on that MOVE goal, it's highly likely that you'll be more inclined to make healthier FOOD choices.
Next thing you know, you're living a fitter life.