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    Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

      This content is selected and controlled by WebMD's editorial staff in collaboration with Sanford Health Systems.

    When a cell phone, iPod, or battery gets low on power, you recharge it. You also need to RECHARGE your body. The way to do that is with rest and healthy relaxation.

    For many families, though, time for rest, relaxation, and sleep often go by the wayside. In many cases, both parents work and the kids are in after-school activities. It all adds up to no time for downtime, says Ronda Rose-Kayser, certified family life educator with Sanford Health, WebMD's FIT educational partner.

    Of course sleep is essential to overall good health. But just how does taking time to RECHARGE affect the other parts of the FIT Platform: MOVE, FOOD, and MOOD?

    David Ermer, MD, a child psychiatrist with Sanford Health, gives an example. "Screen time -- and that includes TV, computer, even texting -- takes up all our downtime," he says. "It's a very unhealthy activity as far as exercise goes -- and even emotional well-being. People text and tweet instead of talking to one another, so I think there's even some social isolation that goes along with that."

    Keep reading to learn the ways that the rest we get impacts what and how much we eat, our energy level, and our mood and emotions.

    RECHARGE to Have the Energy to MOVE Your Body

    Ever tried to motivate a sleepy kid to get dressed in the morning? Then you know how sluggish a tired child can be. If that child maintains a sleep deficit, he may find it harder to move all day.

    A recent small study of adult men compared how likely men were to be active based on how much sleep they got. The results showed a few hours a night made them less likely to be physically active compared with days when they had gotten eight hours of sleep.

    It's just common sense -- the more tired we are, the less likely we are to want to expend energy to be active.

    Not Enough RECHARGE Time Can Stimulate Your Desire for FOOD

    When we don't get ample sleep, it affects our appetite. Studies of adults have shown a link between lack of sleep and a decrease in the hormone leptin, which decreases appetite. Other studies have found that inadequate sleep causes the levels of the hormone ghrelin to rise in adults -- even after just one night of sleeplessness. This hormone increases appetite and makes high-calorie foods look more appealing.

    Bottom line? If you want to make it easier for you and your whole family to eat a healthy diet, you all need to RECHARGE. And the most effective way to do that is to set a sleep schedule you can follow. To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, read FIT Connection: Weight Management.


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