Our busy lifestyles can be hard on our family’s health. Rushing to and from school and work can make it hard to find time to be physically active. We can also slip into the habit of choosing unhealthy snacks and take-away foods or spending our free time watching TV or in front of the computer.
However, these choices can be dangerous for our health and our children’s health – both now and in the long-term. That’s why it’s so important to stop, take stock and make a conscious decision to follow a healthy lifestyle.
What can I do?
There are five simple ways for your family to lead a healthy lifestyle and get back on track:
- Regular physical activity is important for the healthy growth, development and well-being of children and young people.
- They should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, including vigorous activities that make them ‘huff and puff’.
- Include activities that strengthen muscles and bones on at least 3 days of the week.
- Parents should be good role models and have a positive attitude to being active.
- Water is the best way to quench your thirst – and it doesn’t come with the added sugar found in fruit juices, soft drinks and other sweetened drinks.
- Reduced fat milk for children over two is a nutritious drink and a great source of calcium.
- Give kids whole fruit to eat, rather than offering fruit juices that have a lot of sugar.
- Eating fruit and vegetables every day helps children grow and develop, boosts their vitality and can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
- Aim to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day.
- Have fresh fruit available as a convenient snack and try to include fruit and vegies in every meal.
- Sedentary or ‘still’ time spent watching TV, surfing online or playing computer games is linked to kids becoming overweight or obese.
- Children and young people should spend no more than two hours a day on ‘small screen’ entertainment. Break up long periods of use as often as possible.
- Plan a range of active indoor and outdoor games or activities for your children, as alternatives to watching TV or playing on the computer.
- Healthy snacks help children and young people meet their daily nutritional needs.
- Snacks based on fruit and vegetables, reduced fat dairy products and whole grains are the healthiest choices.
- Avoid snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats – such as chips, cakes and chocolate – which can cause children to put on excess weight.