Healthy Futures for Children: Eating Healthy and Physical Activity are Key

November 6th, 2008

Studies conducted last month suggest that one-in-six children between the ages of 2 and 19 are overweight, cites the Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency. Overweight children can suffer from or develop asthma, heart disease and diabetes.

Making community changes that foster an active environment, the consumption of healthy food and daily activity can all contribute to prevention or even reversal of these conditions, however.

Experts suggest that parents, schools and the community in general encourage healthy eating habits, and promote healthy choices. This includes an hour of physical activity; ensuring that children eat a healthy breakfast everyday; family mealtime; making sure that five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables are offered; all of these should be part of a daily routine. Lastly, and no less importantly, limit the amount of sports drinks, juice, soda and other sweetened drinks.

Communities can specifically create environments that promote healthy lifestyles too. These include adding sidewalks and bike routes, as well as ensuring that housing, schools and businesses are close together so that the need to drive is lessened. Public transportation and other aspects of community design should promote, encourage and reward healthy living.