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Healthy Eating

Good nutrition is critical to the healthy development of all children. Yet daily we read articles about how both obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are reaching epidemic proportions in our country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of all kids and teens are obese. At its annual meeting in June of 2013, the American Medical Association declared obesity a disease. Obesity puts kids at a higher risk for many health issues including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. To get kids started off on a healthy path, lifestyle and diet changes must begin with the family.

Parents need to give their children healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. The basics of healthy eating include making good food choices in right-size portions. Parents should choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins rather than fat, added sugars and refined grains. Also, it is helpful to avoid calorie dense foods, as well as high sugar drinks and added salt. Health experts say that the occasional treat is ok as long as it is not in large quantities and it is not a daily ritual. In bringing healthy habits into our homes, children will benefit tremendously, but the health of parents will improve as well.

Maintaining a healthy weight is achieved through a balance between calories consumed and energy expended. When a child eats too much or exercises too little, the caloric balance tips toward excess accumulation of fat, and the child becomes obese. To decrease weight, a person should take in fewer calories and exercise more.

Though there are new fad diets on the market every year, the basic principles described above have the scientific support to actually work. Give them a try. You and your child will enjoy a happier and healthier life together.