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Learning to Be Healthy

Por Eleazar Lara-Pantin, MD, MSc.* -
Learning to Be Healthy

Our lifestyle is often a reflection of the type of food we eat and the way we eat it, as well as our attitude towards physical activity. To a significant degree, these habits and perspectives are formed during childhood. 

Modeling behaviors

Kids who are raised in households with less active parents/caregivers are more likely than kids whose parents/caregivers are physically active every day to adopt a sedentary lifestyle themselves. Kids with parents who are not physically active do not learn to appreciate and enjoy participating in sports or other activities. The opposite usually happens with kids whose parents are active and provide various opportunities for their kids to be active as well. 

Similarly, what parents teach their kids about food and healthy eating habits will impact what their children do. The family dinner table is the perfect place for kids to learn table manners, as well as become familiar with the types of foods that are good for their bodies. A family eating together on a regular basis provides opportunities for conversation, learning, and the development of good eating habits, and it's a major way parents can contribute positively to their kids learning and appreciation of healthy eating.

Parents as educators

For children to adopt healthy behaviors, they must hear positive messages from their parents, as well as see them practicing healthy behaviors. For example, though reading books is a wonderful pastime, it is a sedentary behavior. Kids need to be taught that reading is beneficial, but also that they need to balance it with other activities that involve exercising their bodies as well as their brains. 

It is also detrimental for kids to observe parents that go to the extreme, getting excessive amounts of exercise, or restricting their diets too much. Children of parents who practice these types of behaviors may end up avoiding exercise or craving unhealthy foods because they are feeling overwhelmed or deprived.

More significant than the contribution of genetics as a risk factor for obesity, is how children learn to eat. This includes everything from grocery shopping yo food preparation, and serving meals. In some households, it is common to serve huge buffet-style meals, which can lead to overeating. 

Young family member must receive the right information and learn behaviors that will lead to the development of healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle overall.

Get started today!

It is easier to lead a healthy lifestyle as an adult if that is what you were taught as a child. That does not mean, however, that if you did not learn healthy eating habits or how to incorporate daily physical activity into your life, that it's too late to start.  

Making the decision to be healthy can start today, right now, right this minute. All it takes is for you to make the decision to make healthy choices, and maintain those habits. You can find different articles and information within the MyDiet TM program that can help support and guide you through this process.  Make the decision today to live a healthy lifestyle!

*Dr. Lara-Pantin, a nutrition specialist, is Vice President of Product Development for DrTango, Inc.


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