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Good Health Starts at Home: Make Getting Healthy in 2012 a Family Affair

Parents are the most influential people in their children's lives, especially when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. In a survey conducted by the American Dietetic Association Foundation, children ranked one or more parent as the person they wanted to be like most, proving that parents have more influence over their children's behavior, including their eating and exercise habits, than anyone else.

"Parents and caregivers play a major role in making healthy choices and forming healthy habits that children will follow into adulthood," says Debbie West, MD, pediatrician and member of the medical staff of Houston Healthcare. "Children, particularly when they are young and more easily influenced, learn about eating healthy and being active by watching their parents and other family members. A healthy family involves everyone--both parents and children--working together as a team to form healthy habits that will last a lifetime."

To help parents lead their families down the path to good health, KidsHealth.org suggests the following:

  • Lead by example. Adult family members should 'practice what they preach' by eating healthy and exercising regularly. At the same time, they need to explain to their children why they are eating fruit as a snack or vegetables at supper and why they are going to the gym every day.
  • Start when children are young. It's much easier--for both adults and children--to maintain a healthy weight than it is to lose pounds later. Start young children off right by only serving nutritious, healthy snacks such as fruit, and making physical activity a regular part of their daily routine.
  • Be active together. Make being active together--rather than sitting in front of the TV or playing video games--a normal and fun part of family life.
  • Cook together. Invite children to help with family meals so they can gain a better understanding of healthy ingredients and they can become more involved in making healthy food choices for themselves.
  • Eat together. When families eat together, parents have the chance to offer nutritious food to their children who, in turn, can see their parents eating healthy food, and everyone can enjoy catching up on the day's events.
  • Create a family goal chart. When trying to build healthier habits, a goal chart is a great way for family members to keep track of their eating and exercise habits. Choose family goals, such as exercising every day and eating more fruits and vegetables. Then praise family members who achieve their goals by doing something fun as a family to celebrate.

Houston Medical Center
1601 Watson Boulevard
Warner Robins, Georgia 31093
Telephone: (478) 922-4281


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Perry Hospital
1120 Morningside Drive
Perry, Georgia 31069
Telephone: (478) 987-3600

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