The number of children and adults who are overweight or obese is on the rise in the UK. According to the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), the proportion of obese children in Year 6 in 2012/13 (18.9%) was higher than in 2006/07 (17.5%). 26% of women and 19% of men aged 16 and over were classed as inactive. Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes and heart problems. Excess screen time can also be harmful to children. You can boost your family health with these five simple
Eating a balanced diet
Many children and adults are overweight or obese because they don’t have healthy eating and exercise habits. HSCIS’s figures show that the purchase of fruits and vegetables reduced between 2009 and 2012. There has also been a significant increase in household expenditure on total fats and oils, butter, sugar and preserves, fruit juice, soft drinks and beverages. The best way to eat a healthy, balanced diet is to eat the correct amount of calories for how active you are and consume a wide range of food so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs. Make sure everyone gets five portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
Cooking together is a prime opportunity to foster your children’s interest in healthy foods. Besides encouraging healthy eating habits, your children will acquire valuable cooking skills and learn about nutrition, planning, measurement and teamwork. It’s also a chance to bond with your children.
Make fitness a family affair
Likewise, it need not cost lot of money to increase your family’s fitness. Create a family fitness plan that includes age-appropriate activities. Add the activities into your daily routine. It can be as simple as a weekly family walk or bike ride to your local park. At home, you can do straightforward workouts like squats, push-ups and sit-ups together.
Mandatory ‘no screen’ time per day
Children are spending more time in front of a computer, TV, mobile phones and other electronic gadgets everyday than they spend exercising every week. Define clear rules such as curfews for internet usage and limit the amount of time children spends on inactive pastimes and entertainment screen time to no more than two hours each day.
Remove all screens from their bedroom at night. Encouraging them to get more sleep can lower the risk of them becoming obese.
Make your home smoke free
Make sure you always smoke outside the house even if your children aren’t at home. If you want to smoke in the house, you should switch to a healthier alternative like electronic cigarettes. Unlike cigarettes, e-cigs deliver nicotine vapour rather than tobacco smoke and don’t smell. Oh, and be sure to pop open a window or flick on that extractor fan when cooking in case you accidentally burn that healthy home-cooked dinner!
By following these five easy changes, your family can lead a healthier, happier lifestyle. Change your diet and spend time cooking, eating, exercising, playing and talking with your children. And remember, a smoke-free home is a better home for you and your family.
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