8 ways to get healthy as a family

January 02, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

It’s never too late to make family health a top priority.

One of the most important things parents can do for their kids is to promote a healthy lifestyle, including plenty of physical activity, good nutrition and quality sleep.

About one in five children in this country are overweight or obese. This can affect a child’s health now and later in life, as obesity is linked to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other serious health issues.

Healthy habits can help your whole family maintain a healthy weight, build muscles and strong bones, improve brain function, protect memory, improve mood and much more.

Here are eight things you can do to get healthy as a family:

  1. Pick a family activity each week. Let each family member choose an activity you can do together once a week. Take a family hike or bike ride. Go ice skating or bowling, have a snowball fight, do freeze dance in the living room. Just keep moving.
  2. Sign up each family member for something active. Add activity into your family’s daily routine. You may want to take a fitness or yoga class, while your child takes up karate, gymnastics, swimming or another sport. Try a bunch of activities until you each find something you enjoy.
  3. Set up a family fitness challenge. See how many push-ups each of you can do in 30 seconds. Make an obstacle course in the backyard. Train for an event together, such as a 5K run/walk. Try a parents vs. kids game. Put your progress on a chart, with goals and prizes.
  4. Eat at least three meals together a week. Eat as a family whenever possible, including well-balanced meals in reasonably sized portions. Limit sugars and saturated fats. Drink plenty of water. Have your kids pick healthy foods at the grocery store and cook together.
  5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Quality sleep is essential to all aspect of health, including proper immune function, healing, concentration, memory and mood. Make bedrooms sleep-friendly and stick to a sleep schedule. Learn how much sleep your family needs.
  6. Choose an unhealthy habit to quit. Have each family member choose something they need to work on health-wise, whether it’s cutting back on sugary sweets or limiting screen time. If you smoke, quit. Secondhand smoke puts your family at risk as well. Learn how to break a bad habit.
  7. Take technology breaks. These days, the whole family can get caught up in screens. Limit screen time for your kids to no more than 1-2 hours daily. Turn off the TV and don’t allow cell phones during mealtime. Turn off all electronics at least 30-45 minutes before bedtime.
  8. Schedule regular health check-ups. You likely schedule regular doctor appointments for your children, but don’t forget to schedule yours as well. Make sure the whole family stays on top of vaccinations like the flu shot. Ask your doctor about any preventive screenings you should get.

It’s time to get healthy as a family. When you do, you’ll set the foundation for lifelong healthy habits and help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other health issues.

Need a primary care physician for your family? We have hundreds of board-certified physicians to choose from. You can book online today to set up your first appointment.

The medical weight loss specialists at Endeavor Health® Weight Management can help the whole family achieve and maintain a healthy weight. The team is now seeing adolescents ages 16 and up to provide medical management and lifestyle recommendations .

Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness offers programs to help the whole family stay active, including numerous fitness classes for kids and teens.

Join us for "Healthy Driven Families Series: Affordable family meal planning for busy lives" at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Edward Plainfield ER, as registered dietitian Toni Havala, MS, RD, LDN, talks about short cuts to planning, purchasing and preparing healthy, affordable meals. Register now.

Learn more from Healthy Driven Chicago:

Five ways to get a healthy meal on the table faster

Six tips to manage your child’s screen time

Taking steps to address childhood obesity

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