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Get Moving!

Monday, August 13, 2012

When was the last time you got moving?
A child’s single greatest risk factor for being overweight is an overweight parent.  Did you know that being overweight as a child can cause high blood pressure, Type II Diabetes, sleeping problems and breathing problems? It has been linked to joint pain as well as liver and gallbladder disease. Researchers also suspect childhood obesity is leading to earlier onset of puberty.  Overweight teenagers have higher rates of anxiety, depression and poor self esteem. 
It comes as no surprise that we are getting larger as a nation. The latest reports are beyond alarming- by 2020, 40% of our population (including our precious children) will meet criteria to be classified as obese or morbidly obese. Parents- it is time for us to wake up and take this sobering statistic seriously. It is OUR job to ensure our children do not follow the path that our generation has.  It all starts with us. More than just enrolling our kids in a sport or activity, we need to get out and exercise ourselves. 
Moms and dads are the two greatest influences on their child’s life. If you talk to your child about exercising and eating healthy, yet you make no effort to do so yourself, how serious will they take your words?  We must be responsible for the health of our families by making a commitment to be fit ourselves. Getting healthy as a group is much easier than any individual family member trying to go at it alone.  
Some tips to get you started:
  • Avoid putting a TV in your child’s bedroom.
  • Limit nonacademic “screen time” (TV, computer, video games) to no more than 2 hours a day.
  • Eat at the table as a family. Do not eat dinner in front of the TV or computer.
  • Do not use food as a reward.
  • Limit high calorie beverages (juice, soda and sports drinks). 
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables yourself. Teenagers whose parents eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day are 16 times more likely to do the same than teens whose parents do not
  • Make exercise a priority in the family.  Something as simple as taking a family bike ride or walking the dog together gets everyone moving. Little changes add up.
You can do it mom and dad!

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Megan Turner, RN, CPNP
Megan is a wife and mother of two small children.  She has over 10 years of experience as a pediatric nurse and 7 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner.  In her free time she enjoys skiing, traveling, gardening, and spending time with friends and family. See her Northpoint video!

Baby girl with pony tail in white