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Teaching your children about good health and the importance of posture is key to battling major health issues that affect children, from obesity to anxiety. Giving your children the knowledge and the tools to stay healthy can help ward off some serious ailments, says Dr. Wendie Trubow, physician and quality director of Visions HealthCare in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Food "Field Trips"
Obesity is a major health risk and a key determiner of diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol and back pain, says Trubow. Teaching your children about food early on will help them choose nutrients that support a healthy lifestyle. “Many children actually have no idea where their food originates from and what the vegetables look like on their raw form,” says Trubow. Spring some knowledge on your little one with a food "field trip" to a farm, farmer’s market or even the supermarket. Read labels and discuss nutrients in foods to teach children about their food and the importance of making conscious, informed decisions about eating.
When Mom and Dad are chomping down on French fries and sugary drinks, kids are likely to follow suit. Show your children about health by modeling healthy behaviors. “As a physician and mom, my goal is to help people achieve vibrant health, rather than avoid being sick,” says Trubow. “With this in mind, it’s often less about talking, and more about modeling healthy habits.” Make healthy lifestyle choices a family activity with nightly walks, outdoor exercises and sports activities. When your child sees you as an active individual, she will follow your lead.
Stand Up Straight
More and more children suffer from back pain, spinal injury and neck discomfort on a regular basis. Teaching the importance of good posture can help reduce the aches and pains your little ones will encounter. “Kids really like to feel grown up, so perhaps the best way to stress posture is to stress how much bigger they look when they stand up straight,” says Trubow.
Children often need to visualize a concept to learn about health and posture. Use reminders by having your child draw pictures to post around your home. A picture of a stick person washing hands, throwing away tissues and flushing the toilet will provide a cute and important reminder for the entire family. Hang your child’s artwork near the hall closet as a reminder to wear coats, gloves and scarves when it’s cold, too. Songs can also teach your child about health and posture. As a family, create a poem and melody about germs, exercise or healthy sleep patterns to make learning fun and creative.