Hi, everybody! I’ve been asked to give a talk in 2 weeks at the Broadview Heights Health Fair about raising a healthy family. As I started to prepare for it, I realized I have a great audience to help me make the best presentation possible!
This week and next I’m using my blog as a sounding board to prepare my talk. I really need you to give me feedback! Is there something I’m not discussing that you want to hear about, regarding staying healthy as a family? Should I scrap something? Let me know!
I think everybody agrees that for the most part Americans are pretty unhealthy. Right? Two-thirds of us are overweight or obese, almost 10% of us have diabetes (and among the over-65 crowd about 25% of us have diabetes). Among the top 10 causes of death are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, chronic lung disease and suicide, all of which are largely preventable. It’s estimated that about 90% of illness in the United States is preventable.
Raise your hand if you’re a parent of kids under 18. Yep mine’s up too. Raise your hand if you’re confident you are raising your kids to be healthy. Hey where’d all the hands go?! Raising kids is hard! There’s so much information and advice out there, it’s hard to know what to trust.
Today I’m going to keep it simple, and avoid throwing a lot of numbers at you. These are broad concepts we’re going to talk about. After all, being healthy shouldn’t be rocket science, right? It should be easy for even a child to understand.
First let’s talk about the most important choice you need to make about your body and it’s health. Can anyone guess what that might be? (Pause for guesses)
That’s right. The most important choice you need to make is what to put inside it. Your diet affects every part of your health. The scientific research about the effect of diet on your body is just exploding and some of it can be pretty confusing but I want to outline some broad concepts that even your kids will understand.
First of all, food should be fun!
And it should taste good. Healthy food can be fun and tasty too.
Everyone should be involved with food!
Food shouldn’t be complicated. Read ingredient lists. If you don’t recognize it, don’t eat it. Don’t eat food that isn’t food. There’s a display in Iceland of the last McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries meal sold in the nation.
Sold in 2009. Still looks pretty much the same. There’s a YouTube video. Sorry, that’s not food. If mold won’t eat it, you shouldn’t either.
I’ve written a lot about diet over the last almost-3 years blogging. I have 4 simple rules that cover most of it:
- Eat real food, not fake food or food that’s got a lot of unrecognizable chemicals in it.
- Eat mostly plants. There’s lots of research that the healthiest people on the planet eat meat rarely, like a few times per month, and only on special occasions.
- Eat organic if you can. The way we grow food in this country is nuts. Pesticides are found in breast milk and urine samples. A family in Sweden switched to organic food for 2 weeks. Here’s what happened. Little is known about what pesticides do to humans, and most of what we do know isn’t good.
- Don’t eat too much. Obesity is a huge (pun intended) problem in the US. Watch your portions.
The second lifestyle area I want to discuss with you is fitness. Note I don’t say exercise. Exercise is part of it, but not all of it.
Fitness is moving your body in a way that you enjoy. I love yoga, and I love to run and to dance. Not that I’m particularly good at any of them, and I’m not offering to demonstrate, but I love them. I USED to like to swim but as I get older I have found I don’t enjoy being cold and wet. So I don’t swim for fitness anymore.
How do you like to move your body? Do you play a sport?
How do your kids like to move their bodies? Here’s a hint.
They play! They run, chase, jump, fall down, roll around, and get up to do it all over again. They might ride a bike, scooter or roller skate. They might play a sport (but they might not). The key is helping them find a way to move their bodies that they love and WANT to do. We want fitness to be fun and a lifelong thing.
The best form of fitness is something the whole family can do together. My family studies martial arts together. Make fitness something you all look forward to and it will integrate itself into your kids’ lives forever.
Next week I will discuss two more areas to focus on to help your family be healthy not just physically but emotionally/spiritually as well, and also to help your kids grow up with skills to make good choices all their lives.
QUESTION: What do you think so far? Got a suggestion?