Following a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent overweight and obesity. Many lifestyle habits begin during childhood. Thus, parents and families should encourage their children to make healthy choices, such as following a healthy diet and being physically active.
Make following a healthy lifestyle a family goal. For example:
- Follow a healthy eating plan. Make healthy food choices, keep your calorie needs and your family’s calorie needs in mind, and focus on the balance of energy IN and energy OUT.
- Focus on portion size. Watch the portion sizes in fast food and other restaurants. The portions served often are enough for two or three people. Children’s portion sizes should be smaller than those for adults. Cutting back on portion size will help you balance energy IN and energy OUT.
- Be active. Make personal and family time active. Find activities that everyone will enjoy. For example, go for a brisk walk, bike or rollerblade, or train together for a walk or run.
- Reduce screen time. Limit the use of TVs, computers, DVDs, and videogames because they limit time for physical activity. Health experts recommend 2 hours or less a day of screen time that’s not work- or homework-related.
- Keep track of your weight, body mass index, and waist circumference. Also, keep track of your children’s growth.
Led by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, four Institutes from the National Institutes of Health have come together to promote We Can!®—Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition.