Do you know the saying “Monkey see, monkey do”? Have you ever thought of its meaning? When it comes to children, surrounding them with good role models is a fast way to ensure they develop good habits and behaviours. Children mimic the adults around them more easily than listening to requests or taking direction. Whether you are a parent, a grandparent or an educator of some kind you are aware of it.
A personal experience
Ah boy do I know that! My son said the F word in the right context only hearing once when a friend came over. Hmm, I thought my son was playing and not paying attention to anything else – ah how wrong I was…
Be a good role model
When it comes to healthy heart habits, it’s a no brainer: Whatever we do to be heart-healthy is more than likely what our children and grandchildren will copy. Be a good role model and get them on the Active Wellness track as early as possible.
Even though heredity is a risk factor for heart disease, experts agree that healthy eating habits from an early age can lower the risk of developing cardiovascular issues, diabetes and other serious ailments later in life. American children and adolescents average more saturated fat in their diets than their counterparts in other developed nations.1
Silent buildup from childhood
Although children and teens usually don’t show the symptoms of heart disease, the silent buildup of fatty deposits can start in childhood and can have a serious impact on their adult life. “The kinds of heart problems which relate to the problems adults have don’t really manifest themselves until [the children are] much older,” says Ronald Kanter, M.D., associate professor of paediatrics, division of pediatric cardiology, at Duke University. “But the seeds of those problems are sown in childhood and adolescence.”2
Good habits start at home
Fortunately, parents can influence their children’s behaviour by encouraging healthy eating and regular aerobic exercise, as well as discouraging smoking. Dr Kanter says he has noticed a gradual decline in the activity levels of the children and adolescents he treats and an increase in the prevalence of obesity. “It’s a clear epidemic,” he says. “There is now definite evidence that obesity is a risk factor for coronary events later in life.”3
Prevention is better than cure
We can help prevent obesity in our kids by encouraging them to be active in school and at home. Give them time to play outdoors each day. The United States Department of Agriculture’s guidelines recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity for children most days of the week.4
Embrace a healthy lifestyle as a family
To be good role models, we need to set time limits for TV watching, computer use (other than for work) and handheld computer games. On the other hand, we can set a good example by exercising regularly and making it a family routine—walking, biking, swimming, dancing to favourite music, etc. are all activities that are heart-healthy and also can bring us closer to our kids by sharing the gift of time. And to help them get some fruit and veggies into their diets. Start them off early with whole food nutritional supplements. Our son loves the “Shrek” Juice.
My question for you
Do you think someone can look up to you? Is your lifestyle such that someone would learn good habits of you? Do you go out for a walk or exercise regularly? Alone as well as with your family? Over the past two lockdowns, I trust these habits have become a norm for many nowadays. Do you read labels and choose food that has less fat, less saturated fat, less sugar and less salt? What about your mind? Do you choose to respond rather than react to situations? Do you meditate? Feel free to comment below.
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Helping You Create Healthier Life in 5 Areas
Skype: Lucie Patel Varekova
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