February is Heart Healthy Month and with the recent Colorado health report card just released, now would be a great time to re-evaluate the health of your children.
The Colorado Health Foundation tracks the health status of Coloradoans in five different stages, and this year's report shows the biggest decline occurred in our children's health.
The grade for healthy children dropped from a C- in 2008 to a D+ in 2009. Yikes! Isn't Colorado suppose to be one of the healthiest states in America?
The most dramatic drop was in childhood obesity where the state fell from third in the nation to twenty-third!
The problem! Too many kids are sedentary. They are coming home after school and plopping down in front of the television or computer. It's a no brainer; this is not healthy for anyone, including your children.
What can you do?
- Limit their time in front of the computer and television.
- Be a positive role model.
- Put them to bed at a good time so that they are not sluggish and have energy to play.
- Keep fresh fruits and nuts handy for an easy snack that they can grab on the go.
- Don't keep junk food or soda pop around especially if you are not home to monitor what they eat.
- Have a "candy day." Designate one day of the week that works for your family and allow your children to have a REASONABLE amount of candy on that day only. Of course for special holidays and birthday parties you will have to make exceptions or simply just swap days.
- Make your children run and play for at least sixty minutes a day. Exercise for kids does not have to be structured. Riding bikes or playing tag is getting exercise.
- Choose activities that are age appropriate and that your child wants to do (not what you want them to do.) Some kids need more motivation than others but with persistence you will eventually find what they like. Check out the City of Grand Junction Activity Guide for a huge variety of different and affordable activities.
When children are active, their bodies can do the things they want and need them to do. Exercise will help them build strong muscles and bones, control their weight, develop a decreased risk of type two diabetes, sleep better and have a better outlook on life. Kids who are physically fit are also better at handling physical and emotional challenges, from running on the play ground to studying for a test.
And the best benefit of all; you are preparing your child for a lifetime of success in their own personal health department.