Generational Health

You’ve heard of generation wealth? Here’s how to invest in generational HEALTH.

Many parents want to ensure their children are healthy, but they don’t always know how to teach their children healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

“Our health is our responsibility,” said Dr. Dan Cooper, who oversees health screenings for the St. Louis Cardinals and has worked with MLB players since 1983. “Like anything else you learn in life, it comes from home.”

Cooper works with all levels of athletes to help them build health into their lifestyles. He encourages parents to create healthy routines that their children can carry with them into adulthood. And like many health experts, he believes health should be rooted in physical activity during childhood and adolescence.

“We know now (physical) health is linked to health much later in life,” Cooper said. “You have to teach kids the relationship between physical activity and health.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends high school students get at least an hour of exercise per day, while the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests elementary school children should accumulate an hour or more of age-appropriate physical activity a day.

A variety of health problems, from obesity to cardiovascular disease, have been linked to lack of physical exercise and poor health habits. Many health experts believe that establishing healthy routines early in life will lead to healthier families and generations.

 “If we can fix the health problem today with kids, then they can grow up and have a healthier lifestyle,” Cooper said. “If we wait until adults to fix health problems, it costs a lot more.”

Here are some health tips for parents:

– Health is a choice and your children should learn that they’re in control of deciding how healthy they want to be.

– Encourage healthy food choices through the types of foods you prepare and serve your family. Emphasize fruits, vegetables, and other healthful options while limiting less healthful choices.

– Set a good example by following a healthful lifestyle yourself. Make physical activity a priority in your life. Include healthful meals and snacks in your daily routine. Limit your intake of alcohol, especially around children

– Monitor what your kids watch on TV and the game consoles, which offer healthful games like Dance Dance Revolution and Wii Sports  and healthful video game alternatives like “Dance Fit” or “Just Dance Kids.” Encourage them to be active in their spare time. Parents should not try to force their children into healthy habits but rather create an environment where health is the norm.

“Parents should make health fun,” Cooper said. “They need to be positive about it. Set (a routine) and stick with it.”  

“Parents need to understand health is not just about being healthy now but health later, too,” Cooper said. “Once you start a routine, it becomes easier.”

Investing in small habits today can make an enormous difference when your children grow up. Your children will thank you and they will pass on the good habits to their children too. Make a multi-generational impact on the quality of life your children and grandchildren experience by modeling healthy habits today and giving them opportunities to make healthier choices for themselves.

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Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

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