Written by Thomas Conroy
Introduction: It doesn't take a physician or statistician to realize that the kids of today are not as healthy as they should be, and while a large part of this is due to societal changes an even larger part can be directly attributed to a lack of parenting. Good health is not a right of birth, and in many instances poor health in children can be linked to parents that fail to educate children properly on the actions necessary to enable a healthy lifestyle. To face the disturbing truth is to realize that some children will suffer from poor health for life for reasons that cannot be changed - but there are countless others that can be positively impacted once ignorance, sloth and apathy is overcome.
Step 1: The first step to raise a healthy child is to preach the benefits of nutrition at every meal time, and as a parent to put your words into action by delivering flavorful and nutritious meals to your children. Teaching children that good tasting food does not have to be loaded with sugar, fat and calories is a lesson that will serve them well for a lifetime if presented in the correct light. Explain the basic principles of nutrition to your children in words they can easily absorb, limit access to snack foods and always present multiple healthy food options over processed foods.
Step 2: The next step to raise a healthy child is to get them to exercise on a daily basis. Limit the number of hours per day your children spend in front of a television, computer or video game and encourage them to participate in activities that require physical movement. Create a ritual such as a daily walk to the corner grocery or a session of catching ball or Frisbee with your children - anything you can think of that gets the blood circulating and burns calories will work just fine.
Step 3: It is likewise important to teach your children to address emotional and mental health issues as well when they arise. Help your children to understand their feelings and make them each understand that they can come to you at anytime to discuss anything regardless of how distressing the subject matter may be. Explain to them that seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an action of intelligence when facing an issue that cannot be resolved personally.
Step 4: The last step to raise a healthy child is to set a good example by taking measures to improve your own health. Often times the seriousness of the topic can be driven home most strongly by a wise parental role model as the guide.