Tips to Establish Healthy Habits at Home
- Enjoy meals together as a family
- Make exercise a family affair
- Offer new, healthy foods often
- Set a positive example for your children
- Focus on family health, not individual
- Get the family cooking
- Put a limit on caffeine
- Let your children choose the recipes
- Eliminate distractions at the table (phones, tv)
Healthy changes are happening in Mississippi. Schools, communities and other organizations are working to make healthy lifestyles the norm in our state. Our children are among those benefiting the most from enhanced physical education programs in school, health education curriculum and an increased focus on wellness opportunities. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and there are many opportunities to help build a brighter future for our children!
Establish Healthy Habits at Home
As parents, you play an important role in establishing a strong foundation for a healthy life in your kids. Eating healthy and being physically active are two key habits you can encourage in your children.
When it comes to eating healthy, have your children take part in your family's meal planning and preparation. Bring them along to the supermarket and have them select healthy foods to be part of your meal. Identify different healthy fruits and vegetables and teach them the health benefits of each one. During your meal preparation, ask your kids to help you wash fruits and vegetables and help mix and stir ingredients. Being part of the meal preparation can encourage interest in trying new foods. You can also try these kid-friendly recipes to encourage children to eat a variety of different foods.
Family exercise time is not only beneficial to your health, but also an excellent bonding opportunity. Take a walk together after dinner, ride bicycles or go for a swim together. You can also invite your kids to take part in your favorite physical activity. When they see your interest and enthusiasm for exercise, they will be more inclined to enjoy the activity.
Taking Healthy Habits to School
Since kids are in school the majority of the year, help ensure their good habits extend to the classroom. If your child brings his or her lunch from home, you can provide a variety of healthy and fun food options to keep things interesting. Cooking Light has some tips on packing healthy and fun school lunches. If your child eats lunch at school, sit down together with the lunch menu and identify healthier options.
Physical Education in Mississippi is getting a boost this year with the Move to Learn program, a joint partnership with the Office of Healthy Schools. Physical activity not only improves student health, but is also proven to help students' academic performance. In studies of students in Mississippi schools, increased fitness was associated with better behavior and reduced absenteeism. Learn more about the Move to Learn program from the Mississippi Department of Education.
The Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation is working to build a healthy Mississippi by providing targeted funding throughout the state, focusing on health and wellness initiatives to support our schools, communities, colleges and universities. Since 2005, the Foundation has provided funding to 188 schools in the state for P.E. equipment and health curriculum as part of the Project Fit America program. Learn more about the Foundation's efforts to increase physical activity and education in our state's schools.
In addition to eating healthy and being active, it's also important for children to have an annual wellness visit with a pediatrician or healthcare provider. This helps to ensure your child's growth is on track for his or her age and gender, as well as helping to identify any health issues. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi's Healthy You! wellness benefit provides an annual wellness visit for covered members that includes age and gender specific health screenings and immunizations. Learn more about Healthy You! and the covered screenings in the "Be Healthy" section of our website.
While childhood obesity has risen in recent years, there are many positive changes that can help shape a healthier future for our children. Learn more about the Childhood Obesity Awareness campaign.