Author: Lauren Grieco Editor: Shuhua Bloom
As kids are back in school and holiday season is upon us, it is important to think about tips and tricks to keep the family happy and healthy! This blog will include evidence-based and researched tips and suggestions for your family.
Get Moving as a Family
- The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week1.
- Create a family activity calendar. Put this on a piece of paper, calendar, or wipe off board for the whole family to see.
- The American Heart Association recommends selecting two 30-minute activities and two 60-minute activities planned on a calendar for each week2.
- Activities to try with the whole family:
- Themed dance parties, soccer games, kickball, hopscotch, hiking, going to the park, going for bike rides, hula hooping, walking the dog, even rock climbing!
- Try getting active on family vacations, use the hotel pool, swim in the beach, explore the new area on foot, or take a hike.
- Stress the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated for yourself and your family!
- Set an example by drinking water throughout the day, this will encourage others to follow suit.
- Adolescents who drink less water tended to drink less milk, eat less fruits and vegetables, drink more sugar-sweetened beverages, and get less physical activity3.
- Make drinking water fun for all:
- Use fun, bright water bottles, set goals, add slices of fruit for flavor (lemon, berries, oranges), and discuss the benefits.
Try Having Family Dinners
- Family dinners are a great idea to take time to ensure that everyone is on the same page. Family dinners allow time for the family to come together and stay current in each other’s lives. While not always possible due to outside activities, it is important to stress the importance of a family dinner.
- Studies have found that from a population-health perspective, findings suggest that family meals have long-term influences on children's physical and mental well-being4.
- Try starting family dinner once a week and build from there, if possible.
- Family dinners also allow the person cooking to ensure the entire family is receiving a balanced dish.
- Mimic the dinner plate off of “MyPlate”, using ¼ of the plate for whole grains, ¼ for protein, ½ the plate for veggies and ½ for fruit.
Have Regular Medical Checkups
- To ensure efficient and successful healthcare, it is important to have regular checkups with the dentist, primary care physician, and optometrist (if necessary).
- This will allow physicians track any changes in health over time and be better prepared for treatment if anything does change.
Get Enough Sleep
- People who do not get enough sleep tend to make food choices that are higher in fat, sugar, and calories, potentially leading to unwanted weight gain5.
Try Stress Relieving Techniques
- Relaxation techniques can help you reduce stress and lead to improved quality of life.
- Benefits of practicing relaxation techniques include: improving digestion, maintaining normal blood glucose, improving concentration and focus, improving sleep quality, lowering fatigue, reducing anger and frustration6.
- Techniques include deep breathing, massage, yoga, meditation, tai chi, music, aromatherapy, hydrotherapy.
- Use moisturizer and lotions with SPF for yourself and your family every day, even on the grey days.
- Ultraviolet (UV) light can damage the skin and increase chances for developing skin cancer later in life.
This blog details 7 important topics to consider when thinking about the health and wellbeing of your family. To ensure your family members are set up for success, try tackling one of these topics each week.
Do you have tips for family health and wellness? Leave them in the comments!
- Current Guidelines | health.gov. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://health.gov/our-work/nutrition-physical-activity/physical-activity-guidelines/current-guidelines
- 6 Steps for the Whole Family to be Healthy. www.heart.org. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-lifestyle/mental-health-and-wellbeing/6-simple-steps-for-the-whole-family-to-be-heart-healthy
- Park S, Onufrak S, Cradock A, et al. Correlates of Infrequent Plain Water Intake Among US High School Students: National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2017. Am J Health Promot AJHP. 2020;34(5):549-554. doi:10.1177/0890117120911885
- Eating together as a family helps children feel better, physically and mentally: Long-term effects of family meals in early childhood. ScienceDaily. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171214092322.htm
- Ogilvie RP, Patel SR. The epidemiology of sleep and obesity. Sleep Health. 2017;3(5):383-388. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2017.07.013
- Relaxation techniques: Try these steps to reduce stress. Mayo Clinic. Accessed September 22, 2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/relaxation-technique/art-20045368