A healthy you, a healthy family
Obtaining a healthier self is something many individuals strive for in our society. Getting yourself healthy is a great idea, but an even better idea is to get the whole family healthy. Here are some tips and concrete steps for working toward getting the entire family healthy.
Current statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that more adults and children are overweight and obese than ever before. For instance, the amount of overweight and obese children ages 6 to 19 years has almost tripled since 1980. Also, the CDC states that in “2010 one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.” Similar to data regarding children, “More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7 percent) are obese” (CDC, 2012).
Nutrition experts indicate that health success can be better achieved if you have a support group. Thus, your family can serve as that support group. For example, the entire family may allow for more effective health goals rather one sole effort. Joy Bauer, a diet and nutrition expert, suggests four steps for achieving a healthier family.
• Create your family plan: The first step is to develop self and family goals. With your family, set reachable goals and develop a plan on a calendar. Be sure your plan and goals are clear so that all members of your family can understand them. Within your family, keep each other accountable to reach the plan's goals.
• Health education can be a fun game: The next step is educating yourself and family about healthy lifestyle habits. One idea is to develop an Internet research scavenger hunt for your family. This is a fun and competitive way for learning more information about healthy habits. Scavenger hunts can help the family learn about specific foods, nutrition labels and exercise activities.
• Engage your family in cooking: Joy Bauer states that “Kids are more apt to try different and healthier items when they are involved in the preparation.” Depending on the age of each child, duties can be assigned to assist with family meals and snacks. Spouses can form an egalitarianship for the whole family to cook as a team.
• Get the family moving: If the weather permits, go for a family walk, run, swim or bike ride. Several gyms have family memberships (if children's ages permit).
For example, Fourth Avenue Gym's family rates are as low as $54.99 per month or $599 per year (subject to price change over time). For more information, visit fourthavenuegym.com. Also, the city of Yuma Parks and Recreation Department has several local family, youth and children events. For more information, go to www.ci.yuma.az.us/1357.htm.
Aryca Marron is professor of family studies/psychology at Arizona Western College. She can be reached at email@example.com.