How can I help my child make healthy choices?

Anthony Cirillo
Geriatric Medicine Specialist

Children look first to their parents as role models for everything in life, and that includes a healthy lifestyle. To help your children make healthy choices, you must make healthy choices. Read and understand food labels and buy healthy foods for yourself and your family.

Kids spent over seven hours a day, on average, watching TV or playing on their computers or cell phones. But are they the only ones who watch too much TV and spend too much time on Facebook?

And kids need exercise. But do you set an active example? Do you take a walk at lunch, use the stairs instead of the elevator, exercise in the morning, at lunch or after work?

Any way you cut it, kids model what their parents do. And boomers and seniors are plagued with multiple chronic conditions that stem from their own bad behaviors that probably started when they were kids. But you are never too old to change. Or to set an example for someone else.

Children learn to make healthy lifestyle choices by watching other people—especially their parents. Set an early example for them by taking the time to eat healthy, exercise and rest well. A common problem is that parents want the best for their kids, but make different choices for themselves because it is easier. Don’t make separate meals for different members of the family, and encourage eating together. Food choices, eating behavior and habits that we see in adults are directly related to what they were exposed to as a child; parents have the power to shape those patterns early by making healthy lifestyle choices for their family and children.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.