Time spent in childhood doing active play is valuable, helping to build lifelong habits. As caregivers and parents, we all want kids to grow up to be active, healthy adults. However, meeting the daily recommendation of at least one hour per day of physical activity may seem unreachable or too structured. As a registered dietitian, I suggest families approach physical activity the same way as healthy eating; by teaming up with their child.
You’ve seen these kids. They stand apart at recess, with no one to talk to while other children hang out in small groups, run around raucously or play games. Or you may have seen them at lunch, sitting conspicuously alone, head down, at a long empty table. That’s what it looks like to be fat-shamed and shunned by your peers when you’re an obese child. This rejection starts as early as first grade, according to a recent study. Schools can intervene, but the best help starts at home, a Swedish psychiatrist says.
There can be many reasons we don’t eat healthy. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is defining “healthy.” The truth is there’s no universally ideal diet because we all have unique needs. What all good diets have in common, though, is “real food.” If you let real food be your guide, things get much simpler.