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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Excess Calories and Lack of Exercise Bad for Kids Too

You may be aware that drinking calories is not a healthy habit for adults because it increases the likelihood that you will consume too many calories. Why? Because liquid calories do not contribute to feelings of satiety.

Even all natural juices are highly caloric and do not contain the fibre and other essential nutrients of fresh fruit. Pop, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages are just pure junk. Ideally water should be your beverage of choice, along with coffee and/or tea, with low-fat milk and/or small amount of sweetener/sugar-substitute.

Alcohol should also be consumed sparingly. Don't fool yourself into thinking it's okay to drink lots of wine because it's good for your heart. It also comes with a lot of risk factors, particularly if you are a woman. Great way to increase your risk of getting breast cancer, by the way!

The same rings true for children. They need far less milk than most parents think, generally no more than 8oz a day, and unless your child is not growing well, it should be low-fat milk they are drinking by the age of 2. Juice should only be a treat and water should be encouraged as much as possible. There was a great piece in the Globe and Mail about this yesterday: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/ask-a-health-expert/ask-a-pediatrician/should-my-toddler-switch-from-whole-to-skim-milk/article2000711/

In addition, did you know that children should be getting at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity a day? Very few actually reach that goal.

Try to make exercise a family activity as modelling healthy behaviours is the best way to get your children to develop them themselves. Walk or cycle to and from school, enroll your children in physical activities (community centres usually offer a variety at a very low cost), encourage your child's school to make PA a priority, get your children to try a wide range of activities until they find ones they enjoy, and focus on fun not competition/winning.

Spring seems to FINALLY be here, so make the most of it and get outside and get active with the kids. Afterwards, serve healthy snacks and ICE COLD WATER for the tired, thirsty crew.

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