Are healthy habits part of your family life?

More than ever, it is important for families and our communities to adopt healthier lifestyle habits, due in part to the staggering obesity and chronic disease rates among adults and youth. Some key habits include physical activity, nutrition and sleep. Below, Chantis Mantilla, director of community health outreach and research translation with Le Bonheur’s pediatric obesity program, shares some tips you and your family can work on achieving together.Healthy families

Let’s move

Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity at least three days a week, and kids need 60 minutes of daily physical activity. It’s not always easy finding the time to exercise, but you can reach your daily goals 10 minutes at a time.

Try these:

  • Squat or march while watching TV, doing dishes or even brushing your teeth
  • Play dance freeze tag on family game nights
  • Take the stairs  
  • Park further away
  • Choose an activity you enjoy doing. This will help you stick to it.

Eat smart

Eating healthier can be done with small steps at each meal.

Try these:

  • Eat a rainbow by having an array of fruits and vegetables at every meal
  • Follow MyPlate portion guidelines at choosemyplate.gov.
  • Drink water or milk instead of soda or juice
  • Make half of your grains whole

Sleep and relax

Getting enough sleep is important for developing minds and bodies. Adequate rest also helps with focus, attention, and behavior. 

  • Take five to 10 minute brain breaks throughout the day. Try deep breathing or listening to soothing music. 
  • Try taking a 15-20 minute nap instead going for another caffeine kick when tired during the daytime.
  • Recommended sleep for newborns is 16-18 hours a day. For preschool children it is recommended they get 11-12 hours. School-aged children need at least 10 hours and teens need nine to 10 hours of sleep. Adults, including the elderly, need seven to eight hours.

Use your local recreational/fitness centers and parks

The best way to keep up with your healthier habits is by signing up at your local recreational center, such as the City of Memphis Parks and Reaction, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, Kroc Center, Church Health Center or a fitness center near you. This will help keep you and your family motivated. Sign up for fitness classes such as Zumba or kickboxing. Find programs the whole family can enjoy, including the Insulin Superheroes Club. Visit Le Bonheur’s pediatric obesity site at lebonheur.org/obesity.

Upcoming Program:

Insulin Superheroes Club

  • Diabetes prevention program for families with children ages 7-15 years
  • Learn healthier habits, improve overall health and prevent Type 2 diabetes
  • 12-month program
  • Program start date is March
  • At the Fogelman YMCA, Fridays at 5:15 p.m.
  • No cost to participate
  • YMCA membership included

For registration, contact Andrea Jacobo, BS, community partnerships and programs coordinator, pediatric obesity program at ajacobo@uthsc.edu or 901-287-6976.

healthy families