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kids health

Get active

  • Get the whole family involved in regular physical activity and healthy eating. It will be easier if everyoneís in it together. If you focus on just one child, they may feel like theyíre being punished.
  •  If your children are not active, increase the time that they currently spend on physical activities and sports by at least 30 minutes a day. They should spend at least 10 minutes on vigorous activity, which makes their hearts beat faster, makes them breathe harder, and makes their bodies feel warm.
  •  Make active living part of your childís daily routine. Itís easier and more realistic than relying only on scheduled, organized activities:
    • Encourage your child to take part in activities that involve moving, not sitting. Set limits on how much time they spend watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet no more than one hour a day.
    •  Organized sports alone (such as a soccer team or a hockey league) arenít enough to keep children and youth healthy. Encourage them to also discover activities they can do and enjoy every day, such as walking or cycling to a friendís house or skipping rope.
    • If you drive your children to school, try walking instead, or organize a walking club with the neighbours. 
    • Encourage your children to take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
    • Get your child involved in activities around the house: carrying the groceries, raking leaves, or shovelling snow.
  • Be sure activities are safe. Children and youth should wear protective equipment for activities like cycling, skating, skateboarding, soccer, and other physical activities.

Eat well

  • Limit the amount of high-fat, high-calorie foods you bring into your home. Itís easier for children to make healthy choices if thereís no junk food around to tempt them. If you do bring home foods like chips or cookies, buy smaller packages.  
  • Help your children choose foods that are high in cereal fibre like bran, wheat, and rye. These include dry cereal or cereal bars, which are naturally filling and low in calories.  
  • Provide your children with healthy snacks. Instead of high-fat foods like chips and donuts, offer fruit and raw vegetables, like celery and carrots.  
  • Encourage your child to drink water instead of juice. Even juice that is labelled unsweetened can have as many calories as soft drinks. Set a limit on juice and soft drinks. Aim for no more than 4 to 8 oz a day, depending on your childís size and weight.
  •  If your children eat at fast food restaurants, help them resist the temptation to supersize their meals. Stick with regular portions, and donít go as often.  
  •  Help your child or teen accept their body. Instead of dieting, encourage them to get active. Dieting leads to a yo-yo cycle of weight gain and weight loss that is not healthy.
  • If your child is overweight, talk to your doctor about setting realistic weight-loss goals, and about developing a plan to reach those goals.  

 Be a role model!

  • Your children will learn most about healthy active living from you.

Being active

  • Builds strong bones and strengthens muscles.
  • Helps children stay flexible.
  • Helps children reach and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Promotes good posture and balance.
  • Improves childrenís fitness levels.
  • Helps children meet new friends.
  • Strengthens the heart.
  • Helps children feel better about their bodies.
  • Helps children relax.
  • Enhances healthy growth and development.
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