A Healthy Heart: Leading by Example
According to the American Heart Association
, one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese. Obesity causes a range of health problems related to heart health. Obese children are at risk for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and are also more prone to low self-esteem and depression. So as a dad, how can you help?
Recent studies have found that a father’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and activity level are directly related to their child’s BMI and activity level. The more active and healthy the father, the greater the chances are the child will be active and healthy as well. What many do not realize is that these correlations have not been found between moms and children. As a leader of your family, you have the responsibility to not only encourage a healthy lifestyle, but to lead by example.
You can lead by example by simply:
- Eating heart healthy foods such as blueberries, salmon, almonds, and brown rice.
- Reading food nutrition labels before you buy an item. Educate yourself with AHA's guide to food labels.
- Skipping the fries at fast food restaurants, ordering grilled chicken instead of a hamburger, and asking for a whole wheat bun.
- Scheduling exercise as a part of your daily routine.
- Limiting video game use to active-play games like Wii or Xbox Kinect instead of traditional hand-held controllers.
- Taking a walk as a family instead of watching TV.
Remember, when you get active and get healthy, your children have a better chance of leading longer and healthier lives.
Check out NFI's "It Takes Heart to Be a Dad" campaign at www.fatherhood.org/ittakesheart.