Why it’s important to create healthy habits with your children

Mar 30, 2023, 6:01 PM | Updated: Mar 31, 2023, 5:32 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Childhood obesity continues to rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health experts say it’s important to create healthy habits at a young age with your kids to ensure they have a healthy life.

Dr. Neal Davis, a pediatrician at Intermountain Health, said he believes the rise in childhood obesity could be attributed to higher sugar intake, lower physical activity, and more screen time.

“Lives now for children are so different than they were several decades ago,” he said.

Davis said childhood obesity has serious health effects, adding that it could lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

“When kids fall into obesity, it can be limiting, and that can have long term implications for health,” he said.

To get started on a healthier lifestyle for your kids, Davis recommends the 5-2-1-0 method:

  • five servings of fruits and veggies a day
  • no more than two hours of screen time
  • at least one hour of physical activity a day
  • zero sweetened beverages

“Helping kids understand that food is something that we can prepare and eat, and that it helps our body have fuel and help us grow,” Davis said. “A positive relationship with food is another important thing.”

Justin McPheters and his wife, Katrina, have five kids, and they make exercise a priority to keep their kids healthy.

“We have always wanted our kids to exercise and enjoy life,” Katrina said.

The McPheters said they enjoy hiking together as a family — even hiking Kings Peak, the highest peak in Utah.

“I just love seeing them do hard things,” Justin said.

“When we first started hiking, it was a struggle to keep them going, but now, they are a lot faster than I am,” Katrina said.

The McPheters said when it comes to physical activity, they started small, and recommend others do the same.

“It doesn’t have to be a big, long all-day thing, but just doing something to move around,” Justin said.

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Why it’s important to create healthy habits with your children