The Importance of Implementing Healthier Habits Early in Life

Nearly 1 in 3 Michigan children are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, a “normal” diet in America has shifted in a direction that permits people of all ages to choose convenience foods and sugary beverages over healthier options.

In addition to poor food choices, serving sizes have largely exceeded what the body naturally needs. Implementing healthier habits early in life ensures a child’s body is functioning properly while lowering the risk of chronic conditions.

Ensuring A Healthy Future

  • Be A Role Model: Cooking meals at home is a great way to dive into healthier options. This also encourages your loved ones to make smarter choices of their own.
  • Limit Screen Time: Ensuring children get a break from phones, tables and/or video games positively impacts their physical and mental well-being. Signing up for a sport, playing outside or finding creative ways to get moving in the house can stimulate young brains and endorse healthier habits.
  • Stop the Pop: Allowing children to indulge in sugary beverages on a regular basis can alter taste buds to crave higher amounts of sugar and perpetuate an addictive craving over time. Steer clear of refined sugars and soft drinks to improve a child’s brain, dental and developmental health.

Healthy Development

  • Bones: When a child’s diet includes food that are rich in nutrients, it strengthens healthy bone density and promotes growth.
  • Brain: A nutritional diet helps young brains function and grow. A deficiency of glucose, vitamins, minerals and proteins can lead to a higher risk of mental disorders.
  • Muscles: Nutritional foods endorse skeletal development and play an important role in maintaining normal muscle function throughout life. Experts suggest a plant-based diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and lean meats.
  • Vascular System: The heart, blood and vessels work together and rely on a diet rich in nutrients to efficiently deliver oxygen throughout the body.

Lower Risk of Chronic Conditions

Ensuring a child’s nutritional health helps to avoid serious issues later in life, including chronic conditions such as: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, osteoporosis, depression, and eating disorders.

Dr. T. Jann Caison-Sorey, is an associate medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

 Photo credit: A Healthier Michigan

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