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Healthy Living

We want you well so you can continue to enjoy the little things in life. To help you live your healthiest life, Esse Health physicians have combined some of their favorite tips for you to access at your fingertips. Below are some nutrition tips and the importance of exercise for infants and kids.

Family Health: 10 Steps to Healthy Habits

The Esse Health dietitians teamed up with a few of our pediatricians to bring you these 10 simple steps to healthy habits.  Healthy habits start early!  Try one or try all of these tips at home with your family.  Click here for the 10 tips and 10 simple, family-friendly recipes.

To learn more about the dietitians at Esse Health, click here.

For more information on healthy eating habits or working with picky eaters, go to:

Ellyn Satter Institute

Healthychildren.org

Nutrition Tips

Proper nutrition is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Esse Health offers these tips to help you and your family incorporate nutritious foods into your daily life.

Breastfeeding of infants offers a host of benefits, including lowering the risk of childhood obesity. Studies show that breastfeeding for longer than 4 to 6 months has been linked to this reduction in risk. In addition, the more rapid initial weight gain seen in formula-fed babies, even in the first week of life, may contribute to adult obesity.

Childhood obesity is becoming increasingly common. Here are some tips based on the age of your child.

  • At mealtime, children should not be encouraged to eat everything on their plate.
  • Offer low-fat or nonfat dairy in place of whole milk for children over the age of two.
  • Keep your child’s food portion sizes to the size of his fist. If offered larger portions, the child is likely to increase his food intake by more than 30%, and he may avoid the “good for you” foods like vegetables while filling up on fattier foods.

Getting kids to try new foods can be challenging. Studies show that new nutritious foods need to be offered an average of 8 to 10 times before they are accepted. Most parents give up after 3 to 4 refusals, so be patient!

School-age children need healthy choices. Snacks during school, after school or on the weekends can offer ways to increase protein and vitamin intake for kids of all ages.

Importance of Exercise

Today’s sedentary lifestyles are catching up with us. As Americans spend more time sitting in front of computer and television screens, we are becoming a nation with an alarming obesity rate, even among children. Are you ready to take that first step to benefit your health? Then read on!

Before starting an exercise program, we ask that you please see your Esse Health physician for a complete physical.

Physical Activity for Infants and Children

Do infants need exercise? Yes! Physical activity promotes developmental milestones such as reaching, rolling, sitting, creeping, crawling, walking, climbing and running. Allow your infant “tummy time” for several minutes, several times a day, until she can crawl. Encourage creeping, crawling and safe crawling up and down stairs.

Surveys show that 75% of 3-year-olds and 39% of 4-year-olds are mostly confined to strollers when outdoors, even at parks. Safe outdoor play is encouraged once your child can walk. For children from ages 1 to 3, plan more than 30 minutes of structured play and more than 60 minutes of free, unstructured play every day.

The average preschooler spends 75% of his waking hours inactive and only 12 minutes a day in vigorous activity. Even on the playground, children spend only 11% of their time in vigorous play. Preschoolers and school-age children should engage in moderate to vigorous activity at least one hour a day. To encourage this, screen time should be limited to 2 hours a day, and televisions should not be placed in your child’s bedroom. Families are encouraged to exercise together.

Although weekly sports programs have increased for school-aged children, daily exercise has dramatically decreased. In 1969, nearly 80% of children played sports daily; now only 20% do. Less than 10% of elementary schools have daily physical education class, and many schools have cancelled or reduced recess. Be an advocate at your child’s school for more physical activity!

Planning a birthday party for your child? Make it an active one, such as bowling, swimming or ice skating. Host an outdoor party with potato sack races, games such as “Red Rover,” and hockey or soccer shoot-outs.

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