Many forces influence your child’s health. From television commercials and programs, the internet, teachers and parents, your children receive input from many areas that will shape their attitudes toward health. You, as the parent, have the ability to have the strongest influence. Modeling healthy behaviors for your kids is the best way for them to learn and adopt healthy habits for themselves.
Have you ever thought about whether Mom or Dad has the biggest impact on your child’s health? Traditionally, mothers tend to have the greatest influence in the earlier years of child development. However, when it comes to healthy weight, recent research actually shows that fathers have the biggest impact.
That’s right Dad’s! It is time to step up to the plate and make sure that you are modeling a healthy weight and healthy habits that produce this lifestyle for your kids. Here are some tips to help you out.
Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids Lifestyle Research
A recent study indicated that children with a healthy-weight mother were at greater risk for obesity if their fathers were overweight or obese. This study was developed to assist fathers in achieving personal weight-loss goals, which would then influence the lifestyle behaviors of their children. It resulted in fathers achieving clinically significant weight loss compared with controls, and their children improved their physical activity levels and dietary intake.
Modeling a Healthy Lifestyle for Your Kids
This study showed that the key to modeling healthy lifestyle habits for you kids is building relationships with your kids. Spending quality time with your children is just as important – if not more – than modeling healthy diet and exercise.
A PBS Kids survey showed that about half of the kids felt that they did not have enough quality time with Dad. Be sure to make a habit of spending more time with your kids. You’re impact on their lives and health is probably greater than you expect!
While you are spending extra time, be sure that you are sharing some physical activity. Take the family out for a bike ride around the neighborhood. Play some football with your boys. Take a walk through the park with your daughter.
The type of exercise you choose doesn’t matter. What is important is that you show your kids how to enjoy various types of physical activity. Spending this type of quality time with your kids will have a big impact on their physical development. They will learn to develop lifestyle habits that build great health.
Spend some quality time around the dinner table as well. Though you may need some help from Mom here, model a healthy diet for your kids. This study showed that Dad’s habits in this area are even more important than Mom’s.
Raising kids is no easy task. While it is very rewarding, it is also filled many challenges. Unfortunately, our society has down played the importance of fathers. However, Dad’s are important to kids for many reasons! I love that this research demonstrates the huge impact that fathers have of their kids health.
Take it to heart. It is never too late to build stronger relationships with your kids.