In many households, weight issues and chronic diseases affect everyone in the family, often because each member of the family is engaging in the same poor behaviors. Improving the overall health of your family is easier when everyone is on the same page and involved in making changes.
Have Baseline Screenings
Everyone in your family should have yearly physicals, but adults often skip this necessary part of living a healthy life. If you have a family doctor, you can often schedule appointments for physicals around the same time to minimize the amount of time you need to take off from work or other obligations. Everyone can find out important numbers regarding their health, such as their weight, familial risk factors for disease, and have their blood work done. Use this information as a starting point and work with your family doctor to create a plan of action for the entire family.
Involve Everyone In Meals
If there is a single day of the week when everyone is home, this is the ideal time to develop a weekly meal plan and preparing food for the week. Many families find it is easier for children (and stubborn adults) to make changes in their diet if they are more involved with preparing meals. Encourage each person in the family to find a recipe they want to try and/or a specific food they want to incorporate into a meal. Even young children can be engaged in food preparation by shredding meat with their hands, washing vegetables, or portioning out food. Weekly meal preparation should also include lunches for both children and adults. Not only is this a time-saver, especially when you are rushing to send the children off to school, but it also makes it easier for adults, no matter their work setting, to make better lunch choices.
Incorporate More Activities
One of the major problems with children and their health is they are often less active than previous generations, due to more time indoors and use of electronic devices. If possible, encourage your children to participate in team sports. One hurdle some families face is the expense associated with team sports. If you cannot afford for your children to participate, look for community resources, such as a local boys and girls club.
At home, set a time when use of electronics is forbidden. This should be applicable to the adults in the household, as well. The only time when electronic devices can be used during this time is if everyone is following along with an exercise video or participating in a game that requires physical interaction. Being more physically active and limiting the use of electronic devices has other benefits. You may find you and your family are more tired around bedtime and it is easier to fall asleep.
When everyone is involved in creating healthier meals and family activities, it feels less like a chore. With persistence, living a healthier lifestyle with come naturally to your family. Talk with your family doctor for more information.