10 Surefire Ways to Raise Healthy Kids

*By Barbara Pronin, RISMedia Columnist

With parents away at work in most homes, and kids routinely tempted by sugary treats, questionable friends and increasingly engaging electronics, it isn’t easy to raise healthy, responsible kids. But getting them off to a good start, and instilling an awareness of good habits and choices, may help them avoid some obvious pitfalls as they grow toward adulthood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), offers these ten tips for parents who want to raise healthier kids:

Keep them covered –
from earliest childhood, generous use of sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing will help protect them from sunburn and skin cancer.

Keep meds out of reach – Kids are curious. Store all medicines, household products, personal care products, and other dangerous substances in locked cabinets that are out of reach of small children.

Make nutrition important – From infancy, serve a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Omit high-fat, high-sugar snacks and help kids understand the connection between healthy eating and good health.

Get their teeth checked – Dental decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among children and often leads to other illness. Use fluoride toothpaste, and oversee vigorous brushing twice daily.

Stress the importance of hand-washing – Good hygiene, including frequent hand-washing is one of the simplest ways to avoid disease. Show kids how to sneeze or cough into their elbow and encourage frequent hand-washing.

Teach pedestrian safety – Set limits on when and where your children walk and cross streets. Teach them about street safety, what traffic light colors mean, obeying traffic signals, and watching for cars.

Get them off the couch – At least 60 minutes a day of exercise helps build healthy bodies. Get kids involved with regular sports programs and/or bike-riding or other exercise.

Use antibiotics wisely – Antibiotic resistance, which occurs from overuse, can cause longer illness, more doctor visits and other problems. Use them only when your doctor has determined they will be effective.

Be generous with compliments – Complimenting your kids when they do something good encourages good behavior and keeps the lines of communication flowing more freely.

Be involved – Take an active interest in your kids’ daily activities – and talk to them. Involved parents can, without preaching, be a positive influence in their children’s resistance to alcohol, tobacco, and other poor choices.