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Start the New Year with Healthy Habits

It’s easy to abandon healthy family routines during the holidays. You may find that holiday dinners and treats sabotage your diet, the kids stay up all night playing video games during their break from school, and holiday shopping cuts into your exercise time. While the holidays are festive and exciting, they can wreak havoc on your healthy habits.

The New Year is a natural time to make a fresh start and jump back into healthy habits. With everyone thinking of what they want to improve in the next year, there’s no better time to take stock of your family’s health and make positive changes.

Your family members may have their own individual goals and ideas for staying healthy. You can learn from each other when you explore these together. Here are some great points to start the conversation:

  • Stop drinking soft drinks. The calories in soft drinks add up quickly. Soft drinks are also linked to a loss of calcium in bones. Replace soft drinks with water or milk, and agree as a family to sidestep temptation by not bringing them home.
  • Reduce screen time. Whether it’s watching television, looking at a computer or scanning our smart phones, Americans spend more time than ever looking at screens. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long recommended that kids spend no more than two hours per day looking at a screen, but a recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that nearly 75 percent of teens actually get at least two hours of screen time a day. Imposing some limits may help you reconnect as a family. Avoiding screen-free time an hour before bed may help improve sleep for everyone in the family.
  • Walk more. Walking is a great, moderate workout for family members of all ages and abilities, and it’s one of the easiest ways to add more activity to your day. It’s easy to incorporate more walking into your life. Park at a distance when shopping, take the stairs instead of the elevator and pace while talking on the phone. Take walks as a family. Whether you’re walking around the block or around a shopping mall, walking together gives you time to reconnect with your loved ones.

Making small changes to your daily routines can have a positive impact on your individual health and well-being and that of your family members. Children and teens in particular can benefit from developing good habits that lead to a healthy adult life.

For more ideas to help kids and teens establish healthy habits, visit Healthy Lifestyles.

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