Gift Your Child the Key to Healthy Living
Healthy Living – A childhood Boon given by parents that will stay with kids even after them
A few days ago I heard my little niece ask her mother why must we eat, to which her mother replied, “because food gives us the energy that we need to survive and for healthy living.” Such a simple yet apt answer; we eat because we need energy. Every time we put a bite of anything into our mouths, our body works hard to produce that energy through the process of metabolism.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the physical and chemical reaction that takes place within one’s body, where nutrients absorbed from food are broken down to produce energy and with the help of which energy is used to build up complex molecules. Simply put, metabolism is a process by which the body gets the energy it needs in order to function. Due to the energy it produces, metabolism is also one of the most important functions of the human body which starts from the moment we are conceived.
As little children sprint past me during my evening walks, I can’t help but reminisce the days when we’d come rushing from school, drink a glass of milk, gobble a few biscuits and run down to play. Brings a smile to my face. But, it also makes me ponder on the fact that with each passing day, I see fewer kids playing outdoors. What could it be? Their laptops, video games, mobile phones, e-books, the television? Honestly, the list can go on. As technology takes over the lives of tomorrow’s youth, play in today’s day and age has boiled down to everything virtually available. While this does make them technologically savvy, but at a compromise to healthy living at a pretty early stage in life.
Acting as an impetus to the lack of physical activity, we also have unhealthy eating habits children adopt early on these days. While high sugared foods like candies and colas have substituted their dry fruit and nut snack, vada pavs have substituted their evening milk and bananas, as have burgers replaced chapatis and veggies for dinner. Picture this: A 10 year old boy with junk food, an aerated drink and video games as his companions every evening. While it may sound ‘alright’ because he is just a kid and his body has the ability to burn fat and detox quickly, the truth is that this could cause his metabolism to slow down to a crawl, thus making him a victim of ‘Metabolic Syndrome’, a sedentary lifestyle disease. Metabolic Syndrome is a cluster of conditions like blood pressure, high blood sugar, excessive belly fat, obesity and abnormal cholesterol levels that build up due to lack of physical activity and excessive junk food. Children with this syndrome are at a high risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
According to a study by American College of Sports Medicine, while other factors do count, obesity is regarded as the root cause of not just this syndrome, but of most other paediatric diseases. Another study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information lists a few factors that put children at a risk of becoming obese:
- High birth weight
- Not being breastfed during infancy
- One or both parents being obese
- Sleep deprivation during early childhood
- Sedentary behavior
- Excessive consumption of unhealthy food
Read our blog – Myth: Fat Children Are Healthy, With Age Baby Fat Will Go Away
This post isn’t in the slightest way meant to put you on the edge. On the contrary, it is meant to make you aware about what you must and must not do in order to ensure your child has a healthy metabolic rate, thus leading to healthy living. While we’ve touched upon the must nots, let’s understand a few things you may do in order to rev up their metabolism:
Practice healthy eating and promote healthy living:
- 5 -6 meals a day must be consumed (breakfast is a must)
- 2 litres of water must be consumed daily
- Snacking should be healthy
- Fruits and vegetables must be consumed in plentitude
- Milk and dairy products need to be added to the diet
- Eating out should be limited to twice a month
Read our Blog – Healthy Breakfast For School Children Tiffins
Movement is mandate
- 2 hours of daily play is recommended
- Enroll them into activities like swimming, badminton, football, dancing, gymnastics etc. where they have fun, learn and stay fit all the same
- Encourage them to not sit for more than half an hour at a stretch, unless need be
While all of these tips may be useful in helping your child lead a healthy lifestyle, do remember- nothing influences a child more than a parent. So, as the saying goes ‘charity begins at home’, in this case, so does fitness.