The way your family eats and participates in physical activity affects your child’s eating habits and overall physical fitness more than any other single factor. (How your child’s friends and friends’ families eat and engage in physical activity also affect how your child eats and plays, but not as much.)
When it comes to eating and physical fitness, you and the other members of your family are the primary role models for your child. Because of this, it’s important that your child sees the members of his or her family are eating healthy foods at mealtimes and at snack times, and are engaging in healthy forms of physical activity on a regular basis.
Making sure that your child gets enough protein, vegetables and fruit, starches, “good fats”—like the kinds found in fish, avocados and olive oil—and water (what comes out of your faucet here in north Texas is just fine) is crucial to meeting the nutritional needs of your child. Meeting these needs in combination with allowing your child to walk, run, jump, throw, climb and play every day will ensure that he or she:
- is able to build strong bones and healthy muscles
- is able to develop a healthy heart, lungs and arteries
- is able to improve his or her coordination, balance, posture and flexibility