How to Assess the Health of Your Kids

If you’re wondering just how healthy your children are, you can find the answers yourself by taking a look at their eating and exercise habits. By establishing healthy habits in childhood, your kids will likely maintain these habits into adulthood. This can be a good thing if they eat well and exercise now, but if not, then they’re more likely continue with poor eating and sedentary habits into adulthood, which leads to a host of disease risks and conditions. Ask yourself these questions (answer yes or no to each) to determine where you child stands now, and how you can improve as a family.

Nutrition Questions
1. Does your child eat both fruits AND vegetables daily?
2. Does your family eat meals together at least 5 times per week?
3. Does your child seem to recognize both true hunger and satiety signals (she eats only when hungry and not out of stress or boredom)?
4. Does your child enjoy trying new foods?
5. Does your family only rarely eat meals or snacks while doing other things (watching TV, riding in the car, using the computer, etc.)?
6. Does your child eat a variety of foods from each major food group (including dairy, whole grains, lean protein, fruits and vegetables)?
7. Do you make it a priority to eat healthy yourself?
8. Do you know and understand the nutritional needs for your child’s age group?

For every “yes” answer, pat yourself on the back–your family has done well with establishing some healthy eating habits. For every “no,” try to see how you can improve your family’s lifestyle. Remember, as a parent you are the gatekeeper. You decide what to buy at the grocery, pack in the lunches, and serve at the breakfast table. Your children will emulate your habits, so if you have vegetables and don’t offer them, maybe you need to work on changing your own actions; your family will follow suit.

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