January is National Family Fit Lifestyle Month. Nutrition and activity are important at every age, since the CDC reports that almost 36 percent of adults are obese, as are 12.5 million children between 2-19 are. Obesity and inactivity can lead to depression, diabetes, heart problems, and much more, making it critical that LifeWorks NW support clients and their families physically as well as mentally.
Many members of our community struggle with finding the time, energy or safe areas in which to “work out,” while many also live in food deserts that make healthy purchases a challenge. So how can we help our families in finding ways of staying physically fit, without feeling pressured or overwhelmed?
You can check out the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition. It includes Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and you can download the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
With the challenge of ever-increasing food costs, the first thing to think about is access to food assistance. Checking out https://www.oregonfoodbank.org/ could be a great first step.
Then, shopping as a family can be educational for kids. There are many videos for helping with grocery shopping. For example:
Helping your kids and family stay active can be easy and fun, and doesn’t have to be expensive. You can:
- Walk to the kids’ favorite park and enjoy the playground equipment.
- Go hiking if transportation is available. Oregon is among the best places for hiking or beach jaunts.
- Give your kids earphones, so they can listen to stories or music while running or walking laps. It’s best to only do this when an adult is with them to avoid the hazards associated with divided attention.
- Plant a garden or window box as a family. This is especially fun, if you let the kids pick what you grow. If you don’t have room, talk to friends or family members with yards, who might give you a little space, or check out local community gardens.
- Walk a pet or play with them inside on rainy days. Good for kids and adults.
- Do exercise programs with TV or streaming, individually or as a family.