National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

One in 3 children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented.

In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Dearborn Pediatrics encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

Here are just a few healthy changes you can make:

Get active outside

Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.

Limit screen time

Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing videos games) to 2 hours or less a day.

Make healthy meals

Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.

Even chores count

Clean the house, wash the car, or mow the lawn with a push mower. Know that these activities count toward your goal of at least 150 minutes each week.

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Tricks to Eating Veggies

Little asian girl with expression of disgust against broccoliGreen beans, peas, spinach, and broccoli.  Kids love to hate them.  Veggies, however, are an essential part of a healthy diet.  Should you sneak veggies into your kids’ meals to give them the nutrition they need without the whining that you most certainly do not need?  The answer depends on how you and your kids relate.  Read on for more information.

Two Options

If you have an open relationship with your kids and your kids are good at honoring your requests and following your directions, then sneaking veggies into your kids’ meals is not the right way to go.  The better approach is to address this topic as you have addressed all other topics: openly and trusting your kids to honor your requests and follow your directions.  You may say, for example, “You guys want pizza for dinner, and I’ve decided that sounds pretty good.  To make sure that you still have a balanced, nutritious meal tonight, you will need to choose at least three toppings (one meat and two vegetables).  What would you like on the pizza tonight?”

If your relationship with your kids is more stereotypical (i.e., your kids want what they want, regardless of your requests and directions, such that you and your kids occasionally have a battle of wills), then sneaking veggies into your kids’ meals may be the right way to go.  As your kids mature, you may then disclose what they have been eating all along, but likely not until that maturation has occurred.  Minor trust issues may develop in this situation, but your kids will be healthy as they mildly distrust you.  If you don’t want to risk this down side, your alternative is to let them avoid the veggies that they hate and provide them dietary supplements (i.e., vitamin and mineral tablets) to offset the deficiencies in their diets.

Food Choices

The food choices that the kids make when they get older can be positively or negatively affected either way.  If you ensure that your kids eat nutritious meals, you may orient your kids to value nutrition as adults or you may cause your kids to grow weary of healthy foods and instead inadvertently stimulate a desire to be free to eat whatever tastes good (regardless of how healthy it may be).  Conversely, if you do not ensure that your kids eat nutritious meals, your kids will be less likely to value healthy foods when they are adults . . . but they may surprise you (typically once they becomes parents themselves) by focusing on healthy food consumption.  How kids grow to make food choices of their own seems to be based in part on how familiar they are with nutrition, how comfortable they are with eating healthy food and junk food, and how forced they did or did not feel to eat certain foods when they were growing up.

In sum, when choosing whether to sneak veggies into your kids’ meals, you need to consider the way that you and your kids relate to each other and the possible outcomes (both short- and long-term) of the choice that you make.  Then, you can make the choice that is right for you and your family.

Written by: Candi Wingate, President at “”


About The Author: Candi Wingate is an expert in the child care industry with over 20 years experience. She is the founder of and, and author of 100 Tips for Nannies & Families and The Nanny Factor: A Parent’s Guide to Finding the Right Nanny for Your Family.

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Raising Happy, Healthy Kids

Indian girl holding an green apple outdoorWhy do parents want their children to be healthy? Is it because they want them to feel energized? To be able to think clearly? To avoid illness? To live long? Yes, it’s all of the above, but why? We want our children to be healthy, because we want them to be happy.

That’s our job as parents, to raise happy children. So, we want them to do well in school, to get good jobs, to marry the right person, to avoid drugs and follow the law. We want them to choose loyal friends, buy a home, and yes, be healthy, because we believe these things will help them attain happiness.

So where does a parent start when it comes to the health of her children? Nutrition? Screen time? Exercise? Education? Yes, all of the above, but I don’t believe that there is one prescribed “right” way to raise healthy children. I mean, three big meals a day or six small meals? Vegetarian, vegan, lactose free, free range chickens? Snacks on the weekend only? Dessert? No sweets? Play outside or join a soccer team? No TV during the week? Computer an hour a day, an hour a week? Do all the homework first thing when they get home? Free time during the week and study hard on the weekend? C average and above? A’s only?

We can debate the above, but what it comes down to is what your family believes is important. You know a bag of Doritos before bedtime isn’t healthy. But are you allowing it? If so, why? If it’s because you as a parent are doing the same, then that’s where change needs to begin.

To raise happy, healthy children, parents need to model the kind of behavior we hope to see in them. If we want our children to read everyday, they need to see us with a book in our hands. If we want them to eat more veggies, we need to buy them and put them on our plates. If we want them to exercise more, they need to see us up and moving. If we expect them to put down the Smart Phone, we need to put ours down first.

To raise happy, healthy children, we need to model healthy behaviors which will bring us to our place of happiness. When our children see that this is a way of life in our homes, they too will claim those same behaviors as their own, and become the happy, healthy children we desire.

Written by: Leon Scott Baxter, Relationship Guru

About the Author

Leon Scott Baxter, America’s Relationship Guru, is the author of three books on relationships. His latest book, due out in 2015, is about raising happy, successful children. Baxter has used his seventeen years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher, interviews with happy, successful children and their parents, as well as his own experience as a father of two to formulate his newest book. Health is a huge component of life in the Baxter home with P90X, Insanity, a home gym, a nutrition app in the works, regular basketball, skim boarding, cheerleading, national gymnastics competitions, and limited sweets.

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Make A Healthy Lifestyle Fun For The Entire Family

Depositphotos_26968077_xsHealthy families make physical fitness, sound nutrition and social interactions a priority, utilizing fun activities and enjoyable adventures.

Play Together

Healthy families make physical fitness a priority and enjoy finding physical activities that feel more like play and less like work.

  • Parents who incorporate children into their exercise routine set a healthy example while eliminating the “I have to watch the kids” excuse. Take kids on a walk, run or bike through the neighborhood or incorporate children for exercises like pushups, squats, lunges, sit-ups and planks.
  • Take an after-dinner walk or bike ride –Wind down the day spending a few minutes walking and talking after dinner as a family. This helps with digestion and eliminates the consumption of extra calories, while the social interaction creates powerful bonds and open lines of communication.
  • Get involved with kids’ sporting activities. Rather than dropping kids off at practice, jump into the game or pool. If there is no way to get involved, use practice time to “practice” your own exercise routine.

Eat Together

The social interaction and nutritional knowledge gained by preparing and eating meals together is irreplaceable.

  • Schedule dinner together at least 3-4 times a week. Add it to every family member’s calendar to ensure attendance.
  • Teach kids the importance of having a balanced meal of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fat and minimally-processed carbohydrates.
  • Involve kids in the grocery-buying process by allowing them to choose new, fresh fruits and vegetables and explain the difference between more healthy options and less healthy foods.

Stay Together

Spend time creating connections with each family member to ensure that each individual feels pursued, respected and important.

  • Schedule play time with kids. Playing Legos or Barbies may not be the most enjoyable activity for an adult, but making this time a priority can mean the world to young children.
  • Plan (and train for) an adventure vacation. The world abounds with fun, healthy adventures that will serve as a reminder to get and stay healthy.
  • Create a date night and a family date night that are centered on activities rather than meals.

Written by: Andrew Craddick, Personal Trainer


About the Author

Andrew Chaddick holds a bachelor of science degree in Kinesiology from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi and a master’s of science degree in Kinesiology from the University of Texas – Pan American. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist by the National Strength and Conditioning Association, and a Certified Performance Enhancement Specialist by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. His expertise includes Strength Training for Endurance Athletes, Sport Performance Training and Goal Achievement for All Ages.

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