School success can start with healthy habits at home
It is not unusual for healthy habits to take a back seat to summer activities, as youngsters may stay up later and sleep in more. But with kids back in school, LSU AgCenter nutritionist Denise Holston-West said now is the best time for parents to reestablish consistent patterns for eating breakfast, family meals and bedtime.
Holston-West said youngsters need at least nine hours of sleep and parents should stick to the child’s bedtime routine even on the weekend, as well as the upcoming holiday breaks.
Sleep deprivation impacts a child’s mood and ability to concentrate in school.
Making sure kids get a healthful breakfast is another way to positively affect their disposition and school performance, according to Holston-West.
A child who skips breakfast may have headaches and stomachaches, and may seem distracted, she said. A healthful breakfast will help sustain a child until lunch.
Parents who pack their child’s lunch should include a whole grain, a fruit, a vegetable, a lean protein and a low-fat dairy item. Having variety will keep children from getting bored, while snacks after school can include yogurt, fruit, cheese cubes with crackers, baked chips, pretzels or plain popcorn.
Last but certainly not least, children need to receive an adequate amount of physical activity each day. Children will likely receive some in school, but not the full recommended 60 minutes. This can be broken up into bouts of activity.
Regular physical activity also improves a child’s mood and helps with his or her physical development.
According to a report by the Associated Press published earlier this week, today’s kids are not as fit as their parents were at their age.
The American Heart Association says it shows that children’s fitness has declined worldwide over the last three decades.
Health experts recommend that children 6 and older get 60 minutes of moderately vigorous activity accumulated over a day, although only one-third of American kids do.
World Health Organization numbers suggest that 80 percent of young people globally may not be getting enough exercise.
Again, parents are reminded that good habits today will help form better habits for tomorrow – for their children’s futures.
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