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A Healthy Lifestyle for Your Child: Care Instructions

Your Care Instructions

A healthy lifestyle can help your child feel good and have lots of energy for school and play. In fact, a healthy lifestyle will help your whole family. It also will show your child that everyone needs to take care of their health. Good food and plenty of exercise are the main things you can do to have a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating means eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein foods, including dairy. It also means not eating too much fat, sugar, and fast food. Your child can still eat desserts or other treats now and then. The goal is moderation.

It is important for your child to stay at a healthy weight. When a child's weight continues to grow faster than their height, they may develop serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or type 2 diabetes. Good eating habits and exercise are especially important if your child already has any health problems.

You can follow a few tips to improve the health of your child and your whole family.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Start with some small steps to improve your family's eating habits. You can slowly cut out drinks with added sugar like juice and soda, and eat more vegetables and fruits.
    • Have your child drink water when they are thirsty. Juice is not necessary for a healthy diet. Juice does not have the valuable fibre that whole fruit has. Many fruit drinks are just water, a little juice flavouring, and a lot of added sugar.
    • Offer more vegetables and fruits at meals and snacks.
  • Eat as a family as often as possible. Keep family meals fun and positive. Avoid commenting on how much, how little, or what your child is eating. Instead, show your child healthy behaviours by eating until you're satisfied.
  • If you need help making changes to your family’s eating habits, visit ahs.ca/nutrition to find a dietitian in your area.
  • Encourage your child and family to be active throughout the day to meet the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines (csepguidelines.ca). There are different guidelines for babies, children, and teens.
    • For babies less than 1 year old, encourage physical activity several times every day in a variety of ways through interactive play on the floor. More is better.
    • For children ages 1 to 4, encourage at least 3 hours of different activities to get moving during the day. More is better.
    • For children and teens ages 5 to 17, encourage at least 1 hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. Moderate to vigorous physical activity means the activity brings up your heart rate and makes you breathe harder, like biking, a fast walk, skateboarding, or dancing.
  • Be active together during your family’s daily life.
    • Walk with your child to do errands or to the bus stop or school.
    • Take bike rides as a family.
    • Give every family member daily, weekly, or monthly chores, such as housecleaning, weeding the garden, or washing the car.
  • Let your child watch television or play video games for no more than 1 to 2 hours each day. Sit down with your child and plan out how they will use this time.
    • Recreational screen time is not recommended for children under the age of 2. If your child is between 2 to 4 years old, less than 1 hour of recreational screen time is recommended each day. For children and teens 5 to 17, no more than 2 hours is recommended each day.
  • Do not put a TV in your child's room.
  • Be a good role model. Practice the eating and exercise habits that you want your child to have.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter U981 in the search box to learn more about "A Healthy Lifestyle for Your Child: Care Instructions".

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