Health and Wellness; What We Learn from Parents

Everywhere we look, we find programs for adults that will allow them to lose weight get fit or relieve stress through a holistic activity like yoga or meditation. As adults we find personal gratification from having engaged in such healthy activities. We are also becoming our own nutritionist in a way through heightened awareness and educational materials that talk about reading labels and the dangers of salt and trans-fats. As we strive to perfect our diets and exercise routines, we often wonder why we are getting such a late start at taking care of ourselves.

Think back to our teenage years. The degree to which we exercised or paid attention to the nutritional value of food consumption was acquired over time. The daily routine that we grew up with became our blueprint for what we know about nutrition and exercise. That blueprint was formulated by our parents based on the knowledge they had at the time. Some of those family blueprints led to very good health for us and some of them may have missed a few key ingredients. We often become what our parents were in terms of nutrition and exercise. With all of the information available to us today, we can simply reflect back on the blueprint we learned to live by to know if it had the right formula for long term health and wellness.

The question is, what efforts are we making within our own families to impact how our kids understand the values of healthy food and exercise? What blueprint are we developing? Are we bringing home foods that we can explain as healthy choices or are we bringing home the treats to earn popularity? Are we involved with exercise and do we encourage our kids to participate? We need to work on getting the blueprint right for our family before it’s too late. What our children take from us in terms of exercise and nutritional habits will influence their health greatly through their lifetime. Our objective should be to ensure they have the blueprint for successful health and if this process begins early enough with them their sound healthy habits will stay with them for their lifetime.

When there is absence of illness, children and their parents feel that the child is in good health. The absence of illness in the present however, does not mean absence of illness later. For example, an obese teenager may be ok in the present but may be nearing a juvenile diabetes diagnosis. Some “not so healthy” behaviors may have caused the obesity in the first place and if that blueprint is not modified, the child will find it difficult to succeed. Creating a family blueprint for success requires effort on the part of the parents or caregivers as much as it does for the child. The child cannot change without family support. If we are not sure how to get started, there is help. Creating the ideal blueprint for an individual comes from the collaborative effort of a wellness coach, nutritionist and a personal trainer. Together they can create the plan to be adopted by the child and family.

The author of this article, Al McCooey is the Business Director at New Horizon Medical in Norwood. They have instituted a wellness program for adolescents, teenagers and parents to help kids get in shape and adapt to new behaviors that will keep them on a healthy track for their lifetime. They believe that the combination of a wellness coach, nutritionist and a personal trainer meeting weekly with the child can bring long term behavioral and lifestyle changes filled with confidence and vitality.

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