Califonia Bountiful

Keeping your kids healthy and fit

May/June 2010 California Country magazine

There’s nothing more precious than your children. So it only makes sense to help guide them down a healthy path.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity rates have doubled among children and tripled among adolescents since 1980. About 9 million or 15 percent of young people ages 6 to 19 are overweight, and more than a third of young people in grades nine through 12 do not get regular exercise.

Here are a few ways to mix fitness and family fun:

  • Take time for regular outings the whole family can enjoy together, like biking or hiking trips.
  • Encourage more exercise options closer to home, such as playing touch football, going swimming, running a race around the yard, walking the dog and going to the batting cage.
  • Encourage hobbies that will get the kids out from in front of video games and keep them engaged.
  • Plan birthday parties and other events at locations where fun is easily combined with physical activity, such as bowling alleys, skating rinks, miniature golf courses and parks. Think like a kid and you’ll come up with other great ideas.
  • Reinforce periods of physical activity like playing tag, flying a kite or playing Frisbee—anything that keeps kids moving.
  • Instead of putting children on diets, serve healthy meals and snacks. Watch them pack their lunch so that they aren’t dining on chips and candy bars.
  • Cut back or eliminate sodas and sugary drinks. Consuming just three cans of soda a day will add 420 calories to your child’s diet. Encourage them to drink more water instead.

By keeping your kids active and eating healthy, you’re not only improving their quality of life, you’re also reducing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Instilling healthy habits now can help prevent cancer, stroke and heart disease in the future.

For information about the California Farm Bureau Members’ Health Insurance Plan through Health Net Life Insurance Co., call 800-213-6716 or e-mail Or visit the Health Net Web site at

Sam Cole is a regional vice president for Health Net of California Inc.

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