As far back as 2011, the United Nations was calling attention to “lifestyle diseases,” such as obesity. These diseases result from bad eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking and consuming alcohol. Since then, lifestyle diseases have continued to rise. According to doctors, parents need to encourage children to make healthy eating choices to grow up accustomed to them and avoid these diseases.
What are Lifestyle Diseases?
Lifestyle diseases are those diseases that result from a person’s lifestyle. They are, therefore, non-communicable. For example, sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and substance use disorders result in cardiovascular disease, obesity, strokes, type II diabetes, and lung cancer.
Lifestyle diseases seem to rise as a country becomes more developed. Lifestyle diseases have become increasingly worrisome for public authorities as the costs of treatment escalate. Patients may need primary prevention and any early symptoms identified to prevent issues from developing.
Why is Encouraging Children to Eat Healthy Important?
The question is really about habits. We already know that having healthy habits can extend life for up to a decade. Primary care physicians agree that with just five critical interventions, a person can enjoy markedly improved health: never smoking, having a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 18 to 25, doing moderate to vigorous exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, moderate alcohol intake, and a healthy diet.
For your children to avoid developing lifestyle diseases, you need to encourage them to eat healthy so that this becomes an ingrained part of their habits. If you don’t do it, then children will form an identity around lousy eating habits, and it will be difficult for them to change their eating habits at an earlier age.
Children are already eating unhealthy meals at an alarming rate, which means they are likely to develop lifestyle diseases at younger and younger ages. For instance, one study found that over a third of children eat fast foods at least once a day. These are children who are not getting the nutrients they need. Healthy eating will also promote brain development and help your children avoid lifestyle diseases. Finally, by encouraging healthy eating habits, your children will not become addicted to sugar and other unhealthy foods.
How to Build Healthy Eating Habits
The most crucial driver of habits is a person’s environment. The environment is more important than motivation in determining how strongly a person will adhere to new habits. So, the first thing you have to do is make it easier to eat healthily. This means throwing away all your unhealthy foods and creating an environment where it is very easy for you to prepare healthy meals. The brain always looks for the easiest solution, so if it’s easy to prepare meals, you will be more inclined to do so. It should also be easy for your children to get healthy snacks whenever they are hungry. Once you create this environment, eating right will be much easier for you and your children. You can then focus on finding other ways to reinforce these healthy habits.