Combatting Childhood Obesity
About one in every six children are considered obese, and this number keeps growing. The rate of childhood obesity has tripled over the past three decades in the United States. While these numbers are certainly concerning, this article outlines important steps you can take to prevent childhood obesity.
- Model a healthy eating pattern. Children learn by watching you, so it’s important to make sure you are eating healthy if you want them to. Children are also more likely to like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains if they are exposed to them early and often.
- Move more as a family. Exercise and healthy eating go hand in hand for maintaining a healthy weight, but you don’t want it to feel like a chore for your child (or you). Make it fun and involve the whole family by walking the dog, riding bikes together, racing in the yard, or playing tag. Chores like washing the car, vacuuming, or raking leaves can also count towards their physical activity.
- Have a consistent bedtime routine. Believe it or not, sleep plays an important role in diabetes, obesity, injuries, and even behavioral problems. While the causes are not completely clear, making sure your child has a consistent bedtime and gets enough sleep each night is very important. Preschoolers need 11-13 hours (including naps), and children 6-12 years old need 9-12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. Teenagers need 8-10 hours.
- Ditch the screens. If children get too much screen time, it can lead to things like poor sleep, weight gain, lower grades, and even poor mental health. While you don’t have to ditch screens entirely, turning them off at least an hour before bed, keeping them out of bedrooms, and limiting them during the day are beneficial.
Benefits of Yoga
The practice of yoga dates back more than 5,000 years, and it’s still very popular in modern times, for good reason! Yoga has many health benefits—both physical and mental. Read more to learn about these benefits!
- Yoga improves flexibility and balance. Balance and flexibility are important to maintain, especially as we age. They can prevent falls and help us stay active. Even low intensity styles of yoga are linked to increased flexibility, and research shows yoga can improve balance, even in older populations.
- Yoga helps with stress relief and reducing anxiety. Studies show yoga helps relieve stress, and the meditation, breath work, and auditory rituals are also shown to relieve tension and reduce stress. Certain yoga practices, like asana and nidra, may be
- Yoga may increase your strength. While yoga can increase your flexibility and balance, it can also increase your strength, depending on the class level, approach, and teacher.
- Yoga may improve sleep. Yoga has been proven to improve how quickly people fall asleep and how they stay asleep.
- Yoga improves your mental health and improve your quality of life. With improved sleep, lower stress, and reduced anxiety, it makes sense that yoga improves your mental health. However, yoga has also been shown to improve symptoms of depression as well.
- Yoga may boost immunity. While more research still needs to be done, there may be a link between practicing yoga and better immune system functioning. This could be due to improvements in sleep, lowering stress, and yoga’s ability to fight inflammation.
- Yoga may improve your cardiovascular system’s functioning. “Yogic breathing” or pranayama is an important part of yoga, and research suggests this type of breathing may benefit your cardiovascular system.
- Yoga may improve bone health. Some of the common positions in yoga like the plank pose, Warrior II, and more are isometric exercises. These types of exercises have been found to increase bone density, which is especially important as we age.
- Yoga can promote better posture and body awareness. Many of us spend our days sitting hunched in front of a computer or over our phone, but yoga has been found not only to improve your posture, but also better recognize sensations within your body.
Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash
- 1 medium spaghetti squash (about 4 pounds)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley, plus more garnish
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano or ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or ¾ teaspoon dried basil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 jar (14 ounces) pasta sauce
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- Halve squash lengthwise; discard seeds. Place squash on a microwave-safe plate, cut side down; microwave on high until tender, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with parsley, oregano and basil. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook 7-9 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 165°. Stir in pasta sauce; sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and cook until cheese is melted, 3-5 minutes.
- Separate strands of squash with a fork. Serve with chicken and sauce. If desired, top with chopped parsley.