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Do you know what you're REALLY teaching your children?
September 05, 2012

This is the everything-you-need-to-know-to-be-as-healthy-as-possible newsletter, brought to you by Kristy Russ, pharmacist and health consultant. I have close to 20 years experience in helping people improve their health. I specialize in nutritional medicine, which is the secret of "true" preventative medicine. Yes, if I'm successful in getting people to follow my advice, I will put myself out of a job.

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7 tips for
Raising Children with a
Healthy Body Image
and a
Love for Being Active

Well, I'm really sad to say goodbye to summer. As I mentioned in the last couple of e-zines, I am a confessed sun addict, so now that it's September, I'm kinda depressed that summer is over for another year. I'm happy to say that we had an amazing summer here in Alberta for the first time in years, so I'm not going to complain though (except about the mosquitoes ;-). I'm hoping this is how all of our summers will be from now on.....(hey, a girl can dream)

September also brings a focus on our children- the start of a new school year and all of those extracurricular activities. As parents, we all want the best for our children and that includes the best of health.

To help you with this, I offer this guest post written by Kristy Lee Wilson, fitness champion, successful entrepreneur, certified personal trainer, and former Cirque du Soleil star. Not only is she uber-fit and knowledgable about health & fitness, she also spells her name right (sorry- there's not too many that spell Kristy like that. And a little known tid-bit is that my legal first name is actually Kristy-Lee, so it always catches my eye when her stuff hits my e-mail box. But please don't actually call me that- only my Mom gets away with it when I'm in trouble ;-)

Kristy recently contributed to the best-selling "The Definitive Guide to Youth Athletic Strength, Conditioning and Performance" and is also a fitness expert for Dr. Mehmet Oz’s "ShareCare" site. She is a USANA Associate and wrote the following in support of USANA’s United for Youth campaign (another great cause endorsed and supported by Usana).

I found this to be an excellent article. It may seem like common sense to a lot of us, but in reality I see many well-meaning parents that don't realize what they're truly teaching their children. Enjoy...

"In today’s society, presenting a balanced picture of health and nutrition is not an easy task. The latest nutrition reports are often reported as fact, and that can leave us wondering which foods are really good for us.

In addition, children are sent all kinds of mixed messages from television, the Internet and magazines. The images they see are of profoundly “beautiful” people — thin, rich, and happy. These same “beautiful” people are frequently seen advertising candy, soft drinks, and fast food, which have little nutritional value.

These unhealthy foods and beverages are among the most-advertised products on children’s TV programs. Studies show a direct correlation between the number of hours spent watching television and the number of requests made from children to want the products they see advertised.

Not only are we getting fatter, but we are also getting more self-conscious about it, and this is being seen in children at a very young age. More and more girls, as young as 10 years old, are voicing dissatisfaction with their bodies and expressing a desire to be thinner. I know this to be true as this is the same age I developed my own eating disorder.

Parents have a powerful influence on their children’s self-esteem and body image. It is crucial for parents to set a good example in regards to living a healthy lifestyle. They help children build a healthy body image and prevent excessive dieting and other destructive body image behaviors. These behaviors must start early as the earlier destructive behaviors begin, the harder they are to break as adults.

Here are some ways we can help our children:

  1. Watch what you say!

    As a parent, how do you talk about your own body? Do you criticize it? Would you talk to your friends the same way you talk to yourself about your own body? My guess is probably not. Chances are, if you did, you may not have many friends left. What is the value in hating your body? When you talk negatively about yourself in front of your children, you are giving them a very clear message that it’s acceptable to not like yourself. Children are like sponges. They hear everything and soak it all in.

  2. Educate your children about health, nutrition, and exercise.

    With all the information — and misinformation — out there about nutrition and exercise, how to eat and exercise for optimal health benefits can become very confusing! Teach your children the facts about health. Explain to them that body size is NOT necessarily an indicator of health. There are skinny people with thin bodies that are not healthy, and there are some bigger people who may be considered overweight but are in fact healthy. Body size does not determine health status.

  3. What’s in your house?

    What message are you sending to your children by what you have in the house? Do you have diet products and magazines of the latest fashion models lying around? Or do you have health and fitness magazines? Is your kitchen full of fresh fruits, vegetables, Nutrimeals and healthy snack bars that complement your message of eating well and living a healthy lifestyle? Make sure what is in your house also communicates the message you want to send to your children.

  4. Give your children a choice.

    Don’t ever try to force foods and activity on your children. Children should have a choice over their eating, activity, and control over their own bodies. Provide your children with a healthful selection of foods and let them make some decisions. Children have an amazing ability to self-regulate their diet. Trust me, they will never go hungry given a choice. When you attempt to control a child’s food intake you could impair the development of their normal eating habits, causing more harm than good.

  5. Help your children understand their bodies will change and grow.

    There is not one ideal body type. We are all different. People come in all different colors, shapes, and sizes. If you hear your child complain about being too fat, skinny, short, or tall, emphasize that there is no “ideal” way to look and no such thing as a “perfect” body. What’s most important is practicing a healthy lifestyle that includes consuming good nutrition and being physically active each and every day.

  6. Discourage your children from weighing themselves too often.

    What does a number on the scale mean? This number doesn’t tell you how healthy you are. It doesn’t tell you how much fat or how much lean muscle you have. It doesn’t tell you your blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Use the scale as a guide, but never weigh yourself or your children more than once a week. Obsession with the number on a scale can become very destructive very quickly. Focus on health — eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity on a regular basis. Forget about that digital number between your child’s feet.

  7. Be a fit role model.

    Monkey see, monkey do. Be a role model by promoting physical activity and exercise. If children see their parents happy, fit, enjoying life and having fun, they will want to be that way, too. Children, especially girls, who play sports or participate in regular physical activity tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, as well as healthier body images. Strong is now the new skinny. Show your children that fitness is fun. Be active together as a family. Have a family fun day, or take daily walks or bike rides together. This can also be a great time for some family bonding.

The absolute best thing you can do to help your children develop healthy habits and a healthy body image is to be happy with who you are. Accept yourself—no one is perfect. Promote a healthy lifestyle by engaging in regular physical activity and choosing nutritious food choices. Your family will follow your lead, and your children are much more likely to grow up happy and healthy."

Because Laughter Really IS Good Medicine...

In honor of back to school, I present:

Student Proverbs

A first grade teacher collected old, well known proverbs. She gave each child in her class the first half of a proverb, and had them come up with the rest:

As you shall make your bed so shall you..........mess it up.

Better to be safe than......................punch a 5th grader.

Strike while the ..............................bug is close.

It's always darkest before............daylight savings time.

You can lead a horse to water

Don't bite the hand that........................looks dirty.

A miss is as good as a...................................Mr.

You can't teach an old dog new.........................math.

If you lie down with the dogs, you'll..stink in the morning.

The pen is mightier than the...........................pigs.

An idle mind is.......................the best way to relax.

Where there's smoke, there's......................pollution.

Happy the bride who...................gets all the presents.

A penny saved is...................................not much.

Two's company, three's.......................the musketeers.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry have to blow your nose.

Children should be seen and not.........spanked or grounded.

When the blind leadeth the blind.........get out of the way.

What's New at

Low Glycemic Diet

Not only is eating a low glycemic diet the healthiest way to eat, it is truly the most effective AND, more importantly, permanent weight loss diet you could ever do.

Check out my new web page

Antioxidant Discussion Forums

Create your very own webpage on my site! (Don't worry- you don't need to know anything about how to do it. If you can type, done!) If you have an interesting story to share or have a comment or question about a topic on the site, you can post it right onto the website. Read about how others have been affected by antioxidants, make a comment on someone else's submission or post your own.

It's fun. It's free. And you don't have to register for anything.

Click here to post your own story, comment or question.

Nutrition News

Here are links to informative and/or interesting news articles on nutrition...

Vitamin D Supplements May Lower Risk Of Respiratory Problems In Kids

Foods That Elevate Moods

Walnuts May Improve Sperm Quality

Cocoa Compound May Help Lower Blood Pressure

Nutrition Of Young Children Linked To IQ In Later Years

Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think!

See you next month...

Good Health to You,

Kristy Russ, BScPharm
Pharmacist and Health Consultant

P.S. Give your body the best nutrition possible. You'll not only feel better now, but you'll also have that quality of life in the future that you've always imagined for yourself. Click here to find out more.

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