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In the last thirty years childhood obesity has more than doubled among U.S. children (ages 6–11) and quadrupled in adolescents (ages 12–19), putting American youth at greater risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke as they grow older. Because September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, here are two new studies spotlighting the importance of promoting good nutrition and lifestyle habits—plus several links to smart and simple tips for raising healthy kids!

Little Couch Potatoes Grow Up to Be Big Couch Potatoes
Researchers at University College London recently wrapped up a decades-long study in which they found that children who spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV tend to become adults who spend a lot of time sitting in front of the TV—a behavior known to contribute to obesity and obesity-related disease. After monitoring the viewing habits of more than 9,800 participants, they found that nearly 83 percent of 40-year-olds who watch more than three hours of TV daily had similar habits at age 10. This prompted experts to stress the importance of teaching kids about the benefits of physical activity for a healthy weight and overall wellness.

Learning to Like Certain Foods Starts Early
A new series of nutritional studies suggests childhood eating habits form during infancy, and parents should be aware that taste preferences for certain foods can take root even before little ones start walking. The combined results of more than 10 studies, published this month in the journal Pediatrics, show that eating patterns are set early in life—making it even more important for parents to promote healthy foods sooner rather than later. They recommend getting babies interested in fruit and vegetables by late infancy (between 10 and 12 months) and encourage parents to keep trying even when kids spit out certain foods, as repeated exposure often increases acceptance.

Parents and family members can check out our previous blogs for tips and advice on children’s health and nutrition:

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As summer comes to an end, kids across the country are loading up their backpacks with fresh supplies and heading back to school—but new notebooks and No. 2 pencils aren’t the only things they need for a successful school year. Good nutritional habits go a long way toward giving kids a healthy head start. Here are five important tips for parents!

Bring Back Breakfast
A wholesome breakfast gives kids the fuel they need to start their day and stay energized, and studies show that children who eat breakfast perform better in school and are less likely to have behavioral problems. Avoid sugary cereals and heavily processed pre-packaged breakfast foods, and opt instead for fiber-rich steel-cut oats, fresh fruits that are low in sugar, and lean protein sources such as eggs, plain Greek yogurt, and turkey bacon or sausage.

Keep them Active
Kids may be more active during the summer months, but a new study from Illinois University suggests parents should make regular exercise a priority all year long. Researchers found that the brain scans of physically fit kids showed more white matter—indicating a greater capacity for learning, memory and paying attention in the classroom. Sports and after-school activities are a great way to encourage exercise, and parents can even arrange meet-ups at the park or ball field to help children get active after a long day spent sitting at their desks.

Be Smart about Brown Bagging It
With school cafeterias under pressure to provide better nutrition, many parents are opting to brown bag it. However, a new study out of Tufts University shows that packed-at-home lunches often include sugary drinks and processed snacks and not enough fiber, protein and healthy dairy products. Choose plenty of low-sugar fruits and non-starchy veggies, along with lean protein sources such as plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and chicken or turkey slices. Other ideas include celery with low-sugar peanut butter, a handful of nuts, and baby carrots with hummus.

Make Sure They Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Research shows that children who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to have difficulty concentrating in the classroom. In addition, lack of sleep can contribute to mood swings, irritability and behavior problems during and after school. Most experts agree that school-age kids should get between 9 and 12 hours of sleep every night, so do your best to create (and stick to) a regular bedtime schedule to ensure they are getting a healthy amount of shut-eye.

Provide Essential Supplements
A healthy body begins with good digestion, so it’s important that children get the nutrients they need to digest their food properly and eliminate waste effectively and efficiently. Daily supplementation with fiber, probiotics and digestive enzymes can help kids get the nutritional support they need for a better digestion and overall health.‡ A daily probiotic supplement also promotes a healthy internal balance and can go a long way toward supporting healthy immune function during the school year, when children are exposed to daily challenges to their immune systems.‡

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.

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