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Too much time spent watching TV and playing on their tablets instead of exercising may be damaging to our children’s health, according to new information from researchers at the University of Finland’s Institute of Biomedicine.

Using data from the ongoing physical activity and nutrition in children (PANIC) study initiated in 2007, scientists found that low levels of physical activity combined with heavy electronic media use translates to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and certain vascular diseases in young children. Not only that, but even in kids who were more physically active, more time spent engrossed in electronics was found to have adverse health effects. Poor eating habits were also linked to increased diabetes risk.

In type 2 diabetes the body fails to use insulin properly, resulting in high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Because new research shows children as young as four years old have been found to have blood sugar problems (a precursor to type 2 diabetes), parents are encourage to teach kids about nutrition, healthy eating habits, and the importance of physical activity and a healthy body weight. Here are four simple things you can do every day:

  1. Set the example. When your kids see you making healthier choices, they will want to do the same. Keep junk food out of the house, and encourage healthy snacking on low-sugar fruits, non-starchy veggies, low-fat dairy products, healthy fats and lean protein. Most importantly, get rid of sugar! Your kids don’t need it, and neither do you.
  2. Make exercise a priority. Research shows regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.i CDC guidelines call for 60 minutes or more of physical exercise daily for children and adolescents, so let’s get active!
  3. Set limits on TV & electronic media time. A recent Kaiser Foundation study found that kids and teens between the ages of 8 and 18 spend more than seven hours a day using electronic media.ii Instead of giving kids free reign over how much time they spend in front of the tube, surfing the web, or tapping away on their tablets or cell phones, establish some solid ground rules and stick to them.

Make healthy snacking simple. At the beginning of each week, cut up plenty of fruits and veggies and keep kid-size portions in the fridge for easy snacking. The same goes for good protein sources such as turkey slices, nuts and nut butters, and low-fat plain Greek yogurt, since protein is important for growing bodies and will help keep your child’s appetite satisfied throughout the day.

i http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/physicalactivity/facts.htm

ii http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/8010.pdf

Written by Renew Life

Established in 1997, Renew Life is the leading natural digestive care and cleansing company in America and the recipient of numerous industry awards for product quality, purity and efficacy. Led by co-founder and renowned digestive care and nutrition expert Brenda Watson C.N.C., the Renew Life community of health-minded educators is committed to empowering consumers with knowledge necessary to achieve and maintain vibrant, lasting health. Sign up today to receive Brenda’s Healthy Living eNewsletter full of do-it-yourself tips, recipes, and exclusive offers!

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