NORWALK, Conn., Sept. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Raising healthy children involves active parenting, nutritious meals, regular exercise and proper medical care.
"Take special care to be sure your child exercises regularly," said Peggy Fleming, Olympic figure skating champion and HealthSaver spokesperson. "An active lifestyle ensures that your child maintains strong bones and prevents disease."
Good nutrition is also vital to your child's overall health. Studies show that children with healthy eating habits also have more energy and higher self-esteem.
A pediatrician's care is also essential to your child's development and the prevention and detection of disease. "Make the most of each visit," said Brad Eggleston, vice president of HealthSaver. "Ask questions about your child's health and inform the doctor of all appropriate health information."
As a healthy parent, you can teach your child the importance of health by example. When children learn to love exercise and nutritious food, they also learn that being healthy means being happy.
Encourage Kids to Stay Active
-- Exercise helps prevent or delay the development of disease, builds
healthy bones and controls weight. In order to stay healthy, the U.S.
Department of Health recommends children stay physically active for one
hour each day. Studies show, however, that only 36 percent of American
adolescents meet this physical requirement.
-- Studies also show that support from family tends to increase a child's
physical activity. Involve your child in physical activities you can
enjoy as a family. Plan a bike ride at your local park, a basketball
game at the gym or a swim in a nearby lake. The time spent together
will strengthen your bond and help keep each of you fit.
-- If a busy schedule leaves less time for structured exercise,
incorporate physical activity into your child's daily routine.
Designate active chores such as yard work, taking out the trash and
walking the dog, all of which will also help teach your child
-- American children watch an average of three hours of television every
day. Limit such sedentary activities to help keep kids on their feet
and prevent inactive lifestyles.
Teach Your Children to Eat Right
-- Studies show that children who share family meals are more likely to do
well in school, less likely to smoke, and tend to eat more fruits and
-- Children are also more likely to eat what they help prepare. Give your
child tasks such as measuring, mixing or setting the table.
-- Desserts, pizza and snacks constitute one third of American children's
diets. Encourage your kids to eat a variety of foods to ensure they
consume the nutrients they need. If your child is a picky eater, make
food fun: cut apples into shapes with cookie cutters or serve carrots
with peanut butter.
-- Approximately 80 percent of American children do not eat the
recommended five or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
These nutrient-rich foods provide children with essential vitamins and
minerals at a critical time of growth. Aim for two cups of fruit and
two and a half cups of vegetables per day. Try basing meals around
vegetables, then serve fruit as dessert.
-- The number of overweight children has more than doubled in the past
three decades, resulting in a higher risk for diabetes, heart disease
and certain cancers. Along with exercise and appropriate portions,
proper food choices - such as more whole grains - can help reduce your
child's risk of type 2 diabetes, a disease that the U.S. Department of
Health calls the "first consequence" of the obesity epidemic.
-- Keep healthy snacks readily available in the kitchen and your car for
on-the-go hunger. Pretzels and dried fruit are great choices.
Doctor Knows Best
-- Regular visits give your child's doctor an opportunity to help prevent
and detect disease. Vaccines and immunizations also protect your
-- Inform your pediatrician of your child's family's medical history,
including diseases and conditions. This will alert the physician to
any risk factors that may affect your child's health. Also be sure to
tell the doctor about your child's medications and any allergies or
-- The most common childhood chronic disease is tooth decay. Schedule
dental checkups twice a year to help prevent cavities. Oral health can
also reveal information about your child's overall health.
Forcing a healthy habit may only serve to discourage your child. Instead, take small steps toward change: add a vegetable to dinner, sign your child up for a new sport, take fewer trips to the drive-thru. Instilling such habits now will secure a bright future. With your encouragement, your children will ease into a lifestyle that will leave them healthier and happier.
HealthSaver, an emerging health care discount program, offers savings on prescriptions, vision care, complementary and alternative health care treatments, vitamins and supplements by mail and more than 1,500 fitness clubs nationwide, including select Bally Total Fitness, World Gym and Ladies Workout Express locations.
HealthSaver offers discounts of 20 percent on vision care, as well as discounts of 10 to 50 percent on prescriptions at participating pharmacies, 20 percent off complementary and alternative health care treatments and fitness club benefits. HealthSaver also offers discounts of 10 to 35 percent on dental care services at some 42,000 participating provider locations nationwide, including routine cleanings, X-rays, fillings, orthodontics, and even popular cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening. Members can also save from 5 to 50 percent off vitamins and supplements by mail. Discounts are based upon reasonable and customary costs or manufacturers suggested retail price (MSRP) and are only available from participating providers. HealthSaver is not an insurance product or service. More information about HealthSaver is available online at http://www.healthsaver.com or toll free by calling 1-800-7HEALTH (1-800-743-2584). A one month trial membership in HealthSaver (http://www.healthsaver.com or 1-800-743-2584) costs $1 and can be canceled anytime during the trial period. Unless the member calls to cancel during the trial, membership will be extended automatically and billed to a credit card number at the $149.99 annual fee. Members may call toll free to cancel at any time and receive a refund of the unused portion of their current year's fee. HealthSaver is offered by Affinion Group, a leader in the membership, insurance and loyalty marketing businesses, providing products and services that touch the lives of millions of Americans.
About Affinion Group
Affinion Group is a leading affinity direct marketer of value-added membership, insurance and package enhancement programs and services to consumers. With more than 30 years of experience, Affinion Group currently offers its programs and services worldwide through more than 5,200 affinity partners. Its diversified base of affinity partners includes leading companies in a wide variety of industries, including financial services, retail, travel, telecommunications, utilities and Internet. Affinion Group also has a growing loyalty solutions operation which administers points-based loyalty programs. Based in Norwalk, Conn., Affinion Group has approximately 3,000 employees throughout the United States and in 14 countries across Europe. Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Peggy Fleming http://profnet.prnewswire.com/Subscriber/ExpertProfile.aspx?ei=57424
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