Emotional health is an important part of overall health.
One of the first steps to improving the physical and mental wellbeing of your child is increasing the amount of physical activity in your daily routine.
Between the age of 5 to 18 years, kids should be trying to do at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Start slowly – this doesn’t need to be done all in one go. You can break it up into smaller chunks of activity throughout the day and still get all the benefits.
Physical should range from moderate activity, such as cycling and playground activities, to vigorous activity, such as running and tennis. You could start by joining a local Health Walk if there’s one in your area.
As well as improving your child’s overall physical fitness and helping them to maintain a healthy weight, being more active can have the following benefits:
- Helps them to feel more energetic
- Improves sleep quality
- Boosts their mood
- Reduces feelings of stress
- Increases their self-esteem
At MoreLife we deliver healthy lifestyle programmes for children and their families, and we always encourage the whole family to be involved. Even if a sibling in the family doesn’t struggle with their weight, everyone can benefit from eating healthier and doing more physical activity.
Most importantly, having a strong social support network has a huge impact on emotional health and wellbeing. This is as true for children as it is for adults. Going through a lifestyle change as a family means your child feels more supported, and has a much higher chance of maintaining their new healthy lifestyle.
At OneLife Suffolk, we provide this through interactive programmes aimed at teens and families. By combining physical activity and games with educational activities, we try to make reaching and maintaining a healthy weight fun for all the family.
Commit to a Healthier Diet
The food we eat plays an important part in how we feel – physically and emotionally.
A balanced diet helps us to maintain a healthy weight, improves our mood, and gives us more energy. Eating regular meals and healthy snacks, as well as drinking more water, can also improve our concentration and help us think more clearly. It’s a win-win!
However, food is there to be enjoyed, even when you or your child is trying to lose weight. Try to make mealtimes stress free and fun so that your child learns to have a healthy relationship with food. Here’s some practical dietary advice to help get you started.
Help Stop the Stigma
We work closely with researchers from Leeds Beckett University to help stop weight stigma and discrimination.
Weight stigma can have wide ranging and often very serious effects, particularly on the mental health of children with overweight and obesity. The repercussions can last well into adulthood and often fuel unhealthy cycles of behaviour.
You can help your child by understanding that weight issues have several complex causes, avoiding unhelpful comments and not playing the ‘blame game’.
Sometimes children find it hard to talk about how they are feeling so emotions may lead to eating or acting out. Encourage your child to tell you how they are feeling and try to find ways you can help manage their emotions together.
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