This time of year, after a month of decadent living, many adults decide we must change our ways. It’s the annual New Year’s resolution. A healthy lifestyle is often at the top of the list as we resolve to exercise more and lose weight.
Healthy living is just as important for children. Studies show that a child’s ability to succeed in school is directly impacted by social, emotional, cognitive and physical health. Improving your child’s health can help them to learn. So how about a resolution for kids, too?
We’ve got a simple one, thanks to a new initiative adopted by the Manchester School Readiness Council, called 9-5-2-1-0.
Follow the 9-5-2-1-0 guidelines to help your child make everyday healthy choices.
9 – Get at least 9 hours of sleep per day
Recent research has linked inadequate sleep with a higher risk for childhood obesity. Adolescents and teens should get at least 8.5 to 9.5 hours per day, and younger children should get more.
5 – Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
Eating five fruits and vegetables per day promotes good health, and may reduce consumption of unhealthy foods which contribute to unhealthy weight gain.
2 – Limit screen time to 2 hours or less outside of school
Higher volumes of screen time are linked to higher rates of obesity. Screen time may promote inactivity, snacking and decreased metabolism.
1 – Get at least 1 hour of physical activity per day
Physical activity has many health benefits, but research shows that most kids don’t get enough.
0 – Eliminate sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are empty calories that contribute to unhealthy weight gain and other health problems.
“These healthy choices, combined with regular visits to the doctor and dentist, are formulas that can help make 2013 a healthier year for every child,” said Judith Meyers, President and CEO of Child Health and Development Institute, or CHDI (www.chdi.org). CHDI works to improve the health, mental health and early care systems for children in Connecticut.
The Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance is a statewide advocacy organization working to ensure that all children are healthy, safe and ready for lifelong success. Visit us atearlychildhoodalliance.com.