Teaching Kids Healthy Habits

Parents can help their kids build healthy eating habits that last a lifetime. Find out how to encourage  kids to eat right and be active. Whether your child is overweight or not, it's never too early (or too late) to start teaching about eating right and living well. Small changes can make a big difference.

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DR. GALSON: When you boil it down, it has to do with understanding what a healthy diet is. Taking steps to help young people around you eat better. Numbers two, our kids should be getting at least an hour of physical activity every single day.

Woman: You have to start as a family, the core unit, and change everybody.
Change what you have in your house.

MAYA: I tried my hardest. I ate fruits. I tried new stuff, and I really thought the diet wasn't so bad after all.

KARI: It takes a lot of exposures to new foods before a child will really begin to like them. So you need to be patient with kids. And if they don't eat it, try it again the next week.

BAKER: When you have 60%, 65% of the adults that are overweight or obese telling young people to be active and eat healthy food, that comes off as a real mixed message. It's really important that the parents not only work with their children to identify ways to be healthy and active, but they have to live it alongside their children.

DR. GALSON: Blame is not productive. It isn't the fault of the parents, or the fault of our young people.

AARON: In eighth grade, I started to look at everything I ate. Like, where the calorie boxes were, on the bottom of the boxes. I'm, like, wow. Why am I eating that?

BAKER: Make sure that you're eating together as a family as much as you can, talking about what you're eating.

KARI: We're so used to eating food that is not necessarily nutritionally dense. When we work with kids, with families, even small changes--eating a little bit more vegetables, or substituting an apple for a bag of chips--those changes actually do make you physically different. And these are things that people actually will notice if they begin to pay attention.

TERRY: Pedometers cost nothing. $3.00, $4.00. And that's one way that I get my kids really moving their steps. I tell them everyday, be proud of your sweat.

DR. THOELE: Just find little ways to make changes. If you are used to having white bread and you change to whole grain bread, that's progress. I suggest that families think of it as a dimmer switch, so you try to turn up the healthy things in your life and turn down the unhealthy things.

GINNY: We engage young people across the country to talk to their peers, to really inspire their peers, to create art to use social networking, to use their natural skills to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Also, mobilize other young people to really take this on.

AUSTIN: We've added healthier lunches for our school. Well, we decided that, because every day it was something unhealthy. And because we're trying to get the world healthy, we might as well start with the school.

DR. GALSON: Every single young person and every single parent, every single sector in every single level in this country can have an impact. It's not going to get fixed overnight, but there are very encouraging signs that we can make a difference.