Raising Healthy Children: What the Experts Say

Raising Healthy Children:  What the Experts Say

I had the pleasure of presenting at the Vancouver Wellness Show this past weekend.  The topic was "Top 10 Ways to Keep Children Healthy".  I will provide my top 10 list in the near future, however today I want to focus on the behind-the-scenes stuff that got me up on that stage.  More specifically I want to draw your attention to the individuals - my colleagues - that were gracious enough to offer their expertise and input - all of which was ESSENTIAL to my presentation.

I can say without hesitation that these are some of the brightest and innovative minds on the planet when it comes to youth fitness.  Here is what they had to say about the best ways to keep children healthy.

David Kitner (Youth Fitness Guy), School Fit
  1. Parents be active role models for their kids,
  2. Allow time for kids to play and have fun,
  3. Be active as a family on a regular basis

Follow him! @youthfitnessguy

Donovan Owens, CEO of Free Thinking Renegades

Silent Leadership - changing and living by example. If you were unable to speak what would your actions show?

Kwame M. Brown, PhD, Creator of "Move Theory Child Development" and "The FUNction Method"

  1. Don't make being physically active about "force" or a "have to". Make it about enjoyment, and zest for life. If you children see that example in you, this will go much further than making sure there is an exercise schedule.
  2. Same with food. Concentrate not on eating vegetables because you have to. Concentrate on how great they taste to you
  3. Start early - VERY early. Stay active while your child is in the womb. Then when she or he comes out into the world - PLAY WITH YOUR CHILD! Look upon their reflexive and playful movements with wonderment and joy from the beginning! Ensure that babies have plenty of tummy time, and plenty of space to move as they grow. Don't put them in swings and walkers.
  4. As your children grow older, show them many different ways to move - not just what mommy and daddy like and are comfortable with.
  5. Don't equate movement ONLY with competitive sports, or dedicated programs. These are fine, and sometimes even great, but not the end all be all
  6. Remember that God put nature here. It wasn't put here to be our playground, but it sure does make a nice one! Get outside with your family! Consistent exposure to nature has been shown to alleviate ADHD symptoms AND depression!
  7. Don't concentrate on praising talent - acknowledge and expand on interests that emanate naturally from your children! CELEBRATE these interests, and show your interest in what they like by asking them to tell you more. By asking them what they love about it (but don't overkill)
  8. Leave them alone. I know that sounds funny - we're supposed to be educating them, right? But sometimes, adult "involvement" in play can actually be restrictive. So don't look at this as your show. Sometimes, wait to be invited. But if your kids are playing fine on their own, just spend some time lettin' em go!

Follow Him!  @drkmbrown

Eric Chessen, Owner of "Autism Fitness

  1. Balance structured learning with independent exploration
  2. If you cannot have fun teaching it, find someone else who can (everything from math to weighted overhead walks)
  3. Junk food: If it is not in the house, they have less access to it. No kid is born with a Cheetos addiction
  4. Be an example. My friend Rob Decilis has a 2-year old daughter who walks around the house deadlifting her toys. Why? Because she sees Daddy doing it and it's fun.

Dave Gleason, Owner of Athletic Revolution South Shore

Fun, fun and more fun via access to activities, movements and games. As much possible allow the kids to take creative ownership over their movement(s).

Take Home Points

When brilliant minds come together there is often agreement with different twists.  The connective tissue seems to be;

  • Keep it FUN.  Fun, fun and more fun!
  • Role model healthy living - right from the get-go!
  • Gently introduce - rather than force
  • Incorporate a variety of physical stimulus - both free play and structured activity.

If you have any questions about how to keep your children healthy, or are looking into youth conditioning programs in the Vancouver, BC area, feel free to contact me!