Healthy Kids Tiffaney Isaacson

I am one of those annoying people - you know, the ones who love the fresh start of a new year, and always make resolutions. The clean slate, the new possibilities, it's exciting to me. I've seen the eye rolls and heard the deep sighs of those who think it's silly, but I find turning the calendar from one year to the next invigorating.

One of the best resolutions parents can make are those related to our own health. Magazine covers and news shows this month are full of headlines about diet and exercise goals. Meanwhile, gourmet cupcakes at the bakery and fast-food restaurants pull us off track. We have to dig-in, find the determination to eat better and get more exercise, because we know it's good for us.

So, tell me, do your health-related resolutions focus on your kids as well?

When it comes to our kids, we might vow to finally clean their closets, take them to that museum they've been begging to see, or get serious about improving math grades. But their health should be the top priority, especially when you consider how widespread and serious obesity has become in children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five children ages 5 to 11 is obese. For Hispanic boys in the same age range, the statistics are even worse - one in three. Obese children are likely to become obese adults, which puts them at risk for serious health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

"OK," you're thinking, "she's telling me things I already know. What am I supposed to do about it? They love cupcakes, and fast-food is too convenient to pass by some days."

One of the best programs at Phoenix Children's can help. The "Kohl's Kids Rock Stars" program is a fun, engaging way to get kids active. New web-based programming helps parents and teachers make exercise fun, encourage healthy behaviors, and bring the whole family together.

It's genius, really. You start one step at a time, achieving realistic goals in increasing activity and learning nutrition tips along the way. The more you accomplish, the more encouragement you get, and the bigger the goals you want to pursue. Soon you're achieving a balance of exercise and healthy eating, keeping the junk food to a minimum, and you can start eyeballing that mess in the closet.

How can you get started? At home, today, write these goals down and share them with your family:

• My kids will have 60 minutes of active play, each and every day.

• We will limit screen time, including computer, TV, and smart phones, to two hours or less every day.

• Our plates will be at least half fruits and vegetables, and no more than 1/4 grains, and 1/4 protein.

• Sign up for the Kohl's Kids Rock Stars program!

That's reasonable, right?

You've just outlined the specifics of your New Year's resolution to create strong kids: Mix activity and healthy eating.

For more information and tips, visit

Tiffaney Isaacson is the injury prevention coordinator at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Reach her at (602) 546-1712.

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