We all care about our kids and want to be as healthy as possible. But sometimes making a change can be difficult. Making small changes over time is one way that many of our kids and their families have been able to make these changes last over time.
If at First You Don’t Succeed…
The healthy tips we share with you could be worth considering or trying. Some will work, some may not, but just trying is all that counts. Trying something and having it not go exactly as planned is not a failure! Because that experience will give you more information that will help you be more successful with other changes.
A great system of goals to consider when making healthy changes are the 5-2-1-Almost None goals.
- “5” stands for eat five or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
- “2” stands for spending no more than two hours in front of a screen (TV, video games, recreational computer time).
- “1” stands for getting at least one hour of physical activity per day.
- For the “Almost None” goal, try to drink almost no sugary beverages (like soda and sports drinks).
At the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity, we’ll break down each of those goals to give you a number of options or ways to try to make small changes to reach these goals. Similar to a menu at a restaurant, not every change will work for everyone, so from the lists to come, pick one that you think will work. And please don’t feel that you need to reach all of these goals overnight. These will take time and that is fine!
Starting with Easy Steps
It can be hard to know where to start when there are so many changes you want to make. One tip is to look for small, easy steps you can take. For example, one great website is www.naturerocks.org, where you can enter your zip code and the website will then show you the many parks located in your neighborhood. It will also list fun events occurring locally where you can get outside and have some fun!
Some changes can be expensive, but many things are free. Trying to drink a little more water and a little less soda or juice, going on a family trip to a local park on the weekend or walking with your friend or child in the evening don’t cost anything at all!
Getting Help from Your School
All public schools should have a school health committee. These are great places to learn how you can get involved in improving the health of your school and also are a great way to learn about other local opportunities. Each school district also has a School Health Advisory Council. This is a public group that advises the school district. These councils would love for you to attend and participate through sharing your thoughts.
For Austin ISD, the School Health Advisory Council meets the first Wednesday of the month at the AISD Board Room. A free light meal is served at 6 p.m. and then the meeting runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. I’ll be there and it would be great to meet you there too!
Stephen Pont, MD, MPH, FAAP
Medical Director, Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity
Medical Director, Children’s/Austin ISD Student Health Services