Generational Healthy Eating Habits

by Dr. Regina Campbell

How do I break the cycle of generational detrimental health habits?

foods-for-weight-lossIs there such a thing as generational health habits or proclivities? Yes, I have observed over the years how one generation passes on habits to one generation to another. For instance a family generation proclivity of obtaining higher education can be passed on to one generation to the next. If parents obtained their higher education then the likely hood their children would pursue their higher education. This principle applies when it comes to healthy eating habits, conditions and tendencies.

So the question becomes what is in your family history that has been passed on to you and your family. When you were raised if you family meals consisted of certain foods groups it is more likely that you have passed those traditions to your family. I encourage you to exam what traditions you are passing on to your children and determine if those traditions are detrimental or beneficial to your family’s health.

Here are excerpts from Dr. Susan Blumenthal’s article on How Healthy Are Today’s Young Adults?
“Despite their unbounded optimism as the Millennial generation comes of age, they face a number of serious health threats, including high rates of suicide, homicide, motor vehicle accidents, substance use, sexually transmitted infections and dramatically increasing obesity rates. The Millennial generation is the first to see rising rates of early-onset obesity-related diseases. In fact, the proportion of young adults between 18 and 29 years of age who are obese has more than tripled in the past forty years, from 8 percent in 1971-1974 to 24 percent in 2005-2006. Today’s young people have also experienced a significant drop in physical activity in school as compared to their parents’ generation. Almost two-thirds of young adults do not engage in regular leisure-time physical activity and three-quarters don’t report participating in semi-weekly strength training recommended by the federal government. In this age group, 18 percent of young women and 12 percent of young men reported at least one of six serious health conditions in 2004-2006, with a full 4-5 percent reporting overall fair or poor health due to a chronic health condition. Furthermore, the obesity epidemic is rapidly becoming a national security issue, as 27 percent of young adults today are unable to meet the physical requirements to join the military. In fact, the military loses 12,000 young men and women each year before the recruits even finish the first term of enlistment because they are unable to maintain the medical requirements. As a result of the obesity epidemic, this generation may not be as healthy or live as long as their parents.”
If you are a parent what eating habits have you passed on to your children?

Tips for fostering beneficial healthy habits that you can pass on to your children; most important these tips are not for the child only but for the entire family. If the entire family partakes in this regimen then it is fostering healthy habits for the child and the generations to come.
1. Limit your child or children sugar intake (candy, sweet, sugary drinks, etc…) For example you can permit 1 candy bar per week or just on the weekend; or all together substitute candy with fresh fruit
2. Limit your child or children soda intake
3. Limit your child or children food consumption
4. Prepare healthy meals (protein, colorful vegetables, whole grain starch such as rice); limit the pieces of bread you permit your child to have
5. Make sure your child or children have at least one fruit per day
6. Make sure your child or children drink water with all meals
7. Make sure your child or children participate in physical activities

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