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Family Healthy Habits: 9-5-2-1-0

Try these numbers to best refresh your family’s healthy habits in the new year.

9 - This is the number of hours of sleep children and teens should get each day. For adults, at least 7-9 hours is recommended. Loss of sleep can lead to fatigue with difficulty concentrating at what you are doing. This also leads to increased snacking as your body gets energy from other sources.

5 - Aim to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is associated with lower rates of obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. A serving of fruit is ½ cup, or 1 medium piece, such as an apple, or ¼ cup of dried fruit. A serving of vegetables is 1 cup raw or ½ cup cooked.

2 - Limit screen time to two or less hours per day. This includes TV, phones, computers, and video games. Children who spend more time on screens have a higher risk for obesity because they are sitting more and may be snacking or eating while they are on those screens. They would also have trouble falling asleep or have an irregular sleep schedule; tend to be less active and spend less time in active, creative play.

1 - Set aside at least one hour a day for physical activity each day. Not only does physical activity benefit children now, but it also sets the foundation for a lifetime of fitness and good health. Children who get regular exercise have lower levels of depression and stress, and higher levels of positive self-image. Exercise also is linked to better thinking skills, which leads to improved behavior, attention, and academic performance.

0 - It is recommended that kids consume no sugary beverages in a day. This includes soda, fruit drinks, sports, and energy, which should be an occasional treat, not a daily part of their diet. Increased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with cavities and excessive weight gain. Instead, drink water, sugar-free flavored water, and skim milk.

Ref: Accessed December 2022

The article written above is for informational and educational purposes only. For serious medical and health concerns, please consult a licensed health provider.