Health Watch: 5 ways to guide your family to better health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your zip code is a greater predictor of your health than your genetic code. It not only impacts access to healthy foods, but also your ability to stay active. While it may be difficult to believe, millions living in underserved communities struggle to feed their families healthy meals and keep their kids active without the help of school-provided meals and activities.
“Here at the Aetna Foundation, we are working to make healthy foods readily available, accessible and affordable for more people across the country,” said Garth Graham, M.D., MPH, president of the Aetna Foundation.
These quick tips from the Aetna Foundation are designed to encourage people and help them find affordable nutritious foods and easy and fun ways to get and stay physically active.
1. Visit your local farmer’s market. Take advantage of all the choices of fresh fruits and vegetables being picked and shared by local farmers. In many parts of the country, markets operate year-round, and the USDA National Farmers Market Directory is a great place to start. Many also accept SNAP benefits.
2. Look for a community garden in your neighborhood. The American Community Gardening Association is a good resource to help find a community garden near your home. Introducing kids to a wide range of freshly grown produce piques their interest and expands their knowledge about nutritious fresh food options.
3. Let your kids pick. Get your kids excited about trying fresh fruits and vegetables by taking them shopping with you and allowing them to pick out new produce to try, whether you’re at the farmer’s market, grocery or corner store.
4. Cook together. Whether you share your own culinary knowledge or seek out a cooking class geared toward kids in your community, inviting kids to take part in preparing nutritious meals and snacks is a good way to get them enthusiastic about better-for-you food choices.
Studies show as few as 25 percent of children ages 5 to 14 wear their helmets when riding their bikes, and that very few teenagers opt to wear a helmet when cycling. Make sure to talk with your children about wearing their helmet: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a bicycle helmet can reduce your child’s risk of brain and head injuries by as much as 88 percent. If your child is roller skating or skateboarding, it’s also important to make sure they wear appropriate pads for their elbows, knees and wrists.