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Childhood obesity is an epidemic in our country affecting more than 30 percent of adolescents. While that number may seem daunting, studies have found mother’s health habits have a significant impact on childhood obesity. Our goal as parents is to raise strong, healthy, thriving children and nurture over nature may have more of a hand in the health of our families than once thought.

Here are five behaviors that potentially affect the health of your family.

BMI

BMI or Body Mass Index is a combination of genetics and home environment and there is a strong correlation between a mother’s BMI and the risk of childhood obesity. Since BMI equates to a good measure of physical activity and diet, it’s one of the strongest predictors of childhood obesity.

Smoking

While this one may be a no-brainer, quitting smoking or never having smoked can greatly benefit your family’s health. Children of smokers are at a higher risk of picking up the habit and exposure to secondhand smoke has serious health consequences. When parents smoke, children are also more apt to be overweight or obese.

Alcohol Consumption

When a mother consumes a moderate amount of alcohol, which is defined as one drink per day, her children are less likely to be obese. The reasons aren’t totally understood, but it’s thought it may be because alcohol consumption falls under lifestyle choices, good or bad. The good news is if you are a light to moderate alcohol consumer, recent studies show that women who consume light to moderate amounts of alcohol gained less weight over the course of 13 years than non-drinkers. We’ll drink to that!

Physical Activity

The connection with this one is simple, mothers who are active encourage their children to be active. Active moms might spend more time engaging in activities with their kids such as biking, swimming, jumping rope, etc. It’s also thought that mothers who prioritize exercise are also more inclined to register their children for organized activities like soccer or basketball.

Diet

Cooking healthy meals at home will ensure you and your family are getting proper nutrition, leading to a healthier lifestyle. Eating together at the dinner table is a great way to connect and encourage healthy habits that stick. And keep the snacks in check. Some studies show kids get as much as 30% of their calories from packaged snacks which can be laden with excess sugar, not to mention spoil their appetite for a healthy meal. Swap those unhealthy snacks with a piece of fruit and make sure to include whole grains and veggies as a staple in your family’s diet.

Ultimately, leading by example with healthy habits is the best way to ensure that you set the groundwork for your family to thrive.

We love to invite your families out for a Friends and Family workout on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s one of the few times we invite the boys to come play with us too. Be sure to sign up for the Holiday Boot Camp workout on Friday, Thurs 27th at 9 am at Civita.