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Fit families fight obesity together

One out of every three U.S. adults is obese and one out of every three U.S. children is overweight. Studies indicate these statistics are likely to rise. Practicing prevention can help keep your family from being a part of these statistics. Here are four tips on how to make it a family affair.

Teach by example. Start by setting healthy eating behaviors and boundaries for your children. Your children, especially younger kids, will watch what you eat. Studies show that parents who routinely overindulge or obsessively diet are more likely to raise kids who struggle with food and weight issues later in life. Break the cycle.

Bring back sit-down family dinners. They are more than nostalgic — one study found that that family dinners create healthier, happier children. "The magic that happens at family dinners isn't the food on the table, but the conversations around it. Teens that have frequent family dinners are almost three times as likely to have an excellent relationship with their mother and father. And they are more likely to attend religious services weekly," according to Joseph Califano in the his study The Importance of Family Dinners. Reconnect with your family after a long day. And use the time as a teaching opportunity, showing them what healthy food choices look like.

Keep a positive attitude. Your outward reactions toward food or family members, like picky eaters, can create stress or emotional issues with food. Experts estimate that 75% of overeating is caused by emotions. Positive reinforcement — like praise, not food — can help develop healthy eating habits.

Play and have fun together. After dinner and clean-up chores, go outside and play with your kids – basketball, football, soccer. Sedentary lifestyles can lead to obesity and metabolic disorders, among other health issues. Ask your kids what playful, physical fitness activity they want to do tonight.

GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention welcomes the opportunity to share this general information. However, this article is not intended to be relied upon as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.