Make Getting Healthy a Fun, Family Event!

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Written by Jennifer Weber, Director of Healthy Way to Grow at the American Heart Association 

It’s a health-conscious world out there and chances are you’re one of the many who wants to join the movement, but getting those around you involved can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. We all have busy schedules and the thought of changing our day-to-day can be enough to make even the most motivated health-seeker turn and run the other way. Not to mention the potential expense.

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The beauty of it is, it doesn’t have to be that difficult (or costly). Enter the Life is Why Family Health Challenge™.  This September, parents and kids can work together to make healthy (fun!) choices that will lead them down the heart-healthy road. (Reality check: about one in three kiddos in America is considered overweight or obese. Making smarter choices as a family is the first step to lowering this number.)

Each week in September will have a different Health Challenge. The American Heart Association, the brains behind the challenge, has complete details available online, but here’s a rundown of what to expect:

  • Week 1 – Eat more fruits and veggies. Yes, we all know this one, but it can be the first thing we toss out the window.
    • Family Challenge tip: let each family member pick out their favorite fruit or vegetable to add to the shopping cart. For the adventurous, have everybody pick something they haven’t tried before. 
  • Week 2 – Stay away from sugary beverages. Eating and drinking a lot of added sugar is one probable cause of the obesity epidemic in the U.S. Steer your family in the right directions and fill those glasses with water (or low-fat milk) instead.
    • Family Challenge tip: get creative and flavor your water with fresh fruit. You know, because you’ll always have plenty on hand after successfully completing the first week of the challenge.
  • Week 3 – Steer clear of salt. The majority of us consume more than twice the amount of salt recommended by the AHA.
    • Family Challenge tip: cook with fresh herbs instead of dried mixes that are often heavy on sodium. Or try swapping packaged lunch meats for grilled chicken breast.
  • Week 4 – Get up and move! After rocking through the first three weeks, chances are you and your family will have a little extra energy by week four. Incorporating physical activity into your schedule is a great way to use up that energy.
    • Family Challenge tip: Have a jumping jack contest, go on an “I spy” walk around the neighborhood or see who can catch the family pet first.

The idea is that by making these four changes easy (and fun), you and your family will feel good about making healthy decisions for years to come. And, because we all need a little extra support sometimes, the AHA has taken to its Facebook page and created an event with free tools and resources to help you complete the challenge successfully. Joining the event will not only put everything you need right at your fingertips, but it will make you and your family part of a nation-wide community committed to making heart-healthy choices and ending childhood obesity. Now that’s something to get excited about.

Share this with your networks using the sample tweet below:

Don’t miss out; join the Family Health Challenge™ now! Track your progress & share your success! http://bit.ly/1Lgb3NH #LifeisWhy

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