Healthy Lifestyle

Healthy Family

KEEPING your family spiritually, emotionally, academically and physically healthy is a year-round, often lifelong proposition. But it takes on even more meaning during the months when the children are out of school, the weather heats up and the "lazy" days of summer roll in. Never, in fact, has it been more important to protect your physical health as well as the health of your children. Recent studies show that obesity rates among Black children and adolescents have nearly doubled in the last 20 years. It's estimated now that one out of seven children aged 6 to 19 is overweight or obese, which is defined as 20 percent over your maximum desirable body weight. One solution, experts say, is for children to become more active. And the best way for parents to help with that is to get active with them. "The family should work out together at least two times a week and exercise consistently," says Reggie Bryant, a personal trainer at Fitness Image Inc. Training Center in downtown Chicago. "And children can build on that for the rest of their lives." Food experts say that parents hold the key to good health and nutrition. It's important, they say, for the spiritual and physical health of Black families to plan and share family meals. It's also important, specialists say, for families to avoid overreliance on fast-food outlets. "The things that we choose to eat--collard greens, sweet potatoes and the like--are healthy, but it's the extra fats and sodium that we add to those foods that aren't so healthy," says Sharon Cox of Dallas, president of the National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition. "And we don't move enough to burn up the calories that we do consume."

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