Passing on healthy habits to your children

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV)- Part of your responsibility as a parent is to teach your kids how to lead healthy lives, but in a society filled with junk food and video games, that can be tough.

Even before she had children, Nina Reiss considered herself to be extremely active.

"I'm also in the military part time so I also have to stay fit as well for the military," said Nina Reiss of North Little Rock.

A mom to two little girls, ages six and one, Reiss says working out and eating healthy became even more important after having children.

Every week she takes part in Stroller Strides, a stroller-based fitness program in North Little Rock designed for moms who want to work out with their little ones. Reiss says the class is a great way teach her daughters the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

"She'll try and do jumping jacks at home and she'll run around and dance and sing, so I think that has helped a lot," said Reiss. "Seeing your mom exercise, or seeing whoever exercise, and then staying engaged with that just projects a healthy body image, as well," said Reiss.

So how young is too young to address healthy habits with your kids without it becoming a weight issue? The internet is filled with opinions, but is there a right answer?

Dr. Ward, Pediatric Psychologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock says the earlier the better.

"I think you start from day one," said Dr. Ward. "Showing your child how to have a healthy lifestyle, by living one! That's probably the first place to start."

Just as parent pass down genes to their children, they pass on their habits - both the good and the bad.

"You can keep yourself from talking about your negative body image, but if its still there they are smart (and) they will pick up on it and it can still have harmful effects," said Dr. Ward.

Dr. Ward suggests encouraging healthy habits, like eating right, rather than focusing on weight.

"Giving the impression the food is bad can be really harmful. It's instead how much and how often you should have that kind of food," said Dr. Ward.

Dr. Ward suggests finding physical activities your kids enjoy, rather than forcing them to take part in a sport or activity they don't like. She also recommends eating healthy and being active as a family, rather than singling out one child and focusing on their weight issues.


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