As summer break begins, Intermountain Health experts give tips to make health a family habit.
It’s summer break which means more time with family but some unpredictable schedules. Experts at Intermountain LiVe Well Centers say it’s also a great opportunity for the entire family to refocus on healthy habits.
Research has shown when parents make healthy choices, their children will often follow by example.
Liz Joy, MD, senior medical director of wellness and nutrition at Intermountain Health, says the start of summer is a great time to set new health goals as a family. She suggests focusing on nutrition, sleep, and healthy habits.
One suggestion from the American Academy of Pediatrics is to follow the 5-2-1-0 rule which is meant to give easy reminders about daily healthy habits.
- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- 2 hours or less of screen time including TV, video games, or tablets
- 1 hour of physical activity per day
- 0 sugar sweetened drinks
“Parents can also be good role models by making physical activity and good eating habits the norm in their everyday lives,” said Dr. Joy. Including children in walks, playing sports, or even simple games like tag, can show a child the benefits of exercise.
Research has shown when children take part in the cooking, they are more likely to eat the healthy foods which they helped prepare. Dr. Joy also suggests parents can make things fun for kids while grocery shopping by creating a list of colorful fruits and vegetables to for a food rainbow.
Another important healthy habit families can adopt is getting the right amount of sleep and avoiding devices before bed. Sleep is an important part of our overall health and impacts every aspect of our health. “It’s a good idea to stop using devices with screens about an hour or two before bed,” said Dr. Joy. “It allows the brain to start to rest and can make getting to sleep easier.”
This is the recommended amount of sleep for each family member depending on age:
- Ages 4-12 months: 12-16 hours (including naps)
- Ages 1-2 years: 11-14 hours (including naps)
- Ages 3-5 years: 10-13 hours (including naps)
- Age 6-12 years: 9-12 hours
- Age 13-18 years: 8-10 hours
- Age 18+ : 7-9 hours
For more information on Intermountain’s LiVe Well program, click here.
About Intermountain Health
Headquartered in Utah with locations in seven states and additional operations across the western U.S., www.intermountainhealth.org is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division called SelectHealth with more than one million members, and other health services. Helping people live the healthiest lives possible, Intermountain is committed to improving community health and is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes at sustainable costs. For more information or updates, see https://intermountainhealthcare.org/news.