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Friday, February 3, 2023

5 ways to be healthy—with your kids

Whenever we admonish our kids to “Eat your vegetables!” “Get up from bed already!” and “Put that gadget down now!” for the nth time, how many of us catch ourselves thinking that we should be doing the same? 


“Children are likely to develop and maintain healthy habits in an environment where these healthy habits are seen and practiced regularly,” says Rosario P. Paguntalan, MD, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics of the top hospital in the Philippines, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed)


Take the lead in ingraining these five healthy practices: 


Eat better. “Make changes gradually during mealtime,” shares Dr. Paguntalan. “Replace pork and beef with chicken, fish, and seafood, and look for recipes that incorporate vegetables into dishes. Plant-based meat substitutes are also available in the market today, and can be used as alternative protein sources.” Even little tweaks make a huge difference.


Be active. If you’re looking for a reason to start exercising, why not make your family your motivation? “By getting fit, you can live long enough to see your kids’ kids,” she stresses. “Even 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day for five days a week has a positive impact on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.” 


Limit technology. “Establish a no-gadgets schedule in the family. During mealtimes, keep phones and tablets away from the dinner table,” suggests Dr. Paguntalan. “Or spend a few gadget-free hours together listening to each other talk about how your day went. The hours away from tech can help you and your kids encourage bonding. A solid and comfortable parent-child bond contributes to good mental health for all parties concerned.”   


Get a checkup. Sure, you’re on top of your kids’ pediatrician and dental appointments—but when was the last time you had an annual physical exam? “Again, make your children your reason for staying healthy,” points out the doctor. “When you see your family physician regularly for a checkup—and not only when you’re feeling ‘off’ or experiencing symptoms—it’s your way of assuring your kids that you’ll be around for a long time.”  


Have a healthy attitude. How you deal with stress, disappointment, success, or affection from your spouse and children, and other circumstances in life sets an example for your children to follow. “If they see you behaving consistently towards, say, a bad situation by lashing out in anger or shirking from responsibility, that’s what they’ll do too,” Dr. Paguntalan explains. “Conversely, if they see you face challenges head-on with a positive, can-do mindset, they’ll do the same. Overall good health and well-being can only happen at home when you initiate it, and your kids see the benefits of living this way.”  


For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email, or visit  Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter

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