Summertime, Kids, and Healthy Lifestyles

Leah, Project Manager on May 31, 2016

Ahh, summertime.

Evenings are long, kids are outside and there’s more time for families to spend together--playing, riding bikes or trying new games and sports.

But as the summer holiday season approaches its end, and kids return to school, busy schedules and jam-packed routines can get in the way of families spending quality time together. In addition, the abundance and temptation of screens that kids seem to gravitate to, can mean that families spend less time engaging in healthy behaviours like physical activity and family meals.

Programs like MEND, which stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!, help keep families on track to continue their healthy lifestyles into the fall. This fun, free 10-week program helps children ages 7 to 13 and their families learn how to make healthy choices together.

During the MEND program, children and their parents or caregivers participate in group sessions that include a fun mix of interactive family activities, practical demonstrations, games, tips about physical activity, healthy foods, label reading, portion sizes and tools for adopting an overall healthier lifestyle.

Struggling with picky eating? MEND has trained leaders to support parents to navigate challenges and learn from each other. Feel like your children have too much screen time? MEND has exercise leaders to help your kids get more active and encourage them to participate in activities away from screens.

The program is designed to help families make safe, effective and long-lasting changes by improving physical activity levels, nutrition and self-esteem. MEND is available at local YMCA and community recreation centres throughout the province, and also offers families free recreation passes upon completion of the program. To learn more about the MEND program, locations, or how to register, visit Fall registration is happening now!

In the meantime, what can you do this summer to ensure your household is setting a good foundation of healthy habits early on?

Know the risk factors that contribute to chronic disease and unhealthy weights:

  • consuming food and drinks that are high in sugar, sodium and fat on a regular basis such as fast food, salty snack foods, and pop and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • not being physically active every day
  • being sedentary (e.g. watching a lot of TV and playing a lot of video games)

Know the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity:

  • performing better at school
  • having better sleep
  • increased self esteem
  • having more energy for active play
  • decreased long term risk factors for chronic disease
  • maintaining a healthy weight

Best wishes for a healthy summer season!

What do you do to foster healthy lifestyles at home? Let me know in the comments below!


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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

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British Columbia Ministry of Health

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