Small steps are a healthy start

To get your children moving an extra 800 kilometres a year, you don’t need to force them into long-distance running or spend your weekends ferrying them around to every park in the metropolitan area.

All it takes is a 30-minute walk to and from school to create this massive impact on their health and wellbeing.

To double their intake of vital nutrients doesn’t mean paying twice as much for the weekly food bill, but a simple switch from white to wholemeal bread and from a sugary lunchbox treat to a banana or apple.

Such small and easy changes, as promoted by Walk to School Day yesterday, can have a snowball effect on a child’s health and improve their success in every area of life.

This is the aim of a free program run by Perth North Metro Medicare Local for families in the northern suburbs who want to make healthy improvements that fit in with their lifestyles.

A psychologist and dietitian give parents food, activity and lifestyle tips as part of the Healthy Families for Happy Futures Program, while children create healthy snacks and meals from the Lunch Right Menu Planner that comes free with the program.

The secret to getting children healthy is not to put them on diets or force them to run every morning, but to find which healthy foods and activities they love so much that they are the driving force behind their own health for their whole lives.

Parents with at least one child between the ages of six and 12 can sign up for the next series of three workshops, which start on Saturday, November 9.

For more information go to www.pnml.com.au or contact me on 9208 9529 or email jacqui.paul@pnml. com.au