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Experts recommend instilling healthy eating habits in children

The most prevalent health problem facing children today is obesity. If childhood obesity continues to increase, it could cut two to five years from the average lifespan. That could cause our current generation of children to become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.

Plan your family's meals. By planning meals, you can keep track of what your family is eating and reduce the craving for eating in between meals.

Never skip a meal. Skipping meals will cause the body's metabolic rate to slow down, miss important nutrients in the day, and most likely cause your child to overcompensate by eating empty calories.

Fulfill the fruit, vegetable, protein, grain, dairy and nut requirement each day. This will keep your child's hunger satisfied, and she will be less likely to look for empty calorie junk foods.

Avoid deep-fried foods. Serve foods that have been baked, broiled, roasted, boiled, or grilled.

No preserved meats. Most preserved meats contain nitrites which are converted into a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent) in the body. This includes foods that are typically pink in color like bologna, salami, pepperoni, hot dogs, corned beef, and pastrami.

No sodas, juice drinks or sweetened drinks. Have your children drink mostly water, but include skim or low-fat milk, fresh fruit juice and fresh vegetable juices.

Exercise daily. Studies have shown that children as young as two years old should incorporate 60 minutes of exercise into their daily regimen. The 60 minutes does not have to be done all at once. Breaking it up into 10- to 15-minute clips makes this goal easily attainable.

Involve the entire family. Parents should be mentors to their children and set a healthy lifestyle for all to adhere to.

For additional information on maintaining a healthy lifestyle, go to

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