Talk to your kids and watch them eat, exercise well

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London, March 14 (IANS) An effective family-based counselling on lifestyle can help your growing kid increase physical activity and eat a well-balanced diet, say researchers.

“Children from families who participated in lifestyle counselling were physically more active, ate more vegetables and had a higher intake of important nutrients than children in the control group. However, the impact of the intervention on screen time remained modest,” said Anna Viitasalo from the University of Eastern Finland.

For the results, published in the journal of Preventive Medicine, the team investigated over 500 children aged six-eight years to see effects physical activity and dietary counselling during a two-year period.

Families participated in six physical activity and dietary counselling sessions which aimed to find suitable and practical ways to increase physical activity, reduce sedentary behaviour and improve diet quality in each family.

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Screen-based sedentary behaviour, such as watching TV and playing computer games, increased in both groups but less in the intervention group compared to the control group.

The researchers also found that lifestyle counselling increased the consumption of vegetables, low-fat milk and vegetable oil-based spreads in children.

The health-promoting changes in diet quality also increased the intake of fibre and vitamins C and E.

“Individualised lifestyle counselling involving parents could be part of the child health care system. Reducing the risk of many non-communicable diseases by improved lifestyle habits can also reduce health care costs,” added co-investigator Timo Lakka.

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