Teach your children well -- so they can stay well
"Teach your children well ... And feed them on your dreams. The one they pick's the one you'll know by." When Graham Nash wrote that in 1968, he probably didn't realize how to-the-point the lyrics would be in 2022. Turns out if you are dreaming of a bright future for your children, you need to teach them well about good health habits early.
According to a study in JAMA Pediatrics, teens who smoke, have obesity or emotional/mental problems have a RealAge that is older than their chronological years by the time they are in their 40s. Around 900 boys and girls were followed from 1972/1973 until they reached age 45. That's when the scientists looked at their pace of aging, gait speed, brain age and facial age. It seems that smokers, those who were overweight and those who contended with depression, for example, were prematurely older than their birthdays indicated.
Kids deserve a fighting chance to live long and prosper, and you can do a lot to make sure that happens. Have family sit-down dinners regularly. Have kids help you shop and cook. Don't buy highly-processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages. Dish up lean poultry, fish and vegetable proteins from legumes and 100% whole grains. Serve tasty veggies. Also, make sure kids get lots -- and lots -- of physical activity through casual play and individual and team sports. My slight rewrite of the song's lyrics says it all: "And so please help them with their youth, and know they'll love you for it."
Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email questions@GreatAgeReboot.com.
(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.