September 26, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
ST. LOUIS (Sept. 26, 2007) –Family Health and Fitness Day is held each year on the last Saturday in September and encourages families and their children to promote healthy lifestyles.

Parents as Teachers wants to remind parents that preventing childhood obesity and leading a healthy lifestyle starts early. Childhood obesity has evolved into an epidemic in our country; the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about one- third of children are overweight or are at-risk for becoming overweight.

Parents as Teachers recognizes the importance of developing positive eating and fitness habits in young children. Parents as Teachers National Centers has developed nutrition and fitness curriculum, trainings and supplemental materials for parents and early childhood professionals.

Here are four tips offered by early childhood experts at the National Center for keeping your child healthy and fit:
1. Learn to read your child’s hunger cues – Young children have an innate ability for judging when they are hungry or full and will express themselves accordingly. If your child is full, he might close his mouth or turn away when food is offered. Because children’s portion sizes are smaller, don’t offer too much food at one time. A good rule of thumb for portion sizes is one tablespoon of food for each year of a young child’s age.
2. Avoid serving the same foods often – This will help your child avoid the desire to eat the same few foods often. If he turns down the food offered, resist the urge give him something later when he is hungry. He will learn to eat the less preferred food to avoid hunger.
3. Exercise together – By playing with your child and including him in your exercise routine, you will teach him from a very early age that exercise is important. Go on walks, play together at the playground, stretch together on the floor; this will also boost your child’s motor development.
4. Make a healthy lifestyle a priority for the entire family – Good nutrition and fitness is essential and beneficial for the entire family. Children learn how to behave by watching and imitating their parents. Be a good role model and let your child see you eating well and exercising.

For more information on this topic or other child development and parenting information, visit

About Parents as Teachers National Center
Based in St. Louis, Parents as Teachers National Center is the resource base and backbone of Parents as Teachers, a parent education and early childhood development program serving parents throughout pregnancy until their child enters kindergarten, usually age 5. The nonprofit National Center oversees approximately 3,000 programs offering Parents as Teachers services nationwide as well as in several other countries. For more information about Parents as Teachers, visit