Children typically have little input when it comes to making decisions about their healthcare. Parents make most of the decisions about when to take a child to the doctor and what medicines or other medical treatments they should receive. But what do kids themselves know about health and what it takes to be healthy? Parents might be surprised to find out just how broad their range of knowledge actually is.
The “Time for Kids” Study
In partnership with KidsHealth.org, TIME for Kids conducted a 2011 survey to learn just how much kids knew about nutrition, fitness and what it takes to be healthy.¹ The organizations that conducted the interviews were surprised by how much kids already knew and about their interest in learning even more. The study included over 10,000 kids who were asked 21 questions related to the study topic. Some of the surprising results that were obtained included:
- 9 of 10 kids questioned recognized that water is healthier than soda
- Many recognized that a plain potato is a healthier choice than potato chips
- Almost 9 of 10 knew that an orange is healthy because of its Vitamin C content
- About 8.5 of 10 knew that you needed to exercise and eat a well-balanced diet to get to a healthy weight
Understanding the Body and How It Works
Many kids not only demonstrated that they understood a great deal about nutrition and exercise, but that they also knew the different organs of the body and what they are responsible for, at least to some degree. An awareness of facts like the impact smoking has on lungs results in kids making better choices for themselves. Kids even read nutrition facts on some foods. Perhaps most surprising of all is that nearly 90% of the kids questioned prefer going outside to play over staying indoors to watch a movie. Nearly that many were also willing to try new vegetables and fruits.
We all know that childhood is the best time to help kids develop healthy habits that will last through adulthood. The simple fact that there is more information made available to kids today has probably played a role in how much they know about all the different factors that add up to good health. In spite of the volume of information your kids may be exposed to in school or from other resources, it is important to keep in mind that much of what they learn will come from you. Help them learn more about nutrition and encourage them to stay active so that they build a pattern of making their own healthy choices that will last them a lifetime.
At a time when many experts are concerned that children lead a sedentary lifestyle that does not encourage physical activity, parents may need to take a more proactive role in getting kids on the move. Regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet, and the right healthcare will combine to make kids healthier today and throughout their adult lives.