Today’s post comes from our newest dietetic intern, Carla Schmitz. Carla is a dietetic intern working on her MS in Human Nutrition through the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Coordinated Program. She will be eligible to sit for the RD exam in December of 2013, but in the meanwhile she will be spending a few weeks with ENC. Carla is a full-time foodie with a passion for teaching others to cook. She hopes to use her passion for good food and healthy living to develop recipes, menus, and dietary protocols for patients with cancer or chronic disease.
Because good health starts at home, the American Academy of Family Physicians designated October as Family Health Month to encourage families to take stock of their health habits, health history, and over-all well-being.
Below are 5 key areas to encourage your clients to focus on:
General Health Checklist:
- Make sure immunizations are up-to-date.
- Check that physicals & annual appointments have been completed or are scheduled.
- Reassess familial health histories; remember: the best treatments for chronic disease are awareness and prevention.
Communication! Even with hectic schedules, it’s important to make time to touch base with loved ones about their health and commuicate with health care providers. Awareness and prevention start with good communication.
- Make a list of health-related items to discuss with health professionals during the scheduled check-ups.
- Keep a current list of medications and supplements and medical conditions for all family members.
Be Active: Physical activity is essential to good health, so encourage clients to make physical activity a family priority. This will help them be healthy now and it will set the stage for a lifetime of healthy habits.
- Ditch those electronics and head outside for a game of just about anything: H-O-R-S-E, catch, Frisbee, you name it – the possibilities are endless!
- Check out community organizations (like YMCA) for Family Health Month activities throughout October.
- Take advantage of lovely fall weather. Plan a hiking excursion, a family bike ride, or a camping trip.
Prioritize Family Time: It is important to carve out time dedicated solely to family. This helps to strengthen the parent-child bond while fostering sibling friendships that will hopefully last into adulthood.
- Eat dinner as a family, play board games or have a movie night.
- Enjoy a quick trip to a pumpkin patch, festival or anything that can be done together.
Nutrition: Eating a well-balanced diet is an important health practice for families. Encouraging consumption of low-fat dairy and protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, sets clients up for success. Here are some tips:
- Get kids involved in meal planning and preparation to give them a vested interest in consuming healthy foods prepared at home.
- Check out resources such as MyPlate or speak with a dietitian to learn more about adequate family nutrition.