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There are lots of things preschool-age kids learn to do – share toys, take turns, and skip and hop. 

What about learning healthy behaviors? Today, over half of obese children first become overweight by the age of two, and about 1 in 5 children are overweight or obese by the time they turn six years old.

Teaching children to eat better and move more early helps them live a healthy lifestyle now, and later as adults. There are 5 healthy behaviors that, as parents and educators, we can help our children do to be healthy.

  1. Eat more fruits and vegetables
  2. Replace sugary drinks with water and plain low-fat milk
  3. Increase physical activity and active play
  4. Reduce screen time (in front of the TV or computer)
  5. Improve the amount and quality of sleep

Children age 3-5 years old need 60 minutes (1 hour) or more of structured physical activity and at least 1 hour of unstructured physical activity every day. Active children sleep better, grow strong bones and muscles, reach a healthy weight, feel better about themselves, and get along better with friends.

This activity does not have to occur all at one time; children should be active throughout the day. Learning basic movement skills such as running, jumping, throwing, and kicking are important to your child's physical and mental development.

Eating well is just as important for preschool-age kids. As a parent or child care provider, you have a real opportunity to teach kids to appreciate wholesome, healthy foods while they are beginning to form their habits. With a little patience, even the pickiest eaters can learn to like healthy foods.

This information is provided by the Department of Public Health.