The 700 Club with Pat Robertson

Dr. Gregory Jantz

Best-selling author

Founder, The Center for Counseling and Health Resources


Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

Certified Eating Disorder Specialist

Approved Eating Disorder Supervisor

Appeared on The Other Half, At Home, Maury Povich Show, Health Watch and Renewal Radio

Seattle Pacific University, PhD

Married to wife, Lafon, for 23 years; Children ages 3 and 6


Dr. Gregory Jantz: Healthy Habits for Healthy Kids

By The 700 Club

Are unhealthy habits weighing your family down? Despite what your children may think, fast-food French fries are not a vegetable, a balanced meal is not found in their school's vending machine, and activity is important. Because of poor nutrition decisions, kids today are now dealing with concerns that use to be associated only with adulthood and the aging process: hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, anxiety, and stress. But it's not too late to help your kids achieve a healthy, happy childhood.

Dr. Jantz says you can help your family design a plan for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A plan that is relevant for all members of the family, no matter the age or physical condition. Dr. Jantz suggests using a "team" approach when deciding on a plan for the whole family. He says the important thing to remember is to make it "fun" so you and your family can make lasting lifestyle changes. Dr. Jantz offers some suggestions for developing a successful family plan:

Dr. Jantz cautions parents not to become obsessed with their child's weight and activity level. In many cases, eating disorders occur in families where parents love their children and were trying to do the right thing, but their efforts went off track. One of the very best ways you can help your family succeed at a healthy lifestyle is by setting a good example yourself and getting your own relationship with food in order so your children have a healthy role model to follow.

One of the main causes of childhood obesity is the reduction in the amount of physical activity for children. More and more children, are opting for sedentary lifestyles by choosing television, video games, and the computer instead of outdoor activities like running, jumping, and playing. Dr. Jantz says children need to be active, to use and stretch and grow that body that God has given them. School-age children need daily physical activity throughout the day. School PE is not enough! Children should have at least an hour of physical activity each and every day after school and at least two hours a day on the weekends. This activity should be highly physical and involve cardiovascular exercise, such as biking, running, skateboarding, ice-skating, roller-skating, or swimming. Consider enrolling him or her in an after-school club or organization that provides a variety of physical activities such as the YMCA. Younger children than five also need substantial physical activity. Toddlers can handle 15-20 minutes at a time. Pre-school age children can handle up to 30 minutes at a time. Dr. Jantz says as a parent you need to participate with your child, not only monitor the activity, but also provide support and guidance during it.

Although you’d like your child to eat a home-cooked meal every night sometimes it will not happen. You cannot avoid every McDonald’s, Krispy Kremes and vending machines around every corner. So to help your family develop healthy eating habits in a fast-food culture you have to teach your children about moderation and wise decision making. Dr. Jantz offers some suggestions for helping your family develop healthy eating habits.

(1) Instead of grabbing the food from the drive-through, go into the restaurant, sit down, converse, and eat. Take your time to eat rather than making it just one more hurried activity. Allow your children’s stomachs time to register becoming full.

(2) If the restaurant has a children’s play area, allow your younger children to engage in some activity after eating.

(3) Choose a chicken selection over a burger.

(4) Leave on the lettuce and tomato.

(5) Look for fast-food restaurants where you can order alternatives to French fries.

(6) Try a sandwich shop that allows you to control what goes on your order.

(7) Make a fast-food stop a weekend treat.

(8) Split the fries up and order a salad to share as well.

(9) Choose ethnic fast food such as Chinese or Mexican. Many ethnic choices incorporate a higher proportion of veggies and leaner protein than typical American fast-food choices.

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