Motivate moms to keep up the great work by letting them know their healthy lifestyle choices are likely to have a powerful impact on their kids’ health. Researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that children are 75% less likely to develop obesity when mothers stick to the following five healthy habits:

  1. EXERCISING REGULARLY

  2. EATING A HEALTHY DIET

  3. KEEPING A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT

  4. DRINKING ALCOHOL ONLY IN MODERATION

  5. NOT SMOKING

Senior study author Qi Sun, ScD, MD, MMS, associate professor in the Department of Nutrition, said, “Our study was the first to demonstrate that an overall healthy lifestyle outweighs any individual healthy lifestyle factors followed by mothers when it comes to lowering the risk of obesity in their children.”

Researchers based their findings on data from 24,289 children enrolled in the Growing Up Today Study who were born to 16,945 women enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II. The analysis focused on the association between a mother’s lifestyle habits and the incidence of obesity among youth between ages 9 and 18 years.

The study is open access and is available in BMJ (2018; doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k2486).

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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