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A healthy start to the new year | Family First

When it comes to a healthy 2023, Dr. Cynthia Elsner, the lead physician at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics, says to make it a family affair.

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. — When it comes to having a healthy 2023, Dr. Cynthia Elsner, the lead physician at UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics in Hummelstown, says to make it a family affair.

“It is important to get the whole family involved in leading a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Elsner. “Kids learn from examples.”

A good place to start is outside. Dr. Elsner recommends aiming for 20 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week. Activities like a family bike ride, hike or even a walk are great ways to get the heart rate up. 

A healthy diet also plays an important role in a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Elsner says to limit the sugary beverages and to aim for five to six servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

“Half your plate should be a fruit or a vegetable and the other half can be your grains and your meat,” said Dr. Elsner. 

For those picky eaters, exposure is key. 

“I always say to parents, 10 times the exposure,” said Dr. Elsner. "So always put things down on your plate you want them to try, and then 10 times of them sticking it in their mouth and going 'yuck!' and then eventually they get used to it and they will try it."

A few other tips from Dr. Elsner for a healthier lifestyle would be to limit the amount of screen time to one to two hours a day, get involved with organized sports and opt to eat-in as a family as opposed to going out to eat.

These are simple changes that can make for a healthy 2023 for the entire family. 

"I think if you guys do it together, then that helps," Dr. Elsner said. "If there’s someone that’s having issues with weight or not eating healthy, that helps you guys all support each other."

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