Health, Happiness and your children

Health, Happiness and your children

The following story from is not directly related to happiness but if you read through to the end, and then consider my comments, I think you’ll see the connection.

Kids Listen to Parents’ Advice on Healthy Eating


Though your child may scowl at the broccoli you pile onto his plate, keep it coming. According to a new Finnish study, kids really do follow their parents’ advice on healthy eating, even when you aren’t there to nag them.

In the study, researchers kept tabs on the eating habits of more than 1,000 children. About half the children ate regular diets high in saturated fats from foods like meat and butter; the other 50% were urged to stick with menu options like fish and nuts, which contain healthier unsaturated fats.

The study followed the children all the way from infancy to the age of 14. According to the results, the children who were counseled to eat healthy from a young age are still doing so today – even without parental guidance. As far as a nutritious lifestyle goes, “the earlier you intervene, the more likely you are going to be successful,” pediatric cardiologist Dr. Sarah Blumenschien told the Associated Press.

The teens who’ve been sticking with unsaturated fats also had slightly lower levels of cholesterol than the rest of the group. And according to cardiologist Dr. Art Labovitz, even ‘small increments result in a significant change in heart attacks and cardiac deaths.” Sure, that’s nothing for a 14-year-old to worry about – but eating healthy now means that they’re far more likely to eat healthy well into old age, when it really matters.

So if you’ve got kids, take a pass on the Big Macs and serve up a plate of salmon instead. The path you pave for your child’s healthy eating habits will last a lifetime – and doesn’t that seem more tempting than a burger?

How does this relate to happiness?

In my new book, Raising Happy Children (due out early in 2008), I repeatedly emphasise the importance of modelling and reinforcing happiness behaviours and attitudes. This is, really, no different to eating healthy food and we know, that if you can consistently be and enact happiness, your children will have a much better chance of experiencing happiness themselves.