8 Healthy Habits to Help Your Kid Live Longer

These healthy habits are proven to promote lifelong health and resiliency in kids.
Priscilla Gragg

The secret to reaching a ripe old age? Nope, it’s not all up to your genes, finds a new study. Researchers looked at seniors and centenarians who live in Loma Linda, California—an area where people tend to live healthier and longer than the average American.

Even though many of the seniors had experienced hardships during childhood (because they grew up during the Depression or WWII or in regions with violence), eight key habits they established at a young age and continued to practice throughout life helped them be resilient.

“As we grow older, our bodies experience a natural increase in inflammation,” explains study author Rhonda Spencer-Hwang, Dr.P.H., associate professor at the Center for Community Resilience at Loma Linda University School of Public Health. “But we found that each of these lifelong habits either directly or indirectly reduced two types of proteins in the body that are linked to chronic disease and a shorter life span.”

RELATEDSimple Rules for Raising a Healthy Kid

You can help your child live a long and healthy life of resiliency by instilling the same big-picture practices into your fam’s routine. You never know, she might just ring in the year 2118!

  1. Spending quality time with family and friends
  2. Daily physical activity (even better if it’s outside)
  3. Attending church or temple or taking part in church ministries
  4. Consuming plenty of veggies and water, less meat, and fewer sugary beverages
  5. Engaging in nature
  6. Getting enough sleep every day (that’s at least seven hours for you, ten to 13 hours for kids ages 3 to 5, and nine to 12 hours for those ages 6 to 12)
  7. Having a positive mindset and believing your actions today will result in good outcomes later on
  8. Volunteering, performing charitable acts, and practicing selflessness

RELATED: 5 Power Foods All Kids Need

Between juice, sports drinks and fruit snacks, there's a lot of foods marketed to kids that aren't nearly as good for your children as you might expect.

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