Health and Nutrition: Everyday Steps

I want to help my family become healthier. Where do I start?

The news is filled with stories about kids not getting enough exercise, eating too much junk food, and not getting enough sleep, and research has linked kids’ medical problems—obesity, diabetes, and heart disease— to poor health habits. It's true: Poor nutrition and lack of exercise are jeopardizing our young children’s abilities to do well in school and to stay in good health.

Creating healthy habits within your family can be a daunting task. Where do you start? Fortunately, by beginning with small steps, you can become a healthy family over time.

Make it a point to have one healthy meal together each day.
Start going for a walk every day when you get home from work or after dinner.
Strive to get eight hours of sleep every night.
Focus on the small, doable things, and you'll be on your way to having a healthy family.

Common Questions About Health and Nutrition >

Did You Know?

  • As kids get older, they tend to slip into poor health habits. 35% of sixth-graders say it’s very much like them to take good care of their bodies, but only 23% of twelfth-graders say this.1
  • Get Everyday Steps for proper nutrition >
  • Part of helping kids take care of themselves is showing them that it’s important. Unfortunately, only 30% of young people surveyed by Search Institute say their parents and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. Kids watch us in all areas of life, including our health habits.2
  • Get Everyday Steps for proper fitness >
  • When Search Institute and America’s Promise asked how well young people are doing health-wise, they discovered that teenagers are faring worse than younger children. Only 36% of kids ages 12 to 17 experience healthy development. Only 49% of kids between the ages of 6 and 11 do.3


1. Developmental Assets: A Profile of Your Youth (Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute, 2005), 2003 weighted aggregate dataset, unpublished report. Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute.

2. Peter Scales, Peter Benson, K. Bartig, K. Streit, K. Moore, L. Lippman, B. Brown, and C. Theokas, Keeping America’s Promises to Children and Youth: A Search Institute—Child Trends Report on the Results of the America’s Promise National Telephone Polls of Children, Teenagers, and Parents (Minneapolis, MN: Search Institute, 2006).

3. David Murphey, Bonnie Mackintosh and Marci McCoy-Roth, “Early Childhood Highlights: Early Childhood Policy Focus: Healthy Eating and Physical Activity“: (Minneapolis, MN: Child Trends, 2011).