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Healthy Family Book Reviews

5 Books for a Healthier Household
  -- By Nicole Nichols, Fitness Instructor & Health Educator
With a plethora of health resources available these days, it can be hard to know where to look for reliable, accurate and useful information. When it comes to raising healthy kids in an increasingly unhealthy world, where do you start? Coach Nicole recommends these top five reads for a healthy family household.

1. Fit Kids by Mary L. Gavin, M.D., Steven A. Dowshen, M.D., and Neil Izenberg, M.D. ©2004

From the medical experts of KidsHealth.org, this book is a parent's guide to raising healthy children from birth through adolescence. Packed with easy-to-understand information, you'll learn about nutrition, instilling healthy eating habits, ideas to keep your child (and entire family) active, and age-specific information and tips. Visually, this book is fun to look at, plus the information is medically-accepted and helpful to all parents—whether you know a little or a lot about child nutrition and fitness. (SRP: $20)

2. Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming by Ellyn Satter, MS, RD, LCSW, BCD ©2005

In a society where overweight and obese children are becoming the norm, Ellyn Satter, a Registered Dietitian and family therapist, suggests an unconventional approach to parents: stop trying to control how much your children eat. Based on scientific research and clinical experience, Satter teaches parents to provide plenty of healthy foods, while trusting their children to eat enough food to feel satisfied. This book provides compelling arguments and sound advice in an easy-to-read and practical guide for parenting (and feeding) children from birth to adolescence. (SRP: $19.95)

3. The Family Fitness Fun Book by Rose R. Kennedy ©2005

Who needs TV and video games to keep their kids busy and occupied? This book is full of ideas for children of all ages—relays, backyard sports, children's party games, garage volleyball, and more. The author organizes the contents by activity types (indoor, outdoor, city, snow, water, and more), and within each section, the games ascend from easy to difficult. Each activity is laid out clearly with directions, appropriate ages, amount of time required, intensity level, and even whether or not parental supervision is necessary. Reading this book will likely remind you of your own childhood game play, but as a whole, it's a valuable tool for any parent who wants to raise healthy, active, and even imaginative children. (SRP: $16.95)

4. Dr. Sears' LEAN Kids by Williams Sears, MD, Peter Sears, MD, and Sean Foy, MA ©2003

Dr. Sears, a pediatrician, father of eight, and author of 24 child care books, teamed up with his son Peter (also a doctor) and fitness expert Sean Foy to create one of the most comprehensive fitness and nutrition guides for parents. Sears offers practical advice for raising healthy, active children in today's world. Based on his own research and experience as a doctor and father, he explains how to create a healthy lifestyle for the whole family. Enriched with useful tips (like how to get your kids to eat well) and advice for connecting with your kids, Lean Kids truly is a "Total Health Program" for children 6-12 years old. (SRP: $14.95)

5. Food Fight by Kelly D. Brownell, PhD ©2004

A whopping 65 percent of American adults are overweight, and our children are following in our footsteps. In Food Fight, Kelly D. Brownell, Ph.D., a renowned expert on obesity, nutrition, and eating disorders, explains the roots of these problems and what can be done. From human biology to school lunches, “super size” portions to television—Brownell teaches you to be an educated consumer and a catalyst of change. (SRP: $24.95)