Healthy Living is More Than What You Eat

A mother’s health status and attitude are strong indicators of whether her daughter will be overweight; satisfied with her body; physically active; and consider her mother a role model on healthy living. For instance, active daughters are more likely to have active mothers. As well, a daughter’s dissatisfaction with her weight is greater if her mother is also dissatisfied with her own weight, in spite of how much a daughter actually weighs. (Girl Scouts of the USA, FIT’S INN)

Lidia Soto-Harmon, Deputy Executive Director, stops to chat with Girl Scouts at the Bridging Ceremony in October 2009. The bridging ceremony welcomed the new Shenandoah Region to GSCNC.

In an age of organic food and fast food, it can be difficult to make healthy choices for our families, especially where cost and time are concerned. As Girl Scouts, we believe that arming girls with powerful information about creating a healthy, positive lifestyle is one of the many ways we can help develop girls of courage, confidence and character.

When I read facts from the Girl Scout Research Institute that girls  form their strongest opinions about themselves  through their role model– their mom–it made me realize how important it is to self-edit negative statements that my daughter, or any girl, might immediately internalize.

We are fortunate that GSCNC offers an outstanding series sponsored by CareFirst called the Grow Strong Healthy Living campaign. Healthy Living modules and programs are comprehensive discussions of body image, fitness, nutrition and diet and stress management, and are available for troops to borrow. This kit provides truly pivotal information which girls can take home and share with their families.

I recently had the opportunity to see the healthy living kits in action. When girls see how much unsaturated fat (using real lard as a visual example!) is in a slice of pepperoni pizza, they do think twice about having the third slice.  I can tell you it made me think twice about having pizza all together! Girls also have a chance to learn easy stress-relief techniques like dancing, journaling, or talking with friends.

In the midst of soccer practice and carpools to troop meetings,  there are some easy ideas I’ve found to help integrate healthy and active options into our busy lifestyle:

  • Buy equipment (or toys) that promotes physical activity, like jump ropes.
  • Go for family walks after meal times (the poor dog is waiting for a walk too!).
  • Cut up fresh fruits and vegetables and keep them accessible for an easy snack.
  • Plan active weekends—rent a canoe or a bike, take kids to an indoor pool, or out for a hike.
  • Visit farms throughout the year where you can pick your own strawberries, peaches, and apples.
  • Register your family for a fun run or walk event in your area.
  • Get a family set of pedometers and create a healthy competition between parents and kids.
  • Be a role model for your kids by managing your own stress through positive outlets.

To find out more about healthy living tips or to reserve a healthy living kit for your troop, visit

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