Epigenetics: All in the Family

By Director of Product Development & Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn

Nature and Nurture

Everyone has genetic predispositions, those things that “run in the family.” For many, this is a list of conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Sound familiar? Epigenetics brings a positive perspective to the fear and uncertainty that comes from checking all those boxes on a health history form. We now know that healthy lifestyle choices have the power to influence and even override our faulty genetic codes.

Families pass on both DNA and lifestyle habits that serve as epigenetic signals to that DNA. Nutritional choices, exercise, stress management and environmental exposures all influence whether genes get turned on or remain silent. While epigenetic marks are reversible (e.g. activated genes can be deactivated), healthy habits that start early in life can prevent negative genes from ever being activated in the first place.

The Earlier, the Better

Child development experts and medical professionals agree that healthy lifestyle habits are learned behaviors most strongly influenced by the family. Researchers also concur that nutritional habits established in infancy and childhood set the stage for a lifetime of dietary patterns.

A recent CDC report, for example, highlights the importance of eating practices in the first year of life. When children drink sugar-sweetened beverages during the first 12 months, this doubles the odds they will drink those beverages at age six. And limited fruit and vegetable consumption in the first year leads to limited fruits and vegetables at age six.

Nature and Nurture

Dietary preferences aren’t the only behaviors from home that carry over into adulthood with lingering epigenetic effects. Stress management, sleep patterns, and exercise are all influenced by family culture.

Work, social activities, media, and electronics compete for time that could be spent planning and preparing meals, engaging in physical activity or getting sufficient rest. Parents today work an average of three hours more per week than they did in the 1960s. That can mean the difference between home-cooked meals and visits to the drive-thru.

The American Academy of Pediatrics report, titled “Children, Adolescents, Obesity and the Media,” states: “American society couldn’t do a worse job at the moment of keeping children fit and healthy — too much TV, too many food ads, not enough exercise and not enough sleep.”

Top 10 Family Health Tips

Raising healthy kids today can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. But it can be done! It all starts when you embrace health as a family.

1) Be a good role model. You don’t have to be perfect, but if kids see you trying to eat right and exercise, they will take notice.

2) Get the family moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and time together.

3) Limit TV, video games and computer time. These habits encourage a sedentary lifestyle and contribute to excessive snacking.

4) Encourage physical activities that they enjoy. Let your child experience different activities. Be creative and incorporate exercise into everyday situations.

5) Pick truly rewarding rewards. Resist the urge to reward kids with TV, video games, candy or snacks.

6) Make dinnertime a family time. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. No TV or portable media devices during dinner (that includes YOUR phone).

7) Make a game of reading food labels. The whole family will become more conscious of what they eat — a habit that can change behavior for a lifetime.

8) Make healthy food choices easy. Save countertops, front-of-fridge and lower shelves for fruits, vegetables, and healthy snacks. Provide a variety of choices. You might be surprised at what they like!

9) Limit sugary beverages. Beware of sugar-laden drinks marketed as juice beverages. Check the ingredient labels and serving sizes.

10) Stay involved. Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school and other social settings.

Healthy families don’t happen overnight, so set realistic goals when adopting new behaviors. Pick one strategy and allow time for kids to adjust. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time and in the health of your kids over their lifetime!

Give Your Kids a Healthy Head Start

Optimal nutrition promotes healthy growth, cognitive development and strong immunity during childhood — and reduces the risk of health problems later in life. Reliv Now® for Kids is specially formulated to provide the vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients growing bodies need to thrive, plus advanced ingredients for added benefits:

LunaRich®: Reliv’s exclusive epigenetic superfood proven to support innate immunity and overall cellular health.

DHA: omega-3 fatty acid critical for development and function of the brain, eyes and central nervous system.

PS and PC: (phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine) natural compounds that support healthy cellular development, mental clarity, memory, learning, and cognitive function.

Grape Seed Extract: a powerful antioxidant that protects against cell-destroying free radicals.

How To Workout With Your Kids

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By Fit3 Head Coach Tina Van Horn

Fitness friends come in all shapes, sizes and ages. I met a new walking buddy, Lilly, recently at a local 5K and we had an interesting conversation. I learned that her favorite movie is the original The Wizard of Oz and how much she enjoys studying the Revolutionary War, how she plays golf and volleyball and loves the dance exercise class at the YMCA. Lilly, who happens to be a very mature 10-year-old, even has two pesky little sisters who were in a wagon being pulled by her mom behind us. By the time we crossed the finish line, I had told Lilly some entertaining secrets about my sister, her 2nd grade teacher, and she told me how her dad turns every question into a history lesson (insert the pre-adolescent eye roll). I helped her forget that she didn’t want to be walking in a 5K and she helped me forget that my feet hurt. It was a win for both of us!

If you have kids or grandkids, it can be difficult to squeeze in a workout. But if you include them, you have a built-in fitness friend! Just keep the moves simple and find ways to interject a little competitive fun. For example, challenge them to see who can do the most jumping jacks in 30 seconds. You can even break a sweat together with one of the Fit3 workouts.

Kids and teens should get 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. I know it can be tough to tear them away from their electronic babysitters, but it can be done and you can still get in a good workout too.

Here are a few ideas to get the whole family moving:

  • Turn household chores into a game
  • Crank up the tunes for a dance party during commercials
  • Walk or run for a charity special to your family
  • Walk or run in a holiday 5K
  • Do community service or volunteer work together
  • Have a weekly sports night
  • Make up a playground workout
  • Use your kids as “weights” when you strength train
  • Run relay races in the backyard while picking up sticks
  • Compete to see who can rake the biggest pile of leaves

The possibilities are endless when it comes to helping your family stay active. Find out what works for your schedule and for your family’s lifestyle and you will end up having so much fun and making lifelong memories together!

 

Make Good Health Run in Your Family

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Join host Tina Van Horn, Director of Research and Business Development at SL Technology, Inc., a Reliv Company, to learn what you can do to promote optimal health for everyone in your home. The webinar is open to all and takes place LIVE at noon CT this Thursday, May 21. Invite friends and bring your questions for the live Q&A immediately following the 15-minute presentation. Click here a few minutes before noon CT on Thursday to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Lifetime wellness begins with healthy habits early in life. Learn how you can use the power of Reliv nutrition and epigenetics to turn on your family’s good genes!

Because of Reliv: My Entire Family is Healthy

Carter-webVicki Carter from Myrtle Beach, SC, shares her thoughts on how her whole family has benefited from Reliv.

I was an office manager for 16 years and always had to use vacation time to attend my daughter’s school functions. I noticed that other parents were at every school function and seemed to have more free time. That’s when another parent
introduced me to Reliv. I became a Distributor that month and a Master Affiliate the next. What began as a great business opportunity turned into a way for my family to become healthy together.
I had gained some weight over the years that I needed to lose, and Reliv helped me do it. My husband has seen incredible health results too — his cholesterol, allergies and digestive health have all improved. Our whole family feels great!

Health Is All in the Family

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Family Groceries 8-3-11In your family, special mementos, such as your great-grandmother’s china, may be passed along through generations. You may also inherit Uncle Fred’s prominent nose, Aunt Bertha’s musical talent — or your mother’s poor heart health. Family provides the foundation of well-being, physical attributes and our health — good or bad.

Many health problems, including major illnesses like heart disease and diabetes, as well as contributing risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can be rooted in genetics. If your family has a history of these health issues, you’re at higher risk for developing them. Continue reading “Health Is All in the Family”