Monthly Health Message:

Ten Tips to Keep Your Family Healthy

February 2012

Karen Ensle Ed.D., RD, FADA, CFCS
Family & Community Health Sciences Educator
Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County

Small Steps to Health and Wealth™ is all about making small daily behavior changes that improve your health and finances over time. Every small step makes a difference. If "getting healthy" is on your family's "to do list," consider the following suggestions:

  1. Walk the Walk: Eat dinner as a family, and then go for a walk together. If the weather isn't cooperating, take the family for a brisk walk around the nearest mall.
  2. Game of the Week: Spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon visiting an indoor or outdoor pool, skating rink, or basketball court at a local gym, school, or community center.
  3. Break it Up: You don't have to do it all at once. Look for opportunities to get moderate and vigorous activity for 10 or 15 minutes several times throughout the day.
  4. Form a Team: Sign up for a family fun run, fun walk, car wash, or other "active" community activity.
  5. Pre-Screening: Have your kids pick their favorite shows each week. Turn on the TV just for those shows, and then turn it off afterwards.
  6. Sign Up: Buy a family membership at the neighborhood recreation center, YMCA or health club. Daily physical activity is recommended for improved health.
  7. Ask for a Lesson: Sign the family up for dancing, gymnastics, martial arts, fencing, or swimming lessons--anything that will get the family excited about staying active.
  8. Tackle Chores: Do housework or yard work together. You can easily walk several thousand steps doing various tasks around the house.
  9. Unglue Yourself: Your kids won't like cutting back on screen time if they see you as the family couch potato. The best way to influence their behavior is to set a good example.
  10. It's a Family Affair: Talk about how EVERYONE in the family is going to work together to get healthier. Children should not be the only ones making changes. Everyone needs to take "small steps" for a healthier 2012!


  1. Rutgers
  2. Executive Dean of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  3. School of Environmental and Biological Sciences