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Health Team

Surgeon General: Parents set example for healthy living

Posted January 26, 2012 6:24 p.m. EST
Updated January 30, 2012 3:21 p.m. EST

— U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin visited Raleigh on Thursday to promote her vision for a healthy and fit nation. 

"Government can give you the information, we can give you the tools, we can make it easier, more affordable, but ultimately, the decision is yours to be more healthy," Benjamin said.

Benjamin, who is in town for the annual North Carolina State Health Director's Conference, works with federal and state agencies to find ways to encourage healthier lifestyles in order to lower the risk of chronic disease. 

Benjamin suggests reducing consumption of sugar-added drinks, eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, drinking more water and limiting television watching to two hours per day.

Benjamin said parents play a key role.

"The parents have to be role models for their kids. They have to get outside and play with the kids too - and do and eat right with them. Show them examples," she said. 

Even short exercise breaks throughout the day burn calories. She said the only way people will make exercise routine in their lives is if it's something they look forward to.

"If you ask the average person, they want to be healthy, but it has to be fun. It has to be enjoyable," she said.