How Health Habits Change from Generation to Generation
Many health issues that appear to run in families may not actually be genetic. In fact, some health conditions that are prevalent in certain families, such as diabetes or some types of cancer, may have more to do with health habits like diet, exercise and other lifestyle factors that children learn from their elders and perpetuate throughout the lives. With a closer look at the health link across the generations, you may be able to break the link and enjoy improved health and well-being throughout the rest of your life as a result.
Developing Food Preferences Early in Life
From your earliest years, you got accustomed to how your parents ate. This means that if they frequently visited fast food restaurants, you may now be accustomed to doing so in your own life. On the other hand, if you grew up in a vegan house, you may also be vegan. You may have developed a taste preferences for these foods. More than that, you may learn family recipes that have been passed down through multiple generations, and you may even pass these recipes down to your own children.
Early Education About Diet and Nutrition
While you may develop a preference for the same foods your parents and grandparents ate early in life, you also learned about nutrition and diet from them. For example, you may learn that a healthy diet includes meat and potatoes on your dinner plate. However, this type of diet may not actually be as healthy for you as you might think, and this could lead you to have some of the same health issues your parents and grandparents had. While you may think that you are eating healthy because of your early nutritional education that you received from your older family members, you may actually be perpetuating a cycle.
Physical Activity in Your Lifestyle
Many children grow up being just as active or inactive as their parents. For example, if your parents were runners or enjoyed hiking, camping, swimming or other activities in their free time, they may have gotten you interested in these activities in your younger years as well. On the other hand, if your parents normally watched TV or played video games, there is a good chance that you gained an interested in spending your free time this way as well. You learned how to spend your free time from them, and because of this, physical activity is a learned behavior that can affect your physical health throughout your life.
The Generation Gap
While you may learn about diet and exercise from your parents and you may adopt many of their habits, you are not necessarily doomed to repeat an unhealthy cycle. Some younger generations have taken advantage of education about diet and exercise that is readily available. Through education, they may learn how to live a healthier life and break at least some links in the chain. To help with this, you can start by watching YouTube videos—like the ASEA one about how to rejuvenate your body after a workout—and reading up on different types of diets or exercises that might benefit you. With so much educational material about diet and exercise readily available, it is easy to improve your understanding of a healthy lifestyle.
Health Habits Can Improve
With a closer look at how you and your parents eat and exercise, you may notice significant similarities. These similarities may result in you developing similar health issues as your parents later in life. Therefore, it is wise to learn more about nutrition and exercise so that you can improve your lifestyle. By taking action now to avoid perpetuating an unhealthy lifestyle, you can avoid many issues that may seem to be handed down from generation.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.