CHICAGO -- With New Year's resolutions on people's minds, the American Academy of Pediatrics is offering a special list of health-related promises for the nation's youngsters. But even the academy president acknowledges that children, like adults, might have trouble following through.
For toddlers, the academy recommends they promise to clean up their toys, brush their teeth twice a day, and wash their hands before eating and after using the bathroom. They also should remember not to tease dogs.
School-age children should resolve to drink plenty of milk, limit soft drinks, and engage in sports or some other energetic activity at least three times weekly, the academy says.
The nine resolutions for teens include eating at least one fruit and vegetable daily and limiting video games and television to two hours a day.
The list got mixed reviews from a sampling of Chicago youngsters.
Putting away toys "is a good idea because you don't want to step on something sharp" and hand-washing is important "because you don't want to spread germs," agreed 4-year-old Cole Robbins. But when asked if he would commit to the resolutions himself, Cole changed the subject.
Eight-year-old Abigail Abolt said the resolutions didn't sound too drastic, provided they allow her to watch the popular animated TV show "Arthur" every day. She also added one resolution: "to get Liam, a boy in my class, to stop kissing me."
It's the second year the academy, based in suburban Elk Grove Village, has recommended resolutions aimed at giving children some responsibility for improving their health, fitness, and safety, including having teens resolve to avoid peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol.
Many of the resolutions focus on avoiding junk food and a sedentary lifestyle that could lead to obesity, which has reached epidemic proportions nationwide and affects an estimated 15 percent of youngsters aged 6 to 19.
If the resolutions get children to adopt behaviors that will help them maintain a healthy weight, "then we've done quite a good thing," said academy president Dr. Carden Johnston. He acknowledged that some children might roll their eyes at the list and some "will make a lot of resolutions that don't last very long."
Eighth-grader Chris Kellas, 13, said he has resolutions of his own: "trying not to fight with my sister and trying to keep up my grades." But he said he won't swear off violent video games.
"I don't think I could do it," he said.