Fall is in the air, and for many of us, it marks a special time of year. While the magic of summer has become a memory, there are many things to look forward to as the weather gets cooler, including bonfires, fall foliage, football, and Halloween. And as our calendars get busier, it's easier to slip into a habit of fast food and pre-packaged meals.

This, of course, makes it all the more important to keep good health habits on our radar, especially with the range of health issues that have become a regular part of modern life. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2012 over one-third of children between the ages of 2 and 19 is overweight, and chronic diseases are on the rise, including diabetes and heart disease. Parents today have high expectations for the kids to excel at whatever they do, which can increase rates of stress, depression, and sports related injuries. Add in the need for peer acceptance and the pressure can overwhelming.

Maybe it's time to take a step back and focus on the things that really matter in our lives, namely our health and happiness. Here are some tips on how to get it done.

1. Spend Quality Time Together

Money, career, and a nice house are valued in our world, but the most important thing in our lives is our family. This is something we've lost sight of in our driven world. Children want to be with their parents, and the quality time you spend together will create strong bonds and priceless memories that will last a lifetime. Just remember, it's much harder to bridge that gap when they are older, so make the effort now to be together.

2. Don't Over-Schedule

Many kids today have so many activities that they don't have time to just be a kid. Gone are the days of carefree fun and adventure, replaced by an endless number of sports and extracurricular activities along with the stress and anxiety that comes with them. While these have their time and place, the situation has gotten out of control. Kids should have down time to be in their own head and be quiet, contemplative and creative.

3. Eat Healthy Foods

Healthy eating includes nutritious foods as well as quality time eating them. While it's hard to avoid junk food, make sure healthy foods take precedence, and whenever possible, avoid fast food. When planning a meal, choose fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains, and drink water instead of soft drinks. And whatever you do, make time to sit down and eat together as a family, because you can't put a price on this time together.

4. Keep Moving

It's hard to argue with the importance of exercise, and we as a society need more of it. Kids like to move around, so parents can encourage an active lifestyle by embracing it ourselves. Walk instead of driving and take the stairs whenever possible. Find a sport or activity you enjoy and do it as a family, including taking walks, skiing, or hiking. The key is to be active, do it on a regular basis, and hopefully have fun doing it.

5. Moderate Screen Time

In addition to making us inactive, excessive amounts of time in front of the screen also takes an psychological toll. The take home message is that we spend too much time in front of the screen, so turn off that TV, tell your kids to stop playing those games, and get off the couch. While some screen time is unavoidable, we don't want to fall into the trap of spending all of our free time in front of the screen.

6. Communicate Early

Talk to your kids early and consistently about healthy living, and stand your ground when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. Discussions should also include the dangers of smoking, drugs, and alcohol, because it's better for them to learn about it from you than their peers. Let them know how you feel and frame it in a way that they can relate to, especially when it involves "being cool," fitting in, and appearances.

7. Set a Good Example

Children of parents who lead unhealthy lives are bound to live unhealthy lives themselves. This is especially true with smoking, drugs, and alcohol. On some level, kids are bound to follow in their parents footsteps, and when it involves smoking or drugs, all it takes is a little experimentation before they are hooked. In addition to communicating with them, walk the walk and live a healthy lifestyle, not just for yourself, but for your kids.

8. See Your Doctor Regularly

Parents and children alike should get regular checkups with their doctors, which includes receiving all the necessary vaccinations. This is also a good opportunity for everyone to learn about healthy living and it gives kids a chance to ask questions or voice concerns to an authority figure that is not their parents, which always seems to lend more credibility.

It's hard to argue that our health and our families are the two most important things in our lives, and yet we often find it easy to neglect both of them. This approach often comes back to haunt us later in life, so why not take the time to give them both the attention they deserve?

If you have questions, talk to your doctor and visit the website for the Kids Health.