Posts for tag: health
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Parents in my clinic are always asking about how to keep their children healthy. I am a fundamentalist by nature in the sense that I think the day to day little things affect their health the most.
In my opinion, the top three main aspects that I think may impact a child's health are the following:
- Nutrition: food is the foundation of health and cellular function. Rates of childhood obesity are high. Healthy non-processed foods should be a top priority for parents. Nowadays, there are so many pre-prepared food options that are made from whole natural unprocessed foods that even if you have no time to cook, try checking out the grocery stores around you...you just might be surprised.
- Exercise and activities: instilling exercise and movement into a child's daily repertoire is essential to their long term health. Children who do not grow up thinking that they should be active daily, may have a harder time being active later on. So, encourage your kids to go out and run around with friends or be active at school or even doing exercise DVDs at home with you. The point is that children need to learn that being active on most days of the week should be a norm and not a rarity.
- Chemical exposures: cleaning supplies and toxins in the home and in our foods can significantly impact our children. I would strongly recommend using organic cleaning supplies in areas where your children regularly occupy. I would also suggest organic foods if it's financially possible. Chemicals in vaccines and any concerns about that need to be addressed with your pediatrician but typically, the concerns can be reasonably addressed once you get the dialogue going with your doctor.
When it comes down to it, these factors can significantly impact your children's health. But ultimately, your relationship with your children are equally, if not, more importantly a factor of their health.
So, in regards to these 3 factors, maybe using them as ways to spend time with your children is even a better idea. Having them help you shop for healthy foods and cooking with them or going biking with them or exercising with them or doing house chores with them with organic cleaning supplies would be a good way to spend quality time with your children.
Because no matter what they eat or are exposed to, what healthy children all have in common are parents who are able to spend time with them and guide them and help them learn the limitations of what's right and wrong.
So, since you are reading this article, my guess is that you are already one of those great parents who care about their children and spending time with them daily to help guide them is something you are already doing. In that case, I think your children are lucky to have you and your children will be fine as long as you keep on doing what you're doing.
Dr. Julie T. Chen is board-certified in internal medicine and fellowship-trained and board-certified in integrative medicine. She has her own medical practice in San Jose, Calif. She is the medical director of corporation wellness at several Silicon Valley-based corporations, is on several medical expert panels of Web sites and nonprofit organizations, is a recurring monthly columnist for several national magazines, and has been featured in radio, newspaper, and magazine interviews. She incorporates various healing modalities into her practice including, but is not limited to, medical acupuncture, Chinese scalp acupuncture, clinical hypnotherapy, strain-counterstrain osteopathic manipulations, and biofeedback. To learn more, visit www.makinghealthyez.com.
By Editorial Staff
While it's not healthy for a child to be underweight at birth and during the first few years of life, being overweight is rarely a good thing, particularly since research suggests it plants the seeds for weight problems. That's why a recent study that links antibiotic use during infancy to excess weight is so compelling.
The study, results of which were published in the International Journal of Obesity, suggests infants who receive antibiotics during the earliest time window (first six months of life) are more likely to have increased body mass index (BMI) from 10-38 months of age compared to infants who receive no antibiotic exposure.
What's interesting about this issue is that antibiotic use remains widespread, even in infants and young children, despite ongoing evidence that a) the most common infant / childhood infection, the common cold, is viral in nature and thus does not require antibiotics, which are intended to treat bacterial infections; and b) many doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics for viral conditions despite their ineffectiveness – apparently to placate the concerned parent.
For example, according to one study, "acute sinusitis is diagnosed in over 3 million visits annually among adults and children in the United States. Of these, more than 80% result in an antibiotic prescription; however, many of these prescriptions may be unnecessary, since sinusitis is most often of viral origin and benefits of antibiotics may be limited."
Weight gain isn't the only negative consequence of early antibiotic use. Another study examined the relationship between when children first took antibiotics and the likelihood they would develop inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The study found that the earlier a child first took antibiotics, the greater their chance of developing IBD. Children who took two or more courses of antibiotics increased their chances of IBD almost 150% over those who took a single course of antibiotics.
The message is simple: When it comes to antibiotics, don't just take your doctor's word for it, particularly when it involves your child. What seems like a simple prescription may have health consequences that far outweigh (no pun intended) the potential benefits.
By Editorial Staff of To Your Health
In our world of convenience, nutrition often takes a big hit, and that's no more true than during the summer, when kids have way more time and their hands and, depending on their age, less supervision. That's a recipe for nutritional disaster if not properly managed. As a parent, what can you do? Here are three areas you can influence in terms of the nutritional choices available to your children this summer – not to mention throughout the year:
1. Think Fridge, Not Pantry: With processed, empty-calorie foods being churned out by food manufacturers at an all-time high, it's too easy to stock your pantry with these poor-nutrition items and let your kids have at it. A better option is to minimize the pantry choices and opt for a fully stocked fridge. Why? Simple: In many cases, things that need to be refrigerated generally are better for you than things that have an eternal shelf life. Natural, whole foods don't last forever, whereas foods filled with preservatives and artificial flavors / colors can stay in the cupboard for what seems like years. So give your kids lots of healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, and leave the chips, crackers and cookies off your shelves.
2. Go With Cups Instead of Cans: We're talking about replacing those endless cans of soda with water, of course, and it's particularly important during the summer months, when hot, dry weather and ample opportunity for outdoor activities merge to increase the body's H20 demands. Too little water throughout the day and your children could end up paying for it in the form of dehydration, constipation and other nasty health consequences. And let's not forget that soft drinks and other sugary beverages provide zero sustainable nutrition and may actually increase appetite, leading to weight gain.
3. Try Stove Instead of Microwave: Cheese sticks, mini pizzas, macaroni and cheese, burritos ... the list goes on and on. Many families turn to the microwave to prepare food more than the stove, which often means replacing healthier, whole-food options with frozen entrees, snacks and treats that lack in overall nutritive value. Believe it or not, in the time it takes to find space in your freezer for all those processed, frozen foods, you could probably be prepping healthier options that your kids can still turn to in a pinch – or that they can prep themselves if old enough, teaching a skill that will last them a lifetime.