Did you know that children can get as many as 5-10 colds every year? This is because they do not yet have the immunity they need to fight the 200+ viruses that cause colds — let alone other health complications.
No parent wants to see their child unwell, which is why you need to take a proactive approach. If you would like to help your child remain healthy this year, it's time to make a few lifestyle changes.
Here is how to optimize your child's health in 2018 and beyond.
Prevent and Address Childhood Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in America, 17.4 percent of children aged 6-11 are obese. Once a child has become overweight or obese, they are automatically at risk for serious health complications, including sleep apnea, pain and asthma.
Although you will need to implement a variety of lifestyle changes, it is imperative to limit your child's intake of sugar. Not only does sugar drive obesity, but it also interferes with the body's natural immune system. This is why our 24/7 Healthy Habits Program is so rewarding — helping children understand the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle. If you are interested in getting your child enrolled in our monthly program to address their weight issue please call our Point Meadows office at (904) 519-6555.
Maintain a Regular Sleep Routine
Quality sleep is critical to ensure optimal development and positive health — yet over the past 15 years, there has been growing evidence that suggests many children are sleep-deprived. Not only can this lead to learning and behavioral issues at school, a lack of quality sleep can also increase your child's chances of becoming sick.
One eye-opening review focused on the association between screen-based media access and sleep outcomes among children. The review involved data from more than 125,000 children and showed a strong correlation between these devices and disrupted sleep. This is why a child's room should be quiet, comfortable and dark. This will promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle — but consistency will be key.
Eat Well and Discuss Healthy Food Choices
Children will model your behavior, which is why healthy eating begins at home. When children consume a balanced diet, they are able to prevent nutritional deficiencies and effectively boost their immune system.
One study found that green vegetables offer a chemical signal that is critical to a fully functioning immune system. Make snack time fun, creating nutrient-dense options that are simple, yet kid-friendly. Encourage your kids to get involved so that they can learn the value of healthy, whole foods
Don't Be Shy of Regular Checkups
When was the last time your child saw a doctor? Although they may be healthy, general checkups are essential for preventative care — it's all about taking proactive action. These are what's known as "well-child" visits.
When your child sees a physician on a regular basis, your child can often avoid various ailments, either due to early detection or immunization. Be mindful of these developmental milestones so that your baby grows and develops at a healthy rate:
- Within 2 weeks of birth
- 1 month old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 1 year old
- 15 months old
- 18 months old
- 2 years old
At this point, you can typically switch to yearly visits. This will be integral to your child's overall health and care.
This year, make health a priority in your household. Teach your child the importance of healthy living so that they can develop beneficial, lifelong habits.
After all, Rudolph Dreikurs said it best: "Children need encouragement like a plant needs water." Encourage them to be the best that they can be.