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In many ways the issues of children’s health are similar to those of adult health. Food and nutrition along with physical exercise are important to both groups. However, the impact of poor choices can be more far reaching in children. Children are developing physically, mentally, and socially and the results of poor choices may result in poor development in one or more of these areas.
One key area affecting both physical and mental development is food and nutrition. Children need balanced meals and healthy snacks. Since children are unlikely to make healthy choices in these areas on their own, adults must help guide them. Children should be taught the importance of eating breakfast; be careful of high sugar cereals though. Children should have limited intake of caffeine and sugar especially in the form of soft drinks. A healthy, balanced diet includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Meat should be lean and include poultry and fish. Beans, eggs, nuts and whole grains complete the diet. Children who eat a balanced diet should be able to get all the necessary nutrients from their diet. If a child is a fussy eater or has food allergies limiting certain foods, you may consider giving a children’s multivitamin daily to compensate.
Children today are more prone to be physically inactive as they spend increasing time in front of a television or computer or play video games. Good health in children means exercise and fitness. Children should be physically active for 60 minutes daily. Good activities for children include swimming, bicycling, walking fast, playing basketball, or jumping rope. Children who are physically active will experience many benefits including stronger muscles and bones and a leaner body. They are less likely to be overweight with all of the accompanying difficulties and more likely to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Active children sleep better and can handle stress better.
As a child grows, schedule regular checkups with the pediatrician. These visits will check development and will identify potential problems early. A child should also see a doctor for unexpected increases or decreases in weight, sleep problems, fever over 102 degrees, rash or skin infections, or frequent sore throat.
Natural health supplements are available to help children in a variety of areas. Vitamins can fill in the void left by not eating properly. Some sleep problems may be helped with natural supplements. Doctors are learning more about the possible benefits of certain supplements in relieving symptoms of ADD / ADHD. Check with your pediatrician when adding a supplement to your child’s routine.
Common sense and good practice will put a child on the road to lifetime of good health.
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