Children are either getting obese or wasting away.
TheWorld Health Organization warns that there are more than 42 million children aged five and below are suffering from obesity. These young children are at high risk of developing communicable diseases such as diabetes, which they may carry through adulthood.
The picture on malnourishment is even worse. In 2013, 161 million kids have stunted growth. Moreover, 51 million young children were wasted and 17 million were severely wasted. According to UNICEF, wasting is a form of acute malnutrition characterized by rapid weight loss. Severe wasting can lead to death.
As a parent, it’s your obligation to ensure your kids’ good health. The three pillars of health, balanced diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep, should be prioritized. Explore these five science-backed truths on your kids’ healthy living.
What are the fundamental ways of helping my kid to live a healthy lifestyle? A balanced diet is of chief importance. However, the nutrients your toddler needs are not the same as yours. TheDietary Guidelines for Americans noted that young boys and girls should be getting daily dosage of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy.
The amount of nutrients your kids ingest also varies at different stages of their life. At age two to three, your child must have 1,000 to 1,400 of calories, 2 to 4 ounces of protein, a cup of fruits, a cup of vegetables, 3 to 5 ounces of grains and 2 cups of dairy. Increase the amount of nutrients by a cup or ounce every four years.
Aside from making sure that your kids are eating nutritious foods, you should also take note of the information they are exposed to. A study found that TV food advertising that target young audiences contributes to rising obesity rates. The findings stress the importance of limiting exposure that promote unhealthy foods, “either through reduced television viewing or restrictions on advertising for unhealthy foods.”
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There’s nothing wrong with children who understand how technology works. However, too much of anything can have bad consequences. The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that an “average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” TV tops the list, followed by electronic gadgets.
The importance of physical activities to children cannot be understated. These are effective in controlling weight, cutting down blood pressure levels, reducing risk of diabetes and cancers, and boosts psychological well-being. Experts recommend all children aged two and older to engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities every day. Explore physical activities for kids such as after-school sports, dance or yoga.
Restrict your kids’ screen time as this not only discourages them from going out and sweating under the sun. Exposure to gadgets also disrupts their sleep-wake cycle.
The National Sleep Foundation recently released its new sleep duration recommendations. The charity states that children aged three to five should be getting 10 to 13 hours of quality sleep every day. Children aged six to 13 should be sleeping nine to 11 hours daily while teenagers aged 14 to 17 require eight to 10 hours of uninterrupted zzz’s each night.
How do you guarantee that your young ones are meeting the suggested hours of sleep? First, identify the factors that impact their sleeping habits. Studies show that electronic gadgets emit blue light that trick the brain into thinking that it’s daytime even at bedtime. This delays the secretion of the sleep hormone melatonin. It’s also essential that you create a conducive sleeping environment for your children. The latest in bed mattress technology promotes muscle support, good blood circulation and natural body alignment. Purchase a memory foam mattress, soft pillows and warm blankets.
Living with proper mental health
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Healthy lifestyle tips for children include efforts to ensure their mental well-being. Simply spending time together can boost your child’s mental health as well as improve your relationship with each other. It’s imperative that you listen to your kids when they share things about their lives such as updates in their school life. Let them know that their views matter and you’re ready to listen.
Spending time with your young ones will enable you to detect any mental disorder they may be facing. A growing number of kids suffer from anxiety and depression, Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), autism, conduct disorders and eating disorders. Understand the signs and symptoms of these conditions and seek professional assistance as soon as possible.
Enjoying a stress-free life
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Your kids are vulnerable. They can easily catch habits and ideologies, which can shape their personality through adulthood. Thus, it’s essential to choose your words and actions well when dealing with them. One of the challenges your kids face in their young lives is bullying. Bullying is blamed for various mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders. In extreme cases, it can result to suicidal thoughts.
Your child may be a prey or a predator; either way you should act fast at the first signs of bullying. According to charity KidsHealth, children bully for many reasons such as insecurity, superiority complex or “they simply don’t know that it’s unacceptable to pick on kids who are different because of size, looks, race or religion.”
As their guardian, you should let your kids know that bullying is wrong. Understand the reasons behind their behaviors, whether they’re the bully or the victim. It’s advisable that you talk to other people within their circle—teachers, guidance counselors, friends and even members of your household. Don’t hesitate to speak to a medical practitioner if you feel the need to.
They say that parenthood is the most difficult yet most fulfilling role you’d ever play in your life. Being a mother or a father doesn’t end in sending your kids to college.
Parenthood is a career that lasts a lifetime. Raise well-rounded individuals by giving priority to their physical, mental and even spiritual health.