There is a lot of concern about child health in America at the moment. This is not a new phenomenon – Calvin Coolidge instigated the annual ‘Child Health Day’ in 1928. It is held on the first Monday of October each year. Health professionals from all over America meet to discuss child nutrition, fitness, obesity and health education.
Most health professionals agree that the key to healthy choices is education from an early age before bad habits have time to form. Parents need to protect and develop their children’s health from the outset.
Apparently, one in six children in America is obese and this can lead to health problems such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease.
What Can We Do?
The problem today is that children have access to computers, electronic games and of course television. Obviously these are all sedentary pastimes and children are not getting enough exercise.
In the past children would play out on the street with their friends running here, there and everywhere – only coming home when they were hungry or it was getting dark. These days’ security conscious parents are not willing to allow their children out alone – it is much easier and safer to let them sit in front of the television or on a computer. In addition, because of time constraints and work commitments, children are usually driven everywhere by parents.
One solution to this problem is to enroll your child in one of the many child education schemes available. Many of these schemes combine games and exercise and learning and can greatly enhance your child’s social and behavioural skills.
A Child’s Diet Is Important.
Another major problem in child health care is diet.
Firstly it is important to lead by example – overweight parents tend to have overweight children. Serve a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables and watch the portion size – a seven or eight year old does not need an adult portion. Cut down on snacks and fizzy drinks – or make sure snacks are healthy. Children can easily get used to peeled baby carrots (very crunchy and sweet), apple and banana slices or seedless grapes.
If you take your child to one of the excellent child education schemes make sure their lunch box is packed with healthy food.
You can provide peeled sliced raw vegetables with a yoghurt dip, some whole grain bread, a favourite fruit, some cold chicken, a mixed salad with sweet corn and grated carrot – and to drink, water or semi-skimmed milk. Whatever you do leave out the cookies, chips, chocolate and fizzy drinks!