Yes, diet and exercise are incredibly important to our health – but keeping healthy kids is about more than that. Here are a few of the many things that affect your kids’ health, beyond what they eat or their extra-curriculars.
It’s well-proven that sleep affects more than just how awake we feel; getting enough sleep is critical to performance, the ability to learn, immune system strength, and even growth. On average, children between five and 12 years old get about 9.5 hours a night, but experts actually recommend that they get 10-11 hours each night.
Everything that goes into those little bodies affects their health – and that includes the air they breathe. Forced air systems are prone to harboring dust mites and mold, as are humidity-holding spaces. This means that, while humidifiers can help to clear colds and congestion, they should only be used when necessary. Dust and mold both can increase susceptibility and risk to asthma and other respiratory issues. Make sure to clean your home’s air vents, replace filters regularly, and use humidifiers and other moisture-inducing systems only when necessary. It also goes without saying that smoking in the home should be a no-go – if you must smoke, take it outside and away from windows and your children.
True health goes just beyond the physical – it’s also about mental and emotional health. Every family is different, as are every child’s needs. What’s important is that you continue to be an open resource and good listener for your child, offering a trusted support system. Encourage them to try new things, teach them healthy behaviors, and be the role model you want them to have.
The Latest and Greatest
New developments are continually unfolding in the children’s health arena. For example, researchers recently found reason to believe that whole-fat milk and dairy products actually promotes reduced body fats… rather than the opposite which was previously common knowledge. New research continually leads to new discoveries – so make a point to read the latest. That said, many discoveries land in theories, so talk to you pediatrician.