Child Health

By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.

Every year, the number of American children who are overweight or obese increases dramatically. Weight-related conditions rank second only to smoking as a preventable cause of morbidity and mortality, and they account for 300,000 deaths each year (adults and children). Added pounds, especially during childhood, increase the risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, arthritis, gall bladder disease, some gynecologic problems, some cancers, and certain lung ailments.

Having a balanced diet is one of the most important things you can do to improve your child's overall health. Along with physical activity, your child's diet is a key factor that affects your wellbeing. In the age of Internet, more children spend long hours surfing or chatting rather than playing some sort of a sport or having regular activity.

Each year, more than 900,000 Americans die of heart disease. Every year an additional 1.25 million have a nonfatal heart attack. And nearly one-third of adults suffer from high blood pressure, which can, among other things, lead to heart disease and stroke. A major cause of all of the above problems is overweight. Although, the risk of children developing such diseases is minimal, the health of an individual as a child plays an important role in the lifestyle of the individual when he/she grows up. It is generally seen that unhealthy and inactive children are more prone to develop diseases during adulthood.

Here are some tips for your child to stay healthy:

  • It is advisable that you take your child to the doctor and dentist at least once a year. Get all recommended vaccinations done.
  • For many children, it is important to keep up activities that they enjoy and to have regular holidays. Use your free time to develop new activities for your child. Encourage them to learn a new skill such as painting or playing a musical instrument, or take up a new sport.
  • It is important that children interact with other children and have friends. Studies have shown that loneliness can contribute to poor health and illness. Consider having child parties and have other children over at your house.
  • Ensure that your child stays away from drugs. Drugs have become one of the most common issues in schools all around the country. Keep asking your child about his / her whereabouts even if they don't like it. As a parent it is your responsibility to ensure a bright future for your child.

Finally, encourage your children to have more water rather than soda. 85% of brain tissue is water. The brain is about 1/50th of the body's total weight and it uses about 1/20th of the body's blood supply. Dehydration causes energy generation in the brain to decrease. In fact, studies have linked depression and chronic fatigue syndrome in children with less consumption of water.

Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center,