Each month has various causes and interests associated with it to increase our public awareness of issues of importance to different groups of people. In the month of May, you have a choice of approximately 70 of these causes to support. They range from National Strawberry Month to National Stroke Awareness Month ; from Jewish-American Heritage Month to Latino Books Month ; from Family Wellness Month to Heal the Children Month ; and so on and so on. As a parent of twins who celebrated their May birthday this past week, I thought that I’d share some thoughts and information on children’s healthcare in today’s world.
Although the theme of this post is on children’s health, it should be understood that it applies to everyone, as parents are the example and inspiration that children follow. In today’s world, prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.
The basics of good health are for the most part, the same as they have been for hundreds of years – Eat right, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, exercise, and spend time in reflection/prayer/meditation. If you follow these rules, you’ll be far healthier than most people. As an adaptation to modern life, I also include frequent detoxification as an additional rule.
For children, sleeping and exercising are usually handled readily at a young age with all of the activity they engage in on a daily basis. Obesity, however, has become a major issue due to the amount of processed foods and sugar-filled drinks that we allow children to consume. At the University of California, San Francisco, researchers emphasize that sugar is a toxin, like tobacco or alcohol, and contributes to the 17% obesity rate for US children and the worldwide epidemic obesity. Processed foods are designed to create cravings toward overconsumption. Replacing sugar-filled drinks with water has many benefits and fulfills one of the rules for a healthy life.
Eating whole foods is so uncommon today that it has to constantly be clarified. Whole foods are items such as meats, eggs, fruits, and vegetables. Most people consider anything that comes in a box or can as a whole food, which they are not. Minimal processing of whole foods helps to retain the nutrients and enzymes they are loaded with. Overcooking anything will destroy the benefits that these foods can offer. Organic should always be first choice whenever possible.
The new foods like soy can be very problematic. Baby girls being fed soy formula can become infertile later on in life. Girls are entering puberty at earlier ages due to the effects of soy, and have a greater risk of estrogen driven cancers later on in life. Staying with the age-old basics makes better sense.
Outdoor activities have been replaced with increasing frequency by TV, X-Box, and many handheld game devices. Finding and designing ways for children to stay active has a tremendous impact on their health for years to come. Interacting with your kids during their activity can help to improve your health, too. Take them to the park and engage them and yourselves in outdoor adventures.
Taking time for reflection/prayer/meditation is something that helps to reduce and ease the effects of a stressful life. This isn’t something that an active or inquisitive child is likely to do. The benefits of this rule in children can be accomplished by increasing the time spent with family. Family activities create a sense of security in children that eases the pressures of life. When practiced throughout one’s life, it can play a role in longevity as revealed in the Blue Zone study.
Detoxification is the necessary new rule that can have lifelong benefits. There are currently over 140,000 chemicals in the environment, with an estimated 2500 new ones being added yearly. Less than 1% have been studied for their effects in adults, and much less than that for their effects on children. According to a study done by the Environmental Working Group, babies are being born pre-polluted. Of the 287 chemicals found in babies in this study, 180 are known to cause cancer, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects. It is now being shown in new studies that these chemicals can alter the health of generations to come. This is very important to understand for anyone who wants to have babies. What you decide to put in your body is a decision that will affect several generations to come. What might not affect someone today could have serious affects for a grandchild or great, grandchild later on.
If for any reason, your child does become sick, consider holistic doctors prior to ever going to an MD. In fact, make holistic doctor visits to chiropractors on a monthly visit for wellness care. When it comes to illness, trying to catch the horse after it has left the barn is always harder.
MDs routinely overprescribe medications to kids with as high as 70% of antibiotics found to be unnecessary. Furthermore, over 90% of medications have never been tested for use in children. Every child who takes a medication becomes a test case.
In a recent study, it showed that Generation Y had filed for more disability days than any other generation before it. The toxic body burden of chemicals is becoming harder to deal with. If we add to that, the chemicals found in foods and liquids, the burden increases dramatically. The answer can never be to add more chemical toxins in the form of medications.