Children and Adolescence Health

Are you planning to have a family with children? Are you currently raising one child or even more?  As parents, we encounter family problems on a weekly and even daily basis.  Now parents face a more serious problem (a must read). American children are facing unprecedented health challenges due to the consumption of refined and processed foods.  In fact, you may be the first generation of parents that will raise children that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Children while young may not look like they have health challenges. Not all children that eat refined or processed foods are overweight.  However, you may see other health problems develop.  Your child may be suffering from frequent ear infections, a cold or sore throat that seems to never quit go away or they may have persistent  sinus or upper respiratory allergies and infections or digestive issues such as stomach cramping, constipation or diarrhea.  They may have behavior problems at school or they may lack the ability to concentrate during school. This can happen when the body is nutrient deficient and can’t build a strong body or build a strong immune system. One fact you can bank on, a diet consistent in refined and processed foods will put your children at a very high risk for a future filled with adverse health conditions and diseases.

The Influence of a Mother’s Health

The health of a child actually begins before conception! If a mother has been getting good nutrition and has been taking care of herself, her baby will have the best chance of being born healthy, has less risk of birth defects and future childhood and adult illness.  Research has actually shown us that the health of the mother influences her child all through their life even through their adult years. If you are in child bearing years, your health is very important for both you and your baby. To build a great body for you and your child, make sure you are exercising and getting great nutrition.

The nutritional needs for children are different from those for adults. As they mature and graduate into adolescence, their nutritional needs will change again.  It’s important to make sure children are getting great nutrition to build a healthy brain, strong muscles and bones. In addition, exercise and physical activity are very important for the health of your children. They need to be involved in physical activities like soccer, baseball, gymnastics, volleyball, after school programs at your local health club or YMCA.  Make family activities a priority each week. As a family take walks, go on picnics, explore trails, and go to your nearest playground and play together,

As parents, you must lead the way for your children; you must set the example for them.  It doesn’t make sense for you to be making healthy changes for your children and not for yourself, it will not work.  The best way to make sure your children are getting adequate nutrition is to feed them wholesome foods that build health. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds are loaded with health building carbohydrates, fats, protein and powerful antioxidants and other phytonutrients. If selecting meats, use free range turkey and chicken, if selecting fish, use wild caught cold water fish like salmon, halibut, cod, Alaskan whiting and tuna.

Brain, skeletal and muscle-building nutrients are vital for a young body.  Healthy fats, including some saturated fats, are critical for brain development. The Omega families of fats are considered essential fatty acids because they are important for health and are only achieved through our diet.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Most Americans are deficient in Omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, flax seeds and walnuts are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Very good sources of these healthy fats include scallops, cauliflower, cabbage, cloves and mustard seeds. Good sources of these fats include halibut, shrimp, cod, tuna, soybeans, tofu, kale, collard greens, and Brussels sprouts.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 6 fatty acids are very common in our diet and therefore is not an issue for the average person.

What foods should be avoided or limited?

How does this affect your children?

  • “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents. "American Heart Association"
  • Childhood obesity will lead to early heart disease, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancers.  

Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/22525

  • Two years ago, the American Pediatric Association recommended that children between the ages of 2 and 10 get screened for heart and cholesterol problems if they are overweight or their parents are overweight, have high cholesterol or smoke.
  • We are now seeing children under the age of 12 developing heart disease, high cholesterol and adult onset diabetes (Type II ).

Scientific Proof, we and our children are getting fatter!  

·         Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.1,2  during this same time period.

       Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.5

·         Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.3,6

·         Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and are therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.6   

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/

Why are we having this problem?

  • Convenience has robbed us of our health. McDonalds or Burger King on the way home is the norm. Quick foods at home are poisoning our bodies.  For example, pizza, pop tarts, sugar-coated cereals, instant flavored oatmeal, soft drinks, sugary drinks, instant grits, doughnuts, pastries, white bread, white rice, chicken nuggets, french fries, tater tots, hash browns, macaroni and cheese, meals in a bag, biscuits and jelly, drive through meals, candies, etc…. are full of fat, sugar, calories and very little nutrition to build a healthy brain or body.
  • Lack of physical activity is increasing. Our body adapts to the demands we put on it. If we do not move, our body has no reason to give us more energy to move or to build stronger bones and muscles. Exercise is required for a healthy body.

The Nutritional Basics for a Healthy Child

A healthy diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent obesity and weight-related diseases, such as diabetes. The following guidelines will help you give your child a nutritious diet:

  • Offer a minimum of 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables a day
  • Everyone should start the day with a nutritious breakfast.
  • Choose healthy sources of protein, such as lean meats, nut, beans, lintels and eggs
  • Serve whole-grain breads and cereals because they are high in fiber
  • Broil, grill or steam foods instead of frying them
  • Avoid fast food and junk food
  • Offer water and/or milk substitutes (almond milk) instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas
  • Do not give in to your child’s demands for unhealthy foods. Their whining will stop eventually, and they will eat when they get hungry, as long as YOU DO NOT GIVE INTO THEIR DEMANDS. You are the parent and must take control.

As a parent, learn about your child’s nutrient requirements. Some of them, such as the requirements for iron and calcium, change as your child ages.

Source: http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/22525

How to Get You Child to Eat More Veggies

Video 1 Disguise Healthy Foods

Video 2 Food Games, Smoothies, Tricks

Video 3 Easy Ways to Get Vegetables into Your Child's Diet

Video 4 Make Eating Healthy Fun!

Video 5 How to Handle a Picky Eater

Video 6 Veggie Pancakes

Children Resource Links

In summary, eat a bounty nutritious foods, eliminate as many refined and processed foods as possible,  stay away from fried foods, avoid foods and drinks with added sugars, play with your children often and encourage them to get outside and play with other children their age. 

Calorie and Protein needs for children by age.


Age

Energy

Protein

k. cal

g

Children

4-6

1,800

30/24


7-10

2,400/

2,000

36/28

Males

15-18

3,000

54/59

 










Females

15-18

2,100

48/44