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Home Health & Nutrition

Doctor’s Chamber

Healthy lifestyle from childhood

Published : Friday, 5 October, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 672

Dr A Hasnat Shaheen  Consultant, Diabetes & Endocrinology Department, Impulse Hospital

Dr A Hasnat Shaheen Consultant, Diabetes & Endocrinology Department, Impulse Hospital

The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) has increased worldwide. Surprisingly, 80% of the four main types of NCDs -- cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes -- now occurring in low and middle income countries. According to WHO, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year, equivalent to 71 per cent of all deaths globally. 15 million people die from a NCD between the ages of 30 and 69 years in every year. Over 85 per cent of these "premature" deaths occur in low and middle income countries.

People of all age groups, regions and countries are affected by NCDs. Rapid unplanned urbanization, globalization of unhealthy lifestyles, physical inactivity, exposure to tobacco smoke are the important risk factors. Unhealthy diets and a lack of physical activity leads to raised blood pressure, increased blood glucose, elevated blood lipids and obesity. An important way to control NCDs is to focus on reducing the risk factors associated with these diseases. That's why it's important to establish healthy habits in children early on.

Fast food consumption has increased dramatically in children as well as the general population day by day. Fast food consumption tends to be associated with an excess intake of undesirable nutrients (sugar, sodium, saturated and trans fats) and a reduced intake of desirable nutrients (e.g. vitamins and minerals from fruits and vegetables, calcium, fiber). A study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that once children have eaten fast food, they consume more calories and fewer nutrients for the rest of the day. Candy, ice cream, chocolate, fast food, beverage this all are junk food.

Healthy lifestyle from childhood

Healthy lifestyle from childhood

The artificial taste of junk food will put your child off healthy food. When this junk food is consumed very often, it contributes to an increased risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and many other chronic health conditions. Packaged juices are low in fiber and high in fructose, which is related to increased insulin resistance. Not only this, artificial flavours and sugar are used to make it more tasty, which are not also good for health. It's always better to have freshly prepared juice rather than packaged juice and consume fresh fruits over fresh juice. Encourage your child to eat at least 5 servings of brightly coloured vegetables and fruits a day. Choose a variety of foods. No single food or food group supplies all the nutrients. Establish a family meal routine, and set times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Eat together whenever possible. Turn off the TV during meals, and limit kids' snacking when watching TV.

Inadequate physical activity and a poor diet can lead to obesity and anxiety in children. Regular physical activity is important for the healthy growth, development and well-being of children and young people.  A 5-12 year olds, kids need to do a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity everyday and shouldn't spend more than two hours a day using electronic media for entertainment. That includes watching TV, playing computer games and surfing the net. But most of the children now a day engage in sedentary activities such as watching TV, playing games in computer or net surfing. Plan a range of active indoor and outdoor games or activities for your children.

TVs, computers, laptops, tablets, and phones out of children's bedrooms, especially at night. To prevent sleep disruption, turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bedtime. Regular sleep deprivation often leads to some pretty difficult behaviours and health problems --irritability, difficulty concentrating, hypertension, obesity, headaches, and depression. Children who get enough sleep have a healthier immune system, and better school performance, behavior, memory, and mental health.

As a part of healthy living, you should educate your children about hygiene and how illnesses are spread. Habits such as washing their hands after using the toilet and before eating, using tissues when they have a cold, and good oral health routines are all learnt in the home. Second hand tobacco smoke has been attributed to health complications in later life, so it is important to ensure that children are not exposed to smoke in the home.

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