The importance of a healthy lifestyle for our children
The last few weeks have seen a huge amount of media coverage on the impact of diet and activity levels on the long-term health of our children. This follows the publication of two Government reports looking at these important areas.
The Department of Health commissioned SACN (Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition) to review the influence of maternal, fetal and child nutrition on the development of chronic disease (e.g. obesity, heart disease, diabetes) in later life.
They have also issued guidance on the level of activity we should all, including children, should undertake.
These reports highlight how important it is for us parents to encourage our children to take regular and sufficient physical activity and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Of course, we’re often hearing about how a good, well-balanced diet with sufficient, but not too much, energy is vital for good health at all stages of life, but this is the first time we’re being told how much exercise our young children should actually be doing.
In the UK, pre-school children have been shown to spend on average 2-2.5 hours a day being active, but the new recommendation is that they should do at least 3 hours per day, once they can walk unaided. This could be any form of activity, ranging from riding a bike, running, climbing, jumping, skipping, walking to swimming. Even before they can walk unaided, you should encourage your baby to take part in floor-based play such as rolling, reaching for and grasping things, pulling and pushing objects, and water-based activities. The report also discourages all of us from keeping our under 5s restrained in buggies, car seats or baby bouncers, or leaving them sitting in front of TV or computer screens, for extended periods.
Are your children active enough, what is their favourite activity, do you have any issues with this new recommendation, is this advice practical for you and your family? We’d love to hear from you.
Off for a run now!
Diabetes in children
14th November every year is World Diabetes Day, a globally-celebrated event to increase awareness of diabetes. This date is chosen because it marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin with Charles Best in 1922.
Insulin is a hormone, produced in the pancreas, which in diabetes is either not produced in enough quantities or the body isn’t able to use properly. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, and insulin helps this glucose in the blood get into the cells of the body where it is converted into energy. In diabetes, sugar levels in the blood build up and this can cause all sorts of problems.
The most common type of diabetes in children is ‘Type 1 diabetes’ and this needs to be treated with daily insulin injections and a carefully controlled diet in order to bring blood glucose levels within a healthy range. This type of diabetes cannot be cured and the exact cause remains a mystery. Thankfully, diabetes in children is a relatively uncommon disease, but the overall incidence of diabetes amongst children is rising. In recent years there has been the emergence of children suffering from another form of diabetes known as ‘Type 2 diabetes’, which is associated with increased levels of obesity and unhealthy diets. This form of the disease can usually be treated with lifestyle changes, including a healthier diet and more exercise.
Early warning symptoms of Type 1 diabetes include thirst, tiredness, weight loss, stomach aches and frequent urination. Diagnosis will be followed up with specialist care by specifically trained medical staff and a specialist dietitian. Diabetic children can eat exactly the same food as non-diabetics, but it is essential the diet is balanced and healthy, and particular care must be taken to balance the amounts of carbohydrate in the diet with the insulin injections the child receives. Exercise also plays an important role in all children with diabetes.
Of course, this isn’t the time or place to go into more details about the specific details of raising a child with diabetes, but if you’re interested in finding out more why not visit the following links:
Bye for now,
Tags: babies, healthy, Helen, Hipp Organic, nutrition, symptoms, insulin, diabetes, glucose, sugar, carbohydrates, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes
Categories: Baby development