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Help your child live their future with health and confidence.

Health threats in youngsters

Our children are our future and their healthy growth and development is a prime concern for our society. Each child needs to achieve their full potential as a healthy adult. We need to be aware that the health problems of children are indeed different from those of adults. The age of the child is also related to their response to illness, medications, and the environment. Most parents are unaware of the major health threats their kids might be facing. Here are top 5 health threats in youngsters that you should watch out for, in order to be prepared to prevent or reduce their effects.

1.Poor Nutrition

Proper nutrition is absolutely necessary during childhood, which is a time of critical growth. Poor diets may result from lack of food or patterns of eating that lead to insufficient intake of nutrients. Sustained poor nutrition can cause mental and emotional health problems as well as a failure to thrive academically, in children.

Do you know if what your child is eating is nourishing them properly? Ailments like headaches in kids can be traced back to poor eating habits. Children who eat poorly are more likely to develop long-term health problems like osteoporosis and cardiovascular diseases. If a child is eating foods high in sugar, fat, and salt, they will be at risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis when they grow up. Overweight and physically inactive kids may develop type 2 diabetes, the possibility of which soars if they have a family history of the disease. Liver problems, bone growth in the legs, gallstones, polycystic ovary syndrome, and early puberty are among complications of being overweight.

Excessive calorie intake is especially true for children who regularly consume fast food. If the groundwork for such a habit is formed once, children will tend to perpetuate them. Habits like these are extremely difficult to get rid of. Poor nutrition does not let a child develop properly or adapt to certain situations normally. Depression has been linked with skipping meals or overindulging in sugary foods.

Learn about the meal program of the school your child goes to. It is important to know what and how you eat at home. You should have regular family dinners and keep only healthy snacks in your house to model healthy eating at home. Your child should get the required amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients for health.

2.Use of tobacco and smoking

Although smoking causes over 1200 deaths every day, approximately two healthy young adults pick up smoking for the first time with every death. One of the main reasons why youngsters begin smoking is peer pressure. Marketing attraction by tobacco companies entices them as well. Celebrities who smoke are also a great influence for the teens.

General stress related to school, relationships, or family troubles may lead to smoking. Many mistake cigarettes to be effective eliminators of stress. There is a momentary release of dopamine while one is smoking, but their body is really under increased stress. The false feeling of stress relief actually leads to increased blood pressure and heart rate, tense muscles, and constricted blood vessels. There is less oxygen available to the body and the brain.

Smoking creates a continued need to smoke and youth smoking leads to lung development that is limited, subnormal, or stunted. Smoking teens could grow up into adults without lungs that have been developed fully. There is the risk of heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, emotional or psychological stress, as well as premature death.

Cigarettes are more dangerous than alcohols. Other tobacco products, which include pipes, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco are commonly used by the youth. Most regular smokers start smoking before they are 20. Instead of giving threats and ultimatums to your teen, find out why they are smoking. Explain the bad effects of smoking and how difficult it is to quit the habit to them. Take an active stance. Your efforts have more impact than you think they do.

3.Stress

Stress is becoming an increasing problem for children in today’s world. It can accelerate health problems like disruption of eating habits, difficulty concentrating at school, and trouble sleeping. In some cases, in fact, teens are more stressed than adults. One of the main stressors for them is school, which again leads to lower grades.

Due to the stress in their lives, teens reportedly feel irritable, nervous, angry, tired and anxious. Stress exhausts them and they feel helpless in face of the pressure as they do not know what to do actively to manage the stress or deal with the pressure, in most cases. Alarmingly, teen stress experience is very similar to that of adults. But often, the potential impact that stress has on a teen’s physical and mental health is underestimated.

Stress affects the body from head to toe. This is because the body and the mind are closely connected. Procrastinating, feeling overwhelmed, having negative thoughts and experiencing problems with concentrating, if not checked in time, can cause high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, depression and a weakened immune system in general.

You need to provide your teen with better support and health education at home, and ensure they are getting that at school and community level as well. Spend time with them, encourage them to work out, eat well, get adequate sleep, and seek support from psychologists who will help them develop healthy coping mechanisms.

4.Asthma

The leading cause of chronic illness in children is asthma. It can begin at any age and affects about 7 million children in the United States. It is not known why more and more children are developing asthma. The risk factor for developing childhood asthma include nasal allergies (hay fever), eczema (allergic skin rash), a family history of allergies or asthma, low birth weight, frequent respiratory infections and exposure to tobacco smoke before or after birth.

The symptoms of asthma is not similar in all children. Also, symptoms may vary from episode to episode in the same child. Common symptoms include frequent coughing spell, a chronic cough, intermittent rapid breathing, less energy, complaint of chest pain or tightness, wheezing (whistling sound when breathing in or out), retractions (see-saw motions in the chest from laboured breathing), shortness or loss of breath, tightened neck and chest muscles, weakness or tiredness.

Get any illness that complicates your child’s breathing evaluated by your child’s doctor. Until after age 5, tests to confirm asthma may not be accurate. You, as parents, are key in helping the doctor understand your child’s signs and symptoms of asthma. This is because those symptoms may be gone by the time the child is evaluated.

To control asthma in your child, use medications, avoid triggers, and keep an eye on daily asthma symptoms. Keep them away from all sources of smoke. Follow the asthma action plan developed by the doctor which describes when and how your child is to use the asthma medications, what to do when asthma gets worse, and when you should seek emergency care for it.

5.Depression

Let’s face it. It is not normal blues. It is not everyday emotions that occur as a child develops. Childhood depression is something different than both of those things. Persistent sadness, or disruptive behaviour interfering with normal activities, may be indicators of a depressive illness. Depression is a serious illness, but not beyond treatment.

Childhood depression is often left undiagnosed and untreated because of the varied symptoms in children which are easy to be passed off as emotional and psychological changes that normally occur during growth. Many children display low mood or sadness similar to depressed adults. The primary symptoms of such depression are sadness, mood changes and a feeling of hopelessness. Other symptoms might be social withdrawal, increased sensitivity to rejection, changes in sleep and appetite, problems concentrating, crying or vocal outburst, fatigue, low energy, physical complaints not responding to treatment, impaired thinking, reduced ability to function normally, and suicidal or death thoughts.

Depression in children, as in adults, can be caused by a combination of factors related to physical health, family history, life events, environment, biochemical disturbance, and genetic vulnerability. This illness is not a passing mood or a condition that will go away without proper treatment.

Schedule visits with your child’s doctor as well as a mental health care professional. Interviews with you and your child are necessary. Though there are no specific medical or psychological tests that can clearly show depression, questionnaires and personal information are indeed useful in diagnosing depression in children. Treatment options involve psychotherapy and medication. Though it is easier to deny that your child has depression, it is very important to understand depression and its treatment so your child can continue growing in a healthy way.

What you need to keep in mind

Your child has their entire life to look forward to, and so do you. Help your child live their future with health and confidence. Give them the right tools at the right time. Teach them to strike a balance and focus on having fun.

Regularly get your kid checked by a doctor for signs of the health threats we have mentioned in this article. Work with the doctor to ensure that your child is getting the best medical care possible. Support them no matter what. This is the way to give them a better outlook on life.