Maintaining a Child’s Healthy Lifestyle

2421 words (10 pages) Essay in Childcare

17/10/17 Childcare Reference this

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1) A healthy lifestyle is paramount for other children and adults to help prevent, or minimize chronic illness and diseases. A healthy lifestyle does not only include diet and exercise but also a healthy mental wellbeing, especially in children. It involves the connection of body and mind; self esteem, self-belief, confidence and building up a natural strength to help them cope during tough times.

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‘Every child matters’ a government programmed, came into affect in 2001 to ensure children have access to health are services, to prevent violence against children in their home and in their community. It is also in place to alleviate child poverty. This program helps children with building confidence and creating support networks so they understand they are not alone.

Leading a healthy life style can prevent diseases such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic heart disease, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer; I will now explore these diseases and ways to prevent them.

It is know fact that the rates of obesity are higher in children who do low levels of exercise than to those who do high, frequent levels of exercise. Exercise is very important for young children in order to keep their bodies from accumulating unnecessary fat, which can lead to chronic illness later on in life such as diabetes. Children who regularly exercise will benefit in better health, not just at present but for future years as their bodies and mind will be conscious of the healthy lifestyle choice they make. Lack of exercise, being over weight and, for adults, exercise alcohol consumption is big risk factors for high blood pressure. It affects approximately one third of the UK. High blood pressure can be treated with medication; however, most of these can produce side affects such as skin irritation, dizziness and feeling drowsy. Some people are able to reduce or even stop treatment if they are able to keep their blood pressure under control whilst on the medication. If patients were educated earlier on how to prevent this chronic illness with lifestyle changes then medication would not be needed.

Type 2 diabetes is another illness that can be controlled by the individual and their lifestyle choices. Along with taking medication, a persons diet and regular exercise are things that need to be addressed. There are over 3.1 million people in England that suffer from diabetes (type 1 +2). It is important to get diagnosed as early as possible to prevent symptoms worsening. Simple things like keeping blood pressure down and weight are two key ways of preventing type 2 diabetes, however type 1 cannot be controlled.

Coronary heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK, it occurs when fatty deposits block the blood supply to the heart. Smoking, having high blood pressure or having diabetes could all cause CHD. Although it cannot be cured there are treatments and lifestyle changes that can reduce further problems such as; lowering cholesterol and maintaining a healthy weight.

Strokes can also occur when the blood supply is restricted from the brain. Strokes happen quickly and often cause disabling complications such as paralysis and permanent numbness. To reduce the risks of suffering a stroke it is advised that we do simple and regular exercise and maintain a healthy weight. In doing this we lower our chances of having a stroke. Smoking is a major factor towards strokes due to the arteries clogging with tar, which causes blood clots.

Another illness that occurs due to smoking is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease; this is a lung condition in which the airways become narrow and damaged. If a smoker stopped smoking after being diagnosed then the progression could be slowed down but not reversed. Keeping a healthy weight and controlling blood pressure along with keeping active and doing specialized breathing techniques are simple but affective steps to reducing the symptoms.

Cancer research UK stated that ‘half of newly diagnosed cancers could be prevented by leading a healthier lifestyle, reducing alcohol intake, eating better, regular exercise, not smoking and safe sun practice.’ By following this simple piece of advice, the majority of these chronic illnesses could be greatly reduced.

Smoking is also a major factor in the development of cancer, 86% of lung cancer deaths in the UK are being attributed to smoking. Research from The International Agency for Research on Cancer has shown that smoking can cause cancer in the liver, mouth, pancreas, stomach, bladder, kidney, cervix, bowel and ovaries. Obesity is a risk factor for several types of cancer; breast, uterus and kidney.

Research shows many chronic diseases are increasing with poor lifestyle choices made by individuals. Education when we are young on how to make good lifestyle choices could greatly reduce the risks of people inflicting these debilitating illnesses upon themselves.

2) Eating a healthy and balanced diet is a strong foundation for a happy child. Making sure that people has the basic knowledge and understanding for a nutritionally balanced diet will help protect them against chronic illness and even behavioral difficulties. Many people are familiar with ‘5 a day’, which encourages us to eat five different fruit and vegetables a day. However there are other groups that need to be included to make up a nutritionally balanced plate. These groups are`;

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Fats i.e. butter and oils
  • Sugars
  • Protein
  • Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a great source of nutrition such as vitamins and iron. Wholegrain varieties are high in fiber, which assists with regular bowel movement, and it helps manage weight. Pulses and lentils also contain fiber along with being low in fat and high in protein. Protein is necessary for growth and to help repair body cells. Another protein is dairy, which contains calcium; essential for healthy, strong bones.

The fat in milk provides calories for young children and has important vitamins (B2+B12). Cows milk is not advised for children less than 12 months due to them not being able to digest the protein. Breast-feeding until the infant is at least 6 months is recommended by ‘The Department of Health’ or formula powder to insure the infant is getting the correct nutrition.

The National Diet and Nutrition Survey suggest that adults and children are consuming more sugar than recommended. The sugars in chocolate and fizzy drinks are bad sugars, which can cause tooth decay (a very current problem in our country). There are naturally occurring sugars that, in moderation, can be beneficial to our bodies, these sugars are found in milk and fruit. The most important and vital food in our diet is fruit and vegetables, as they are a major source in vitamins and minerals. They are beneficial in a variety of ways; lowering risks of many illnesses and diseases such as strokes and also reducing the risk of kidney stones.

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Another important food is meat. Lean mince and fish are healthier options, as they are good sources of vitamin B, zinc and iron. Fish also contains fatty acids, which our body uses to keep cholesterol low. Oils and nuts also provide fats that keep low cholesterol; many vegetarians eat lots of nuts, pulses and quorn to maintain similar levels of these essential vitamins.

Insuring a mixture of all these important food groups will not only keep a balanced and healthy diet but also will insure the body has the necessary tools to best fight off illness and maintain high energy levels. Children benefit greatly from eating healthily as it improves confidence with self-image; steady and healthy energy levels and can help refute behavioral problems. Being aware of healthy eating improves child’s chances of eating a nutritional food as they progress from childhood to adulthood.

3) to help maintain a healthy life style it is beneficiary to exercise. Exercise burns calories and helps build up strength, without exercising your body and muscles would turn into fat and the organs would become unhealthy. Young children can do many different activities to help prolong a healthy and happier life. Joining football clubs, swimming groups or youth groups.

Research from ‘The Lancet Paper ‘ showed that as little as 15 minutes active play per day is all an infant needs to prolong a healthy life. Babies should be encouraged to move around independently by floor play or crawling as often as possible. Having this freedom allows them to strengthen trunk muscles, improve on concentration and move kinesthetically. Crawling also trains their eyes to look both near and far, this is essential for developing binocular vision.

Swimming is another activity that builds on trunk muscles and also social skills. Sessions with mother and infant are great ways to initiate bonding and interaction with other mums and babies. Swimming uses trunk strength that improves infants’ balance and muscles development. Physical exercise can also improve breathing techniques; it strengthens the heart and lungs.

Outings to indoor play centers and leisure centers are other ways of allowing kids to exercise; they run around with friends and other children. Free play also promotes a Childs imagination and creativity; many adventures to jungles and fairy tale worlds can take place in one Play Park. By following a child’s own ideas and other children’s imagination increases a child self esteem and self-awareness, this contributes to a happy, healthy child. Children can also take part in daily activities at home such as helping with gardening, tidying up and even helping with vacuuming, this it all classed as daily exercise but they can be created into fun activities to do with parents, especially when their parents don’t have much free time, school are getting behind this idea to encourage bonding between children and busy working parents.

The government has a duty to protect and promote play opportunities for children and young people. The right to play for al children up to the age of 18 is enshrined in article 31 of the UN Convention on The Right of the Child ratified by the UK Government in 1991. With this law in place many swing parks, play grounds, football fields and more recently skate parks. These areas are for children of all ages to exercise/play and develop social skills. Clubs that teach sports are all essential in building confidence, help to focus their attention and problem solve, these all contribute to strength in mind and emotional development.

Research at Monash University 9part of the National Sleep Foundation) proved, in 2009, that children who take part in daily exercise sleep better at night. ‘In addition to falling asleep faster, very active children slept longer throughout the night’. This quote concludes that active children benefit through all aspects of growing up and staying healthy and when they active this at a young age it teaches them good habits which they will use through their whole life.

4) Well being is; the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy in oneself; a person being comfortable with their existence. A childs well being can have a significant impact on their progress throughout their life. Social and health services aim to use a holistic approach when assisting children and their families. They look at all parts of the child’s life; home, school, psychological, physical and even spiritual being to find a way to best help the individual.

Workshops are run for parents such as the ‘positive parenting program’ which looks at dealing with family bereavement and spotting signs of emotional stress, conflict in the home and strategies to help build confidence in their children and harmony in the house so everyone feels comfortable to express themselves in a save environment. Parenting can be exhausting and sometimes isolating so by using these free workshops it can greatly enhance the wellbeing of the parents, and ultimately, their children helping achieve a healthy wellbeing for the future.

A report published by The National Institute for Clinical Effectiveness, in 2008, wrote ‘childrens social and emotional wellbeing is influenced by a range of factors, from their individual make up, family background to their local community within with they live’, with this in mind we can now find many charities like ‘BIG’, a lottery funded charity, that gives thousands of pounds every year to help continue many different project that work to strive positive mental health, physical health and strong social networks in our communities. There are programs that travel around schools and talk to troubled children about family separation, depression and many other issues.

All these groups and workshops ensure that if and when a family needs help in maintaining the wellbeing of their family unit, they have financially achievable opportunities to meet in a secure, non-judgmental and confidential environment. A place they can discuss the issues and work with practioners on improving skills to enhance the wellbeing of their children and family unit.

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