Kids need to be at the top of their game while they are in the classroom. The evidence is mounting that children who maintain a healthy lifestyle are better learners than those who do not. As a parent, you may be straining to find ways to keep your kids on their A-game. Check out these hard facts related to kids’ health and tips to keep your child successful at school from UnityPoint Health - Trinity in the Quad Cities.
The Hard Facts
First, let’s begin with the numbers. One-third of children in the United States are either overweight or obese. This is caused by more calories being consumed than burned off. A child that is either overweight or obese will experience both short-term and long-term effects on their health. Short-term health effects include being:
- more likely to develop risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
- likely to develop prediabetes, which indicates a high risk for the development of diabetes.
- at a greater risk for joint problems, sleep apnea, and psychological problems resulting from poor self-esteem.
The long-term effects of a child being overweight or obese include continued obesity into adulthood, which will heighten the risk of health problems such as:
- heart disease
- type 2 diabetes
- different types of cancer.
Helping your kids develop healthy habits, such as regular physical activity and eating healthy foods, can prevent obesity and the development of diseases related to being overweight or obese.
Keeping Kids Healthy
It’s important to make sure children are eating nutritious foods. A child’s day should begin by eating a breakfast packed with nutrients. Research done in the Journal of School Health found that skipping breakfast can lead to a decline in a child’s overall performance because of lack of:
- problem-solving skills
Breakfast gives children the energy their bodies need. Kids who eat breakfast tend to eat healthier foods and are more likely to engage in physical activities. Also, breakfast can help manage a child’s weight by kick-starting their metabolism. A healthy breakfast a child may like includes:
- whole-grain waffles
- peanut butter on a whole-grain bagel
- or a vegetable omelet
Children take in half of their daily recommended amount of calories at school. Many schools are now providing lunches that are more nutritious. Do you pack your child’s lunch? Fill the lunch box with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Not only does physical exercise help keep a child fit, but it improves brain function.. A kid doesn’t have to be a star athlete to get active. Just 60 minutes of activity a day has shown to help increase a child’s focus, boost their academic performance and improve their school attendance.
There are several things parents can do to make sure their child gets the regular physical activity they need.
- Choose appropriate activities for the child’s age. If the activity isn’t age-appropriate, the child could become frustrated.
- Focus on fun. If it’s not something the child enjoys, he or she will not want to do it. When a child enjoys the activity, they’ll want to do it more often. This allows them to focus on a skill and feel accomplished.
- Help them be active. Parents can help children be more active by providing them the things they need to get going. That could mean giving them sports equipment or having a family outing at the playground.
Don’t Forget Sleep
A sleepy child will have a hard time concentrating while at school. School-age children need approximately 10 to 12 hours of sleep a night, which they don’t always get because of homework, technology, sports and hectic schedules. Establish a bedtime routine that is consistent, especially during the school week.
How UnityPoint Health - Trinity Can Help
Make sure your kids are healthy by scheduling a back-to-school physical for your child today. Call your primary care provider at one of our convenient Quad Cities locations. Are you in search of a provider to perform the physical? Have no fear. Find the doctor that’s best for your child and your family today!