Children’s Health – Childhood Health – FRAIL BARQUES ON THE SEA OF LIFE Children’s Health

by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Our Grandparents knew what children needed: fresh air, clean water, good food, and lots of exercise. Children’s Health 

What do they usually get nowadays? Pollution, a pop, french fries (saturated not only with unhealthy fat, but a long list of chemicals too, such as acrylamide, see details as http://www.cspinet.org/new/200206251.html) , and the TV or GameBoy. Facing reality, parents know how hard it is to stem  the tide:  the chances of getting our children voluntarily to do something different from their friends is balanced neatly with the amount of time we are prepared to spend persuading them!  Children’s Health

Teen TV Habit Leads to Adult Dietary Woes – http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/12672 Children’s Health

I remember nostalgically the days when I had my little ones under my complete control:  until they went to school, they thought cornbread was cake.  It was all downhill from there. 

It is now actually a rarity to come across a truly healthy kid and it is becoming clear that chronic childhood problems are not satisfactorily treated by conventional means. Parents are not happy about giving their children drugs, often in increasing quantities over time, often with escalating side effects, and usually without any happy outcome for the health problem originally addressed. Children’s Health

Even the miracle of vaccination, which made such a difference in so many lives, has now become a threat:  I do not see that there can be any question about the connection between the daunting number of childhood vaccinations and the epidemic of autism.  The government is vehemently  rejecting the possibility that mercury might be  the culprit,  at the same time as it recommends discontinuing its use,  but it is entirely possible that simply the burden of so many viruses all at once is too much for the sensitive systems of small children.  Children’s Health

Many parents, alarmed by vaccine related injuries and the possible connection to autism, choose not vaccinate their children. Children’s Health

Ethical issues related to the vaccination of children – http://www.newswithviews.com/Tenpenny/sherri9.htm Children’s Health

Renowned pediatrician Dr. Sears (http://www.askdrsears.com/thevaccinebook/boost_your_childs_immune_system.asp) recommends this routine for children about to be vaccinated, to protect against the effect: Children’s Health

Vitamin A. This specific vitamin helps with neurologic health. It also helps regulate the immune system’s response to infections. Some researchers believe it can play a role in protecting the brain from vaccine side effects. Give vitamin A once a day for 3 days prior to vaccines and continue each day for 10 days after. Infants should get 1500 IUs daily, toddlers and preschoolers 2500 IUs and older kids and teens 5000 IUs.  Another choice would be a total multivitamin liquid or chewable. A better source of Vitamin A is cod liver oil, (Lynn: my emphasis) available at health food stores. The label will say how much Vitamin A is in each teaspoon. You should be aware that overdosing Vitamin A can be toxic, so do not exceed the suggested amounts. I would suggest not using cod liver oil for any baby younger than 9 months. Children’s Health

Vitamin C. This anti-oxidant vitamin can help boost the immune system and may decrease vaccine side effects. Give this once a day for 5 days starting on the day of the shots. Infants should get 150 mg daily, toddlers and preschoolers 250 mg, and older kids and teens 500 mg. Vitamin C drops, chewables, and capsules are available at any health food .. store. The amount of Vitamin C in the multivitamins discussed above (with vitamin A) usually isn’t enough. Children’s Health

We see asthma and ADD/ADHD, autism, obesity and even cancer being diagnosed in ever increasing numbers, robbing kids of their carefree childhood, and we have to ask – what is going on? Children’s Health

When my children were little and we lived in California,  an enlightened teacher there carried out an experiment to teach the kids the importance of good food: she divided up a number of rats into two groups, and fed one group only on some popular sugary cereal and gave them  soda to drink. The other group got the ground up cereal boxes, and water to drink. They had to put an end to the experiment in a very short period of time, because while the group fed on cardboard continued fairly frisky and well, the other group lost their fur, drooped miserably, and were generally so sickly it was obvious they wouldn’t last much longer.  This was a powerful lesson in nutrition! Children’s Health

Asthma and the Mediterranean Diet Children’s Health

The importance of diet overall has come to the fore again in this study, which suggests that breathing problems in kids are improved by 80% if they follow a Mediterranean type diet.  See my article on a Healthy Diet here. Children’s Health

Fortunately the tide is turning, and on every hand  there is advice on limiting calories, choosing foods, avoiding junk, not eating fast foods – I hope some of the suggestions here will make the right choices easier. We must all be concerned with promoting health and ideal weight as an objective that will enable children to enjoy being children. Children’s Health

Little bodies need all possible help to stay strong and well.  I try to explain to parents why their children are frequently sick by comparing them to little paper boats in a pond, affected by the slightest ripple – where we grownups are ocean liners, better able to weather storms. I ask them to imagine how repeated waves will affect the little boats, and then I try to show them how to calm the waters. Children’s Health

  • A wave can easily be as simple as a chemical coloring or a preservative
  • It can VERY easily be a diet made up of too much sugar and other carbohydrates
  • It can be an allergy to milk, wheat or one of many other common intolerances
  • It can be missing breakfast, or starting off the day with the wrong foods.
  • A wave  can be stress experienced because of any one of the thousand things which loom so large in a munchkin’s life.
  • It can be sensitivity to the chemicals and pesticides in and on the foods
  • Or the cumulative effects of the toxins all around us everywhere
  • It can be an inborn nutritional deficiency,  or an immune system weakness.

Stress in children can affect their health, sometimes permanently. Children’s Health

Growth and stress

The hormones of the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal ) axis also influence hormones needed for growth. Prolonged HPA activation will hinder the release of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), both of which are essential for normal growth. Glucocorticoids released during prolonged stress also cause tissues to be less likely to respond to IGF-1. Children with Cushing’s syndrome — which results in high glucocorticoid levels — lose about 7.5 to 8.0 centimeters from their adult height. Children’s Health

Similarly, premature infants are at an increased risk for growth retardation. The stress of surviving in an environment for which they are not yet suited, combined with the prolonged stress of hospitalization in the intensive care unit, presumably activates the HPA axis. Growth retarded fetuses also have higher levels of CRH, ACTH, and cortisol, probably resulting from stress in the womb or exposure to maternal stress hormones. Children’s Health

Old research has also shown that the stress from emotional deprivation or psychological harassment may result in the short stature and delayed physical maturity of the condition known as psychosocial short stature (PSS). Children’s Health

PSS was first discovered in orphanages, in infants who failed to thrive and grow. When these children were placed in caring environments in which they received sufficient attention, their growth resumed.   Children’s Health

National Institute of Health Backgrounder – Stress System Malfunction Could Lead to Serious, Life Threatening Disease – http://www.nih.gov/news/pr/sep2002/nichd-09.htm

It is interesting to find in the same research report, that continued activation of the HPA axis can cause depression, particularly of the kind where the child seems to lose all motivation.  This is definitely a wake-up call to begin teaching our children early the techniques that can help them deal with stressful situations! Children’s Health

On a chemical note, a 1987 study by the National Cancer Institute (Journal NCI 1987;79:36-46) determined that risk of leukemia in children increased by 6 to 9 times if chemicals were used in the family lawn and garden, and by 4 if chemicals were used inside the home. The state of affairs has worsened since then. Children’s Health

Voluntary Children’s Chemical Evaluation Program Children’s Health

Principles for evaluating health risks in children associated with exposure to chemicals –  World health organization – http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2006/924157237X_eng.pdf

Sometimes the ripples can become more threatening as  Doctors use the tools at their command , tools which usually address the results of the problem rather than the causes. When you are treating a sick child, that is not the time to ask WHY is this bacterium triumphant – you have to get rid of it . Unfortunately, however, if one does not subsequently answer that all-important “why”, all too likely the problem will recur. In other words, once the initial emergency is overcome the real healing needs to begin. Children’s Health

When you are dealing with a non-dangerous situation, such as a cold, does it make sense to put your child in danger? Warnings suggest that OTC cold medications are not safe for young children.  This quote from the report gives me extra amusement: “There are no studies demonstrating the safety and effectiveness of cold and cough medications in this under age 2 population,”  says Ian Paul, MD, a pediatrician and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pa.  http://www.webmd.com/content/Article/131/118019.htm?pagenumber=2

I recall very well how frightening it is to be a Mother with a sick child, but with fevers,  remember that high temperatures have a purpose:  they are Nature’s way of fighting a disturbance in the body.  Unless the child is very uncomfortable, it is best to let fever run its course.  Here is an explanation ( including when to worry) with valuable information, though I do not endorse the references to ibuprofen and acetaminophen.  http://www.princetonol.com/family/columns/pedgroup13.html Children’s Health

Zinc Echinacea tablets for Children Children’s Health

Honey A Better Option For Childhood Cough Than Over The Counter Medications – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071203164750.htm

It could not be clearer that it is up to us as concerned parents and grandparents to learn all we can about raising healthy children, and implement it. To discover everything that contributes to ill health, and combat it. Children’s Health

A friend and colleague of mine, Carol Simontacchi, has written a book I cannot recommend too highly Children’s Health

It draws a road map of the effect faulty diet has both on the developing brain  and the susceptible brain of the adolescent.  It is called “The Crazy Makers – or How the Food Industry is destroying our brains and harming our children” and can be ordered from her website here – you will need to scroll down the page to locate it: it is item #10. You will  also find outlines for successful and “do-able” strategies for the family. Children’s Health

When early onset  infections, usually of the ear,  or malfunctions of the immature digestive system are addressed with antibiotics,   an imbalance of gut flora and consequent immune system deficiencies can result, setting the stage for a cycle of  re-infection  and possible  Candida overgrowth. Children’s Health

Almost always these infections are caused by early introduction of proteins harmful to the developing infant’ system, most frequently dairy and/or wheat. If your child is frequently sick, consider removing these foods from the diet long enough to determine whether they are a factor. Children’s Health

Also consider using  three common and very safe supplements Children’s Health

  • larch arabinogalactans, a natural substance which not only helps with immune system strength, but also helps with the needed flora in the intestines.  (More Information.)
  • colostrum the ingredient nature provides in a mother’s first milk to boost immunity in the infant Children’s Health
  • and probiotics.  which inoculate the child’s digestive tract with the friendly bacteria it needs to thrive:  bacteria which are largely eliminated by the use of anti-biotics, which cannot distinguish between the good bacteria we need and the bad bacteria they are taken to control. Children’s Health

Experiencing early and frequent infections ins a child suggests food allergies: consider a digestive enzyme specially formulated for kids.  These can also be indicated and prove helpful when stomach aches are frequent, and/or gas and alternating constipation and diarrhea are present. Children’s Health

I would not see as many children and parents with serious problems, of that I am sure, if the proper groundwork were laid from birth. The number one benefit for any child is definitely the decision of the Mother to nurse. Nothing else can give a baby such a good start in life. Children’s Health

Next in importance is introducing solid foods at the proper age – which I define as around six or seven months – in a sequence which avoids the main allergens. I encourage parents to make their own infant food as much as possible, using organic sources and a blender or baby mill. Children’s Health

Thereafter, a child will be truly blessed if

  • the parents provide and encourage the consumption of plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables,
  • use whole grains,
  • offer lean proteins and healthy dairy,
  • limit fried foods 
  • choose friendly fats,
  • and hold sugars in reserve for treats. (Not rewards, I hasten to add! Just special occasions.)

One simple thing to remember which can make a big difference: Breakfast is always the most important meal of the day, and during the school year skipping breakfast can be disastrous. Children’s Health

In  Minnesota, a ” Breakfast Study” determined that ‘students who ate breakfasts before starting school had a general increase in math grades and reading scores, increased student attention, reduced nurse visits, and improved student behaviors’.  The American Dietetic Association states that children who eat a healthy breakfast ‘meet their daily nutritional needs, keep their weight under control, have lower blood cholesterol levels, attend school more frequently, and make fewer trips to the school nurses office complaining of tummy aches. Children’s Health

Hopefully if this message has been instilled in childhood, when they head off to college it will not be forgotten!  Ignoring the first meal of the day is one of the main reasons for grabbing junk food later, as blood sugar swings cause freak appetites and fast food  is usually the only food available on the run. Children’s Health

Of recent years, research into the importance of certain fatty acids  has proven to be a boon for kids.

It now appears that trans fatty acids are villains not only to our cholesterol levels as adults, but to our children as well  This shouldn’t really come as such a surprise:  My credo has always been that the more the hand of man intervenes between food at its basic and you, the worse off you are:  I have ALWAYS  recommended butter over margarine, as far back as margarine existed!  Children’s Health

A team of Finnish researchers has  found that the kind of fats in children’s diets diet may play a role in the increased incidence of allergies. Their study found that children who eventually developed allergies ate less butter and more margarine compared with children who did not develop allergies. The allergic children also tended to eat less fish, although this dietary difference was not considered  significant. This is not the first  study  to indicate that polyunsaturated fats may play a role in allergies:  fats like those in margarine have been shown  to promote the formation of prostaglandin E2, a substance that promotes inflammation and causes the immune system to release a protein that triggers allergic reactions. Children’s Health
Allergy 2001;56:425-428

Recent research is pointing to a defect in fatty acid metabolism as playing a part  in ADD/ADHD, and for these children (who very often suffer from dry, flaky skin – sometimes behind their ears)  Evening Primrose Oil and DHA prove helpful. Children’s Health

Another point for Grandmother is that Cod Liver Oil appears to be really beneficial for children, helping not only with vision and intelligence, but with immunity as well.  http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/111/1/e39

Recent research is homing in on the fact that children are uniformly low in Vitamin D3. Children’s Health

The link between vitamin D3 and diabetes has been known for quite a while, though the mechanism is not yet explained.  It makes me wonder whether the new phobia about sun exposure may in the long run have unexpected consequences, particularly for our children who would normally be out romping in the vitamin D rich sunshine all summer. Children’s Health

Hypovitaminosis D is associated with insulin resistance and ß cell dysfunction – http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/79/5/820

Sunscreen & Juvenile Diabetes Children’s Health

Vitamin D3 and Young Type 1 Diabetes – http://tinyurl.com/c7zrqu Children’s Health

Does anyone else remember in the Dr. Doolittle books, when he breaks a window, and the policeman asks him whether he did it because he expects to profit from  any injury?  Consider the fact that many of the companies that produce the toxins, also make the drugs prescribed for health conditions resulting from them.  Children’s Health

Quote:” Most of the public is completely unaware of how pervasive toxic chemicals are in our homes and offices. If it were just one or two of the chemicals–the effects might be tolerable. But that is not the case at all because the relentless cumulative and synergistic effects of these chemicals is causing great harm to human, animal and environmental health. Children’s Health

When we, our children and our animals suffer symptoms or become ill, have trouble with our reproductive systems — we spend many thousands of dollars on medical imaging, tests, treatments, operations, hospitals and drugs… a circle of profit that has no equal in the corporate world. Again this year – the chemical/pharmaceutical industry was declared the most profitable industry in the world. Children’s Health

Full story at http://www.redflagsweekly.com/storm_warnings/poison.html.

Consider spending less time keeping your house immaculate, which would free more time for planning your child’s diet.

Not only will this result in a healthier diet, but interesting studies suggest that a little dirt may actually help! In the Journal of the American Medical Association (2002;288:963-972.:  ) lead researcher Dr. Dennis R. Ownby of the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta noted in an interview with Reuters Health that where conventional wisdom has held that having a pet increases a child’s risk of developing an allergy to that animal, evidence is mounting that the opposite is true,” Ownby said. He added that, “surprisingly,” exposure to two dogs or cats also seems to cut the risk of developing other common allergies, such as sensitivity to dust mites and pollen.” Children’s Health

New information is showing that the average home’s “dust” contains high levels of disruptive toxins.  Check the report at http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/contentlookup.cfm?CFID=200059&CFTOKEN=72408018&ucidparam=20030430093800, and then check RESOURCES for links to some informative “Greener Cleaner” sites.  I hope this will inspire you to clean with fewer chemicals, use safer paints and plastics, and most particularly, for those with rug rats, look at eco-carpeting. Children’s Health

A  British study (Archives of Disease in Childhood June 2002;87:26-29 – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=12089117&dopt=Abstract)   also weighs in on the subject of being too clean: that children with the highest degree of personal hygiene — those who washed their faces and hands more than five times per day, cleaned before meals, and bathed more than two times each day — were the most likely to develop eczema and wheezing between the ages of 30 and 42 months ….As the level of hygiene increased, so did the risk of developing eczema or wheezing … The link between hygiene and allergies is in step with the so-called “hygiene hypothesis” — the theory that a lower exposure to germs affects the immune system’s development in such a way that it is more prone to allergic reactions. Children’s Health

Some interesting dirt on anti-bacterial soaps – http://science.howstuffworks.com/question692.htm

I do feel we have reached a point with our food supply where time stresses for the preparer and deteriorating nutritional quality combine to make it very difficult to do the absolute nutritional best for a child. . I therefore encourage  supplementing the child’s diet with a multivitamin and mineral, first checking to make sure that there are no chemicals or coloring agents in it. Children’s Health

An interesting 2008 study suggests that a strong factor in early childhood obesity is the stress level of  the Mother, which is liable to be higher  where money is an issue. Try to relax! You know you are doing your best.  (http://www.modernmedicine.com/modernmedicine/Modern+Medicine+Now/Maternal-Stress-May-Affect-Childhood-Obesity/ArticleNewsFeed/Article/detail/547207Children’s Health

For those little ones who suffer from recurring infections, there are herbal preparations that help boost and protect the immune system. Vitamin C is essential, and I recommend extra, especially if the child has asthma: there is a definite correlation between asthma and low vitamin C levels. The easiest and most tolerable way to give  Vitamin C to children, not to mention the most economical, is to slip a little Vitamin C powder into a drink – orange juice is often ideal. One half of one quarter teaspoon of the powder equals 500 mg of C.  There are also green food preparations which will to a certain extent compensate if your child absolutely WILL NOT eat fruits and vegetables. Children’s Health

The important thing, in my view, is to encourage parents to consider calming the waters before loading ballast onto the boat, to continue with our metaphor. If we can nourish these vulnerable little guys properly with the things their developing bodies need to function and be healthy, perhaps their craft can sail through choppy seas with their sails fair trimmed, and come safely to port in health and happiness. Children’s Health

Fortunately, as I say, times are finally changing. The impact of unhealthy dietary choices on body weight, the possible connection between mercury in vaccines and the epidemic of autism, the link between chemical overload and childhood cancer, combine to bring attention to the problem. Children’s Health

It took an epidemic of childhood obesity to spur the change, and the suffering this will cause to the unfortunates who are the victims of the authorities’  ignorance and apathy cannot at this point be measured, let alone the cost to the nation’s economy. Children’s Health

I expect we all noted this comment much quoted in the news that “Today’s children may be the first generation to live shorter lives than their parents.”

The New England Journal of Medicine published a study in May of 2004 called Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome in Children and Adolescents, by Dr. Ram Wiess MD et al. Children’s Health

They were concerned about the increase in childhood obesity, and studied its effect on metabolic syndrome (syndrome X) inflammation and hormones. They discovered that “the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome increased with the severity of obesity and reached 50 percent in severely obese youngsters.” Also,the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome increased significantly with increasing insulin resistance (P for trend, <0.001) after adjustment for race or ethnic group and the degree of obesity. C-reactive protein levels increased and adiponectin levels decreased with increasing obesity.” Children’s Health

The researchers concluded that blood sugar and lipid disturbances are high when children and adolescents are obese, and become worse as they become heavier.  Not only that, they went so far as to say that the signs of cardiovascular disease were already visible in the children studied. Children’s Health

Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome in Children and Adolescentshttp://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/short/350/23/2362

A 2002 study of nearly 5000 children at the Center for Disease Control by   Dr. Cynthia Ogden and her team found that more than 15% of 6- to 19-year-olds were overweight in 1999-2000, compared with about 11% in 1998-1994. The prevalence of overweight rose to 10% from about 7% among children 2 to 5 years of age. Hardest hit were black and Mexican-American adolescents, in whom the rate of overweight increased more than 10%. (JAMA 2002;288:1723-1732,1772-1773.Children’s Health

Childhood Media exposure linked to a variety of negative consequences later in life – http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/Parenting/12038

Overweight children are compromising their futures, as the research makes clear. Children’s Health

An article in Pediatrics (2001; 107(1): e13) also found that overweight children — those with a body mass index or three skin folds above the gender specific 85th percentile — were more likely to have high levels of C-reactive protein than normal weight children.  In addition,  white blood cell counts were significantly higher among the overweight children. These findings, the researchers concluded, which could not be explained by subclinical disease or other factors associated with inflammation, indicate a “state of low-grade systemic inflammation in overweight children . Although the health effects of low-grade systemic inflammation in children are unknown, in healthy adults it has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus.” Children’s Health

An added risk of cardiovascular disease comes from the fact that a high Body Mass Index (BMI) in childhood is linked to enlarged heart ventricles in adulthood.  Dr. Xiangrong and his team at Tulane University in New Orleans are quoted as saying “Those who had higher levels of childhood adiposity had larger cardiac size 21 years later, and the cumulative burden of adiposity since childhood increased the risk of cardiac enlargement.” Children’s Health

 Dr. José F. Cara, MD,  writing for Reuter’s Health, states as follows:

“You are not alone in noticing an increase in the number of infants and children who are obese (defined as a weight that is 120% of ideal body weight or a body mass index [BMI] greater than 85% for age).[1] Recent statistics indicate that, in the United States, as many as 1 of every 4 children is obese, making excessive body weight one of the most prevalent medical problems facing our society today.[2] In addition to the psychological impact of excess weight, obesity in children is associated with a higher prevalence of hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, and hyperinsulinemia.[2]  As a result, obese children are at greater risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic debilitating conditions.[3] Children’s Health

Treatment of obesity in children must involve the family and must focus on healthy eating and activity through gradual, permanent changes in behavior.[1] Efforts directed at decreasing sedentary behaviors, encouraging increased physical activity, and decreasing caloric intake, while also providing the family with enhanced parenting skills, are key elements in this process. Whereas dietary therapy has traditionally relied on decreasing fat intake, preliminary evidence suggests that a low glycemic index diet may represent a more effective alternative.[4]  http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

We often take advantage of the normal growth process when treating childhood obesity. In such cases, weight maintenance, in the presence of an anticipated increase in height, ultimately results in the normalization of BMI and weight-for-height ratio. However, the choice of weight maintenance vs weight loss depends on the age of the individual, the degree of obesity, and the presence of medical complications.[1] Children’s Health

Obesity in children less than 2 years of age merits special consideration. In general, obese infants less than 2 years of age require consultation with a specialist in pediatric obesity.[1] Once endogenous causes have been excluded, and unless the obesity is severe, treatment relies primarily on weight maintenance rather than weight loss, so that physical growth is not impaired. As in other cases of childhood obesity, ongoing support of the child and family is required for long-term success.

Prevention of childhood obesity is more effective than any treatment of the condition. It must begin when the child is first born, through ongoing dietetic counseling, and with the support of parents and other caretakers. Continued care and follow-up, with measurement and plotting of height and weight on appropriate standardized charts at regular intervals, as well as open and frank discussion of patterns that deviate from the norm, are critical to recognizing and treating obesity early and effectively.” Children’s Health

References

Barlow SE, Dietz WH. Obesity evaluation and treatment: Expert Committee recommendations. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services. Pediatrics. 1998;102:E29.
Freedman DS, Dietz WH, Srinivasan SR, Berenson GS. The relation of overweight to cardiovascular risk factors among children and adolescents: The Bogalusa Heart Study. Pediatrics. 1999;103(pt 1):1175-1182.
Diamond FB Jr. Newer aspects of the pathophysiology, evaluation, and management of obesity in childhood. Curr Opin Pediatr. 1998;10:422-427.
Spieth LE, Harnish JD, Lenders CM, et al. A low-glycemic index diet in the treatment of pediatric obesity. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2000;154:947-951.

To make but one point, remember that estrogen is stored in fatty tissues. An alarming study (Obstet Gynecol 2002;100:288-295.)  looked at the relationship between teenage girls (18 years old ), obesity (BMI of 25 or greater) and subsequent pre-menopausal ovarian cancer –  in a study of 109,445 nurses they found that those who met these criteria were nearly TWICE as likely to develop cancer.

Other pesticide residues also pose unknown risks:  eating an organic diet can limit your child’s exposure. A 2005 study supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency measured pesticide levels in the urine of 23 children before and after a switch to an organic diet. Researchers found that after just five consecutive days on the new diet, specific markers for commonly used pesticides decreased to undetectable levels and remained that way until conventional diets were reintroduced. The study concluded that “an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect” against such pesticide exposure.

There is also a link between low iron in children and obesity.  A 2007 study from Israel determined that iron levels were low in a little over 50% of the weight challenged kids, as opposed to normal weight children.  This could either be because of poor food choices, or because of dietary restrictions in the hope of losing weight.  The result, however, is going partly to be that they do not have the energy to get up off the couch, and lead the active lives they should experience at their age!  A deficiency of this importance opens up the door to a whole new list of possible future  health problems, and it needs to be addressed with diet or supplements.  http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v27/n3/abs/0802224a.html Children’s Health

A similar study in the US in 2007 made the same connection, finding that Hispanic toddlers are at the highest risk. Children’s Health

I am not much given to clichés, but what can one call this but a ticking time bomb?  Children’s Health

These are children who will be  suffering in years to come with diabetes and heart problems, not to mention cancer, gallbladder disease, osteoporosis and sleep apnea: unless something is done who will pay for this disaster, and  the overburdening of our medical system? And how will we live with the guilt of not having done enough to forestall it? Children’s Health

You will find many helpful links in the resources at right to help you guide your child or grandchild into healthier paths without conflict.  Most overweight children want to change:  they want to wear the cool clothes, be picked for the team, get away from the teasing. Children’s Health

Certainly fast food restaurants have to bear their share of the blame: because they are convenient and cheap, and because they know exactly how to appeal to a child’s mind, they have facilitated the raising of a whole generation of super-sized kids, whose taste buds are set for titillation and actually need to be reset to enjoy real food.  Parents are already aware that their children’s health is suffering:  imagine what a difference we could make to this generation and the next if we could influence our kids  early on to  realize the intimate connection between diet and disease. Children’s Health

The big food companies’ recipe for having their cake and eating it too Children’s Health

In 2006, a deal between schools and the major soda companies, brokered by ex-President Clinton, got the headlines.  But it was a feel good solution, illustrating yet again that any step the big corporations take ostensibly on the road to health,  is taken towards bigger profits for them, not better health for us.  All this arrangement guaranteed was that children’s consumption of sodas sweetened with aspartame (the most profitable synthetic sweetener EVER) would increase, since diet sodas are not part of the ban. Children’s Health

Consider the aspartame story – http://www.dorway.com/kids_sweetener.html Children’s Health

We will get nowhere, however, until the children themselves are encouraged to see this as a crusade worth joining, and shown how sweet the fruits of that victory can be for them Children’s Health

Never underestimate the importance of physical activity for keeping children fit and healthy – I quote from the President’s council on Physical fitness: Children’s Health

Rowland and Freedson  (1994) urged that children and youth must develop a lifestyle of regular physical activity to maximize long-term health benefits. To do this, they argued, means “turning children on” to physical activity by making it enjoyable and keeping them coming back because of an intrinsic desire to be physically active. Providing enjoyable experiences is a potent strategy for increasing activity levels in youth, their attitude about the value of exercise, and ultimately long-term health outcomes. But what factors will enhance the probability that physical activity will be fun for children and youth? More specifically, what social-environmental and individual difference factors maintain or enhance children’s interest in participating in physical activity (Weiss,1993b)?Scanlan and her colleagues have conducted several studies on sources of enjoyment among youth in various activities such as club volleyball, Little League baseball, age-group swimming, and high-level figure skating (see Scanlan & Simons, 1992). Robust enjoyment sources included positive social interactions, support, and involvement from parents, coaches, and peers, self-perceptions of physical ability, social recognition of physical competence, effort exerted in learning and demonstrating skills, mastery and achievement of skills, and movement sensations. Movement sensations represent a unique component to physical activity experiences that are not found in other achievement domains
( academic, music, art). Children and youth often report exhilaration  from gliding through the water while swimming or skiing, negotiating a path while speeding on rollerblades, and flipping through the air in gymnastics and skating. We must be mindful of these particular sources of enjoyment as we seek to offer opportunities for experiencing fun.

It has to be fun, and it has to be their achievement.  My personal opinion is that schools have a lot to answer for here:  they focus exclusively on the “athletes” who can be stars, and ignore their duty to foster the healthy mind in the healthy body.

To persist with their efforts, children need to see immediate and direct benefits.  They miss a social circle, they need to be able to deal with bullies, and they need clothes that do not make them feel worse about themselves .  At a lecture given by Dr.Richard  Visser about the problems of obesity among children in Aruba, he made these suggestions, which you might consider relaying to your school: Children’s Health

For the boys – martial art classes.  Instant self respect, future protection against bullies, clothes that suggest status and conceal obesity.

For the girls – dance machines.  Don’t worry!  I didn’t know what they were either.  But if you want to watch your child turn into a moving tornado, I am told this is the way to go.  Getting them to stop is the problem.  http://www.rockolabubbler.com/catalog/dance.htm

Pre-school age children do not get enough fiber Children’s Health

The recommended amount of fiber for each 1000 calories is 14gms:  sources of fiber include whole grains, beans and lentils, fruits and vegetables.  (My article on Fiber has more information) A new study tracked food consumption of 2 to 3 year olds, and then compared it to 4 and 5 year old children.  Remember, food habits are imprinted by the age of 2 – therefore, the finding that the younger group ate less fiber than the older group (not only that, but the contribution to the measurement of high fiber fruits and vegetables was too slight to measure!) and that the fiber intake of BOTH groups was inadequate, is a very disturbing negative indicator of future health problems. Children’s Health

The report did highlight the importance of balance.  Fiber rich foods are not good sources of B12 or calcium, therefore parents need to make sure that proteins and dairy foods are also included in their child’s health, varied diet!  Children’s Health

As long as our schools are not positively involved in finding a solution to promote better health four our kids but are even part of the problem, we will find it difficult to make progress. In many parts of the country, concerned parents have joined a group called EarthSave, which has initiated a healthy lunch program to address this problem. I urge interested parents to contact them at 1509 Seabright Avenue, Suite B1, Santa Cruz, CA 95062 .  They have chapters all over the country now. (see RESOURCES). This program addresses the urgent requests from frustrated parents concerned about the quality of the food served in our schools, which almost every major health organization ( from the American Heart Association to the American Cancer Society)  has condemned as being detrimental to health. To quote from their book The Healthy School Lunch Action Guide “when one looks at what schools feed children every day, it is no wonder that more and more children are being stricken with diseases that once affected adults only”. Children’s Health

At the very least, if you cannot move your school district to action, check out some of the links in RESOURCES, and work at enlisting your children as allies in their own fun health program, together planning and making nutritious lunches for them to take to school, and selecting constructive foods for that all-important meal, breakfast,  based on  the right choices for their bodies. Children’s Health

What is health, if not the welfare of the entire person Children’s Health

Mens sana in corpore sano is not just a saying, but a truth:  the body will not be healthy if the mind is compromised. How are  children in our developing nations faring overall, body mind and soul?  It can only be said – not well.The disaffection runs deep, and it starts where one might not think to look, in the failure of communities as communities. There were wise people who saw the end in the beginning, but were dismissed as alarmists.  And very probably the changes that came could not have been stopped.  The fact remains that for young people today, unless they are highly motivated, or fortunate enough to come from homes with direction and resources -feel THERE IS LITTLE HOPE. Children’s Health

  • Their futures offer nothing but low wage jobs at impersonal  corporations whose head offices and executives are in far-away places.
  • Their nutritional needs are not met, leading to obesity, compromised health and learning disabilities. 
  • Their families are not together or are stressed for time, leading to lack of role models and guidance.
  • And Government is doing nothing to protect or help them, leading to an exacerbation of all of the above. 

The energy crisis, outsourcing, the flight of jobs overseas,
these are the “top line” of the crisis.
The bottom line is the effect it is having on our children and our communities.

Those of us who see the shape of the problem can do a great deal to help, if only we will! The internet has been a boon,  since it enables us to join forces and effectively monitor  abuses:  we can now in our thousands reward right behavior and disparage abuse, with instant results.

What can we do? Children’s Health

  • Help our schools and local governments make decisions friendly to the community and our youth
  • Share information about the prevalence of chemicals in our homes and gardens with others: recommend alternatives that have worked for you.
  • Support and/or join organizations in line with what we want to achieve.  I will continue to make links available as I find them.  Let me have your suggestions.
  • Continue to make healthy, organic choices for our families that support health, and gently recommend them to others

Detoxifying our world and supporting the health of our children is imperative, if the decline we see now is to be halted, and the sad state of our juveniles reversed.  Let’s all do our part. Children’s Health

Find the recommended supplements here

QUICK LINKS

Make it a Hallowed Hallowe’en Reverse Trick or Treating – http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/fairtrade/cocoa/reversetrickortreating/

Safe Carpeting – http://www.naturalhomerugs.com/

Greener Cleaning – http://www.greenpowerchemical.com/

Safer Paint – http://www.gogomama.com/directory/display.cfm?catid=119

Non-toxic Floors – http://www.naturalhomeproducts.com

The Ultimate Lunch Box – http://www.healthychild.com/laptop-lunch-system.htm

Wonderful organic lamb for kids with allergies – http://organiclamb.com

Problems with Teenagers – http://www.psychiatric-disorders.com/warning-signs/index.php

Foster care and Kids with behavioral problems – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A18686-2004Nov28.html

Think you’re giving them Cheese? – http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4015.cfm

Something fishy about crime – http://observer.guardian.co.uk/politics/story/0,6903,1041768,00.html

Nutrition and Aggression – http://www.organicconsumers.org/school/aggression040405.cfm

Great Video of Lunch Ideas – http://www.healthychild.com/healthy-kids-lunch-ideas-video.htm

Sad stories from Fat Kids – http://www.catay.com/fatkid/playground.asp

If Children are our future –  the future is not bright – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070626115359.htm

Children and organic Foods – http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NewScience/oncompounds/OPs/2002/2002-1031curletal.htm

Covenant House – a refuge for runaway kids. – http://www.covenanthouse.org

Designing rules as if community matters – http://www.newrules.org/misc/whynewrules.htm

Information about a low glycemic index diet – http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

Loads of advice from a well known Pediatrician –  Dr. Greene’s website. – http://www.drgreene.com/21_191.html

The heartbreak of being a  Fat Kid – http://www.radiancemagazine.com/kids_project/kids.html

Shapedown for Kids – http://www.shapedown.com/page2.htm

Store Size Caps – http://www.newrules.org/retail/size.html

Journey to Forever –  help for organic gardening – http://journeytoforever.org/garden.htmlGardens Alive – http://www.gardensalive.com/Default.asp?bhcd2=1161180030

The War against Childhood obesity – http://www.childrenshospital.org/dream/DreamWin04/obesity.html

Information about raw milk products – http://www.realmilk.com/where.html

10 Tips for packing a Fun School Lunch from a busy Mom – http://www.holistic.com/holistic/learning.nsf/title/10+Tips+for+Packing+a+Healthy+School+Lunch

Kid-friendly Vegetarian ideas – http://www.vegkitchen.com/kids/lunch.html

Some breakfast ideas. – http://www.fastq.com/~jbpratt/recipes/childrenrecipes.html#Breakfast

Wonderful organic lamb for kids with allergies – http://organiclamb.com

THE Lunch Box! – http://www.healthychild.com/laptop-lunch-system.htmThe Laptop Lunch Box will change the way you view lunch with…

  • Fresh ideas for making wholesome lunches kids love
  • Strategies for improving lunchtime nutrition
  • Tips for picky eaters
  • Quick-reference shopping lists
  • Creative lunch menus
  • Quick and easy kid-friendly recipes
  • Strategies for making the most of your Laptop Lunch
  • Tips for reducing lunchtime waste

Schools and Pesticide use – http://www.beyondpesticides.org/schools/

The latest on MERCURY in children’s vaccines. – http://www.vaccinationnews.com/

A User-friendly Vaccination Schedule – http://www.lewrockwell.com/miller/miller15.html

Indoor Pesticides and Childhood Leukemia – http://www.ourstolenfuture.org/NewScience/human/cancer/2002-08maetal.htm

Other articles you  may find interesting: