Parents Can Set Up Children For Lifetime of Good Health
Despite material abundance and technological success, or perhaps because of it, statistics show that our children are part of one of the unhealthiest generations in world history.
For example, obesity has nearly quintupled among children, since the 1970s.
Nurturing their children's emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health, may be a parent's most important role. While genetics play a role, parents and extended family can help children prevent many childhood health conditions. The second task, which may actually be more important, is to help them prevent serious chronic and life-threatening health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, cancer, that begin, not as adults, but in early childhood.
As a parent of two teenagers, I know the challenges of parenting in these "advanced" technological times. Landmines exist at every turn. It takes courage and commitment for parents to not be co-opted by food manufacturers propaganda or to say NO to children's request to buy them the newest, heavily-advertised technological gadget.
One of the principles of naturopathic medicine is to treat the person, not just the disease.
The following are a few optimal health principles for parents to consider:
- Limit electronic gadgetry (i.e. TV, computer, game systems) to no more than two hours a day, and replace leisure time with physical activity
- Plan family day trips and vacations with vigorous activity in mind, such as hiking
- Require children to do physically active household chores, such as raking leaves
- Bring only healthy food into the house. A healthy diet for the entire family could include: wild, caught salmon; organic, healthy meat and dairy; beans and lentils; nuts, nut butter and seeds; fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables; home-made fruit smoothies; healthy oils such as olive, pure coconut; whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth and barley.
- Limit: fast food, processed and packaged food, white flour and sugar, hydrogenated oils
- The average American eats only 19 different foods per week, resulting in hidden food allergies, creating inflammation, and many serious illnesses, such as ADD. Consider an IgG food allergy test for your children to make sure that the foods they are eating are not making them sick.
- Avoid routine use of antibiotics for childhood illnesses which can lead to candida yeast overgrowth later.
- Angry, emotionally abusive words to children, can lead to severe emotional problems later.
- Parental modeling of asking children for forgiveness is critical to an emotionally healthy family.
- Make sure children, of all ages, get enough sleep.
Dr. Dennis Godby, Doctor of Naturopathy, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached online or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.
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