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Caring for the Young

4 Biggest Risks to Children's Health

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Children have always had greater health risks than adults. Childhood health issues can affect growth and development in ways that affect kids for the rest of their lives. While much has been done to protect kids and educate parents on safety and nutrition, there are still serious threats. Here are some of the major health risks to modern children.

Poor Diet

Even in today’s developed countries, poor dietary practices among children are still creating health problems during the critical formative years. Kids and even many adults underestimate the impact of sugary, greasy foods on the body. Many kids go throughout their childhood indulging freely in soda, fries, chips, candy, and other unhealthy treats.

Kids with poor diets may see serious effects by the time they’re 8 years old. It’s important for parents to provide healthy alternatives and constant reminders of the importance of good nutrition.

Obesity

Being overweight to the point of affecting health is increasingly common in all walks of life today. One survey shows that 30 percent of children between two and 11 are overweight. Obesity is a dangerous cycle that progressively lowers physical activity and increases health risks.

Obese people are twice as likely to develop heart disease. Today, many young people who became obese at an early age are facing pre-diabetes risks before they ever reach adulthood. Regular exercise is just as important as proper diet.

Malnutrition

We associate this with populations who don’t have adequate sources of good food. But malnutrition is defined as a lack of sufficient nutrients, not a lack of food. In addition to junk food, kids today are exposed to foodstuffs with elevated levels of sodium, sugar, and chemical preservatives.

High-fructose corn syrup is laden with sugars and short on nutrients, but is added to most “healthy” beverages. It’s important for parents, and kids, to develop a habit of looking at the nutritional labels on the foods they buy.

Disease

Common childhood ailments like mumps or chicken pox are still threats, especially given the movement to avoid childhood vaccinations, and the tendency to over-prescribe antibiotics. This leads to not only weakened immune systems, but new “superbugs” that are resistant to standard antibiotics. Healthcare professionals and government employees equipped with an online public administration master’s degree are in a position to change these perceptions and form more health-conscious policies.

Science is steadily improving the treatment and prevention of illnesses. However, you still need to teach children about healthy lifestyles.