As parents, we want the best for our children and we try to do everything to protect them; we apply sunblock so they don’t get sunburned, we hold their hands while crossing the street, we make them wear a helmet while riding a bike, and immunize them against diseases. Why would we not protect their sight? If screenings are ignored and poor vision is not corrected, your child’s vision is at risk.
Your spine gives your body support and allows you to move and bend freely. It is made up of small bones called vertebrae that are stacked up on top of each other and separated by soft discs. The vertebrae normally form a straight line from your head to your tailbone with a slight forward curve at the top and backward curve at the bottom of the spine. However, sometimes the spine will rotate and twist and develop an abnormal sideways curve. This is called scoliosis.
Some children and adolescents have high blood pressure as a result of other illnesses. Although uncommon, blood pressure can reach dangerous levels in youth and cause heart failure, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs) or hypertensive encephalopathy (brain blood flow abnormalities leading to brain swelling or decreased blood supply).
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day for children 6 to 17 years old. They recommend a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days a week for adults. An active lifestyle has many benefits for the entire family. It improves cardiovascular fitness, builds strong bones and muscles, and helps to control weight.
You can help your child now to develop healthy behavior patterns that will prevent heart disease as an adult. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among adults in North America but studies show that starting heart-healthy habits in childhood can dramatically decrease the risks later in life.