Saturday, September 9, 2006
I am often asked about children's nutrition.What do they need, what should they use,what age to start supplementing, is a drug store brand ok? NO.
So before we get to all of that, lets set the scenario in the United States that most if not all children deal with every day.
Many children are reared through electronic babysitters like television, computers, DVD players and CD players. Their inactivity grows daily as they spend more time sitting and laying around then they do actually moving and playing. Most of the information they receive about diet and food they either see on a commercial or hear about through the media, or hear about it from their friends. Lets face it, commercials do not stress quality food and well balanced diets, it need only be fast, loaded with sugar,overly sweet, microwaveable and ready to go. It also tends to be fried, battered, loaded with carbohydrates, and as far as the beverages go, the sweeter and the more caffeine the better. Television has become a parents best friend and worst enemy at the same time. The advertisers know exactly how and when to run the commercials to get the most attention and bang for their advertising bucks, and it works. As a matter of fact, the Doctors and pharmaceutical companies are even advertising drug therapy on television and adults are drawn right into the commercials as well, and end up asking for the medication at their next Doctors visit. Brilliant these advertisers are, just plain brilliant.
Today's children are actually spoon feeding geriatric diseases to themselves because of this lack of proper nutrition and actually can be overfed and malnutritioned at the same time. It is not uncommon for children under twelve to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and circulatory disease because of their diet and inactivity. Look at the rising percentage of obesity in the United States with adults, and now look at the children. Last week I heard that for the first time ever, today's kids actually have a chance of not living as long as their parents will, there is only one thing to blame this on, and only one, DIET!
Moderation seems to be the key we need to live by, a little of the junk food now and then is not the problem, it is the day after day of making this the diet the one kids know and love and crave. Of course parents cannot be with their children twenty four hours a day, they are sent out into the world and we have to hope they make somewhat good choices. But when they are home and you can control the food, this will make a huge difference in their overall health, vitality, attention span, study habits, mood, focus and their immune system.
We know that when children are eating a balanced diet and have a healthy breakfast every morning and are steered away from the over consumption of carbohydrates and simple sugars, they are more focused and they themselves will tell you they do better in school. I speak to many kids that will admit that they have a hard time concentrating, and it is frustrating to them. Personally I really wonder how many children are diagnosed as being attention challenged, or focus challenged and it really is diet based? I would bet that this number would be staggering.
So let's talk nutrition. Ages infant to two years of age, a good quality liquid multiple vitamin would be the best choice. Liquid vitamin C and a liquid acidophilus will round out the program. Remember your kids are going to be in situations when other kids will be present, so they need to keep their immune systems strong and their defenses up. This can save you a lot of unnecessary antibiotics and Doctors visits.
Ages three to eight, a natural non sugar based chewable multiple vitamin, a chewable vitamin C, and a chewable calcium will do the trick. Give the calcium to them at bedtime, this always helps with nighttime relaxation and growing pains, as well as healthy bones and teeth.
From the age of nine on, a smaller swallowable multiple vitamin, vitamin C, and calcium will suit this age category just fine. This might also be the time to overstress the need for vegetables, fruits, good dairy and healthy snacks and start to preach the importance of fresh water. Kids will eat what is in the house, matter of fact, most kids will eat almost anything, so the more good choices and less bad ones can make the difference. I am not saying they will not moan and groan and want other things, I am just saying when it comes down to it, when they are hungry they will eat.
With the American diet being so de-natured, and all of us needing to survive in a healthy way, we have to fill the dietary voids through supplementation and quality diet choices that make sense for the long haul. Children have the most to lose as their minds and bodies are still developing ,so remember, the better the fuel the better the mileage.