Several tips for getting the young ones back to school in good shape to learn sound like classic healthcare advice – sort of medical. Indeed, some of life’s greatest threats from chronic disease can and do originate during school days for many people. Obesity from high-carb intake and inactivity, for example, begins increasingly early. It is a contributing factor to some of the biggest killers around, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes.
So knowing where your child stands with regard to body-mass index, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and even serum cholesterol in some families is a good idea at the beginning of the school year, so that you’ve got a point of reference for tracking. Because problems with eyesight emerge during school days and often go undiscovered, include an eye exam in your back-to-school tests, too. Getting this baseline is the beginning of a healthy way to monitor your child’s well-being as the school year unfolds.
Immunizations are basic, even required by some school systems, and that goes for parents as well as children, because the family is a health system environment. August is designated National Immunization Awareness Month to remind people of the importance of making sure everyone’s immunizations are up-to-date. It’s a good time to see a family physician.
Some Tips Don’t Sound “Medical”
Many of the most interesting back-to-school health tips sound more like family life and parenting skills than medicine. In fact, you might say that back-to-school is just a distillation of things we should pay attention to continually. One of the best reminder lists of back-to-school health tips comes from Johns Hopkins University, and it serves as a good outline for those parenting priorities.
For one thing, many – if not most – of today’s children are sleep-deprived. Sleep has never been more challenged than now in the digital age and, in many ways, children face the greatest risk. Their bodies and minds are doing most everything we do, plus they’re growing and developing in new ways all the time. Mobile devices are cutting into their sleep time, research shows.
Many of us don’t realize that sleep is just as important as diet and exercise for children’s healthy growth. In fact, most kids need eight to 10 hours of sleep per night. As with adults, too much interest in electronic devices robs children of some of these important hours of sleep. Disconnecting for a good night’s sleep calls for some parental encouragement, a kind of digital curfew. It may take some repetition, but the effort is worth it.
Your Child’s Advocate
Many top-five lists for back-to-school health remind us of the active role parents can play in relating to teachers and the whole school environment. This back-to-school time reminds us of the joys as well as the responsibilities of being a parent. Often, the job calls for the professional awareness and skills of a family physician, too, and we’d be proud to become yours. Just call us at 843-815-6468 to get started.