As a kid, your health is probably the last thing you think about. But the sooner you start paying attention to what’s going on in your body and what you need to stay healthy and strong, the better off you are. Your parents help you out a lot by making sure you have good food to eat and lots of activities to do, but they can’t do all the work themselves. Luckily, parents and children can work together to create the best possible environment.
And parents, your taking the time to teach your child important habits, you’re learning how to raise healthy, happy, kids. These tips ensure your child’s lifestyle is the healthiest it can possibly be. We’ve put together the best health articles for kids to get them excited about their well being.
How Children Can Tap into Brain Power
The brain has different parts that work together. The cerebrum (suh-REE-brum) is the largest part of the brain, and is the thinking part. It’s the part that controls your voluntary muscle movements – the ones that move when you tell them to – like when you’re walking, dancing, or playing sports. It’s also the one you use when you’re thinking hard to solve problems, and where your memories are stored.
The cerebellum (sair-uh-BELL-um) is at the back of your brain, below the cerebrum. It’s the part that controls your balance, movement, and coordination – or how your muscles work together. It’s what allows you to stand up, keep your balance, and move. Without it, you couldn’t stay balanced on a balance beam or a surfboard.
The brain stem is below the cerebellum, but in front of your cerebrum. It’s what connects your brain to your spinal cord. It runs down your neck and back, and handles all the involuntary stuff like breathing, digesting your food, and circulating your blood. It’s basically the brain’s secretary because it sends messages back and forth between your brain and the rest of your body.
Your pituitary (put-TOO-uh-ter-ee) gland is about the size of a pea. It makes and releases the hormones that help you grow. It’s a big part of puberty, or the process you’ll go through as you become a man or a woman.
The hypothalamus (hy-po-THAL-uh-mus) is your body’s thermostat. If you’ve ever seen a box on the wall that controls the heat and air conditioning in your house, that’s what the hypothalamus does for your body. You’ll shiver when you’re too cold, and sweat when you’re too hot, as the body tries to keep your temperature where it should be – at around 98.6°F or 37°C.
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How Children Can Combat Germs
Germs are invaders that can make us sick, causing things like colds, fever, and upset stomachs. They’re living organisms, just like us, but are so small we don’t notice them. There are four types of germs: bacteria (BAK-teer-ee-uh), viruses (VY-rus-iz), fungi (FUN-guy), and protozoa (pro-toh-ZOH-uh).
Bacteria are one-celled creatures that get their nutrition from their environment. They can reproduce in the body or outside the body. When inside the body, they can cause ear infections, sore throats, cavities, and more. But, not all bacteria are bad. Our bodies need them to keep us healthy, too.
Viruses have to be inside something living to survive. When they get inside our bodies and spread, they can cause things like flu, measles, and other diseases. Make sure to wash your hands regularly, since viruses can live on surfaces like door knobs, smartphones, and other things you touch every day.
Fungi are made of many cells that are kind of like plants. But, they can’t make their own food like plants, so they get it from humans, plants, and animals. Many fungi aren’t dangerous for healthy people, but some can cause athlete’s foot – an itchy rash that some teens and adults get between their toes.
Protozoa are like bacteria, except they love water and usually spread disease through. Some of them cause infections in your intestines, which causes you to feel like you’re going to throw up, or means you’ll have diarrhea.
Protect yourself from germs not just by washing your hands, but making sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, getting shots at a routine physician visit, eating healthy, and exercising.
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- Fighting Kids’ Colds
How Kids Can Get the Nutrition & Vitamins They Need
If you’re like most kids, there are some vegetables you don’t like. But fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, which our bodies need to stay healthy and strong. Vitamins are substances found in the food we eat, that your body needs to make sure it grows like it should. Each vitamin has jobs to do in the body, which is why we need so many. That’s why a healthy diet is important.
- Vitamin A from carrots and sweet potatoes help you see in the dark.
- Vitamin B, found in whole grains help you make energy from the food you eat.
- Vitamin C in oranges and spinach helps heal cuts and scrapes.
- Vitamin D in milk helps keep your bones strong.
Eating a nutritious meal every time you eat helps make sure you get all the vitamins you need. Your school lunch is a good place to start for healthy eating. Sugary foods may taste good, but they aren’t high in vitamins. Make sure you only eat those as special treats and not an everyday food.
Your body’s digestive system takes the food you put in your mouth, and runs it through your stomach and intestines to turn into it the things it needs to use to keep your body running.
When you go to the bathroom, you’re getting rid of the digested food and drink and what the body doesn’t need. If you have food allergies, you can’t eat certain foods without causing problems in your body. The good news is, you can outgrow some of them.
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Dental Health: Keeping Your Smile Nice and White
Did you know your teeth care can affect other parts of your body, too? Gum disease can increase the risk of many other serious health issues, including heart attack and stroke. Those are scary things a lot of grown-ups have to deal with, but the best way to make sure you don’t have to is to take care of yourself now.
Brushing and flossing your teeth every day is the best way you can prevent dental decay. According to the National Pediatric Association, it’s important to teach children how to brush their teeth at a young age, and visit the dentist regularly to promote good oral health, even in early childhood.
Make sure you’re brushing and flossing your teeth after every meal. If you can’t brush your teeth after lunch at school, that’s okay, just make sure you brush them before you go to bed. Use a toothpaste with fluoride, because it helps keep your teeth strong. If you need help getting your teeth extra clean, ask your parents.
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How Kids Can Build Strong Bodies
Exercise is important. You should aim to get 60 minutes of activity every day. Running around outside, playing sports, doing push-ups or situps, dancing, or anything that gets you moving can be exercise. Your physical education (PE) class at school counts, but you still need to be doing something active on the weekends to stay in shape.
The heart is a muscle, and it sends blood all throughout your body. It takes your heart less than one minute to pump blood to all the cells in your body. It uses the oxygen you breath in to send oxygen rich blood out, and takes returning blood to the lungs to remove the carbon dioxide when we exhale. The process starts again when we inhale. The heart and lungs work together to keep our oxygen levels right where they need to be.
While it may seem more fun to spend hours watching TV, there’s a reason your parents encourage daily activity. Aerobic (with air) activity helps your heart muscle get stronger, making it do a better job of pumping oxygen and blood through your body. Exercises like running, swimming, jumping rope, skating, or riding a bike are good for your heart. Even with air pollution concerns, getting outside for fresh air is better than staying cooped up inside all day. Just make sure you get your homework done before you go play.
Another kind of exercise helps you build stronger muscles. Push-ups, biking, rowing, and pull-ups are good strength training exercises. Remember, your muscles are your body’s engine – you couldn’t do anything without them. They are the parts of the body that turn energy into motion. Your tongue is a muscle. You need it to talk and eat… and both of those things help keep it strong and healthy.
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How Kids Can Maintain Healthy Social Lives
Depression and youth mental issues are increasingly more common. It’s thought to be a result of increasing technology and digital content consumption, particularly smartphone usage. Because kids are more focused on electronics, we’re starting to see a decrease in attention span.
Technology has also contributed to bullying, because it’s so easy to use the computer to send messages to someone else. Even elementary students are dealing with bullying on new levels. As parents, it’s important to teach kids safety tips they can use both online and off when they are dealing with a bully or peer pressure.
Add to this the hormones and changes kids go through during puberty, and you’re sure to see some sadness and frustration. Focus efforts on family growth and community time, to strengthen your child’s bond with others. Get them involved in activities outside the home – sports or volunteer work – to give them a sense of purpose. This will help improve their overall mental health. It will also help them build social skills to address issues on their own.
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- Children and Divorce: Helping Kids Cope with Separation and Divorce
- What is Peer Pressure?
Healthy living doesn’t have to be difficult. There are public programs available for those who are dealing with poverty and high income families alike to help ensure adults support and learn behavior that builds a solid foundation for children’s development. We hope our tips for parents prove helpful to improving children’s healthcare.