Kids can get checked, too. Do kids need regular blood pressure check-ups or regular tests of their blood glucose levels? Probably not - these simple procedures can be done during a child's annual physical. But kids are very active and more frequent chiropractic check-ups are usually a good idea. Most of us were introduced to chiropractic care when we were adults - and we had to play catch-up for however long a period of time before we really began to feel healthy again. If we began chiropractic care as a younger adult, it probably didn't take too long to restore good health. If we were older - well, the process probably took more time.
If chiropractic care is valuable for you, imagine how valuable it is for your children. Kids are natural explorers - they run, jump, climb things, fall down, and bounce around. 1 And, kids are resilient - this ability to recover quickly is one of the great benefits of being very young. Occasionally, one of these activity-related injuries impacts a child's spine. Nothing obvious has happened and nothing hurts. But there may be subtle injuries to spinal muscles and spinal ligaments that have a long-term effect on spinal nerve function.2,3
Spinal nerve function depends on mechanical integrity of the spine itself. If spinal muscles and ligaments are inflamed or irritated, spinal nerve function is compromised to a greater or lesser extent. In a child, the short- and long-term results may include muscle pain and stiffness, loss of full range of motion in the neck or lower back, frequent colds, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, allergies, and asthma. Of course, when it comes to good health for you and your family, preventing a problem is much easier than treating a problem. In the long run, prevention also costs much less. We all want our kids to be healthy and well. We want them to play full-out, to engage in all kinds of sports, and to have a lot of fun. In order for children to continue to enjoy optimal health, regular spinal check-ups are as important as an annual physical exam. Your local chiropractor is the spinal health expert in your community. She will be glad to help you ensure your child's continued good health.
1Barkley JE, et al: Reinforcing value of interval and continuous physical activities in children. Physiol Behav April 16, 2009
2Fecteau D, et al: The effect of concentrating periods of physical activity on the risk of injury in organized sports in a pediatric population. Clin J Sport Med 18(5):410-414, 2008
3Spinks AB, McClure RJ: Quantifying the risk of sports injury: a systematic review of activity-specific rates for children under 16 years of age. Br J Sports Med 41(9):548-557, 2007
Good Nutrition and Lots of Exercise for Healthy Kids
We're in the middle of a raging epidemic affecting America's youth - the obesity epidemic. The number of American adolescents who are obese increased 300% in the last 40 years.
This is a problem that can potentially affect every family. The good news is that in almost all cases, obesity is a lifestyle disorder. In other words, children become obese because of behaviors learned from their friends and their parents.
Healthy eating and regular exercise are the two critically important steps to take to help ensure your child retains an appropriate weight. With respect to healthy eating -
Children need at least an hour of physical activity every day. This includes outdoor play, sports, and calisthenics. Make sure your kids are getting enough exercise!
- Eliminate all trans fats from your children's diet - this includes almost all fast foods
- Cut down on sugary drinks
- Serve at least five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables every day
- Serve complex carbohydrates such as whole grains
- Serve lean meat, fish, and poultry
- Count calories!