Prescriptions for Outdoor Activity

The Outdoor Foundation and ParkRx are organizations that promote and support outdoor activities for children.  In an era in which childhood obesity is affecting a third of the youth in this country, organizations that favor good habits for children have our support and endorsement.

soap-bubbles-322212_1920The Outdoor Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 foundation established by Outdoor Industry Association to inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts. Its vision is to be a driving force behind a massive increase in active outdoor recreation in America. You can learn more about them here.

ParkRx (Park Prescriptions) are programs designed in collaboration among public land agencies, healthcare providers, and community partners to encourage people to utilize parks, trails, and open space for the purpose of improving individual and community health. ParkRx programs give healthcare providers a new set of tools to inspire patients to take proactive steps to improve their health. Parks and public lands are free or low-cost resources in many communities and provide excellent areas to recreate and play. Additionally, parks provide patients with exposure to nature, which has been scientifically proven to improve mental, physical, and social health. Learn more about ParkRx by clicking here.

So why should children play outside? Here are just a few of the health benefits:

  • Builds Up their Immune System: when playing outside, children are exposed to dirt, animals, pests, bacteria and everything else that send modern-day parents running. While we like to think that dirt, animals, pests and bacteria do more harm than good it’s actually the opposite. When your children come into contact with these things in a natural way (outside) and on a regular basis, they are less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies.
  • Provides Exercise: Playing outside provides children with something many children don’t get enough of anymore – exercise. Exercising while having fun is the best kind of exercise, and that’s exactly what playing outside does.
  • Stimulates the Imagination: Sadly, one of the things that today’s children are lacking is an imagination. This is because we’re in the technological age – today children are literally shown everything. Why go outside and play cops and robbers when we can watch a movie about it or play a video game? Playing outside helps children develop their imagination.
  • Promotes Problem Solving Skills: Children who play outside learn how to solve real life problems better than children who are always in their rooms playing video games or secluding themselves.
  • Provides Vitamin D: It’s important that your children get Vitamin D, which is provided by the sun. Vitamin D helps promote better moods, energy levels, memory, overall health and more.

Keep Kids’ Teeth Healthy in the Summer

watermelon-846357_1280Don’t take a break from dental health this summer!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), tooth decay affects children in the U.S. more than any other chronic, infectious disease.

Children are especially prone to cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to problems with eating, speaking, playing and even learning.

To combat tooth decay and keep kids’ teeth healthy all summer long, here are some suggestions for families:

  1. Plan healthy breakfasts. Schedules ease up in the summer with kids getting up later in the morning and tending to their own breakfasts. Make sure there is fresh seasonal fruit available for kids to choose over sugary cereals. Hard boiled eggs make a great snack and good source of protein without the sugars so many breakfast meals contain.
  2. Watch the soda intake. Hot summer months and enticing soda commercials can trigger a campaign by kids to get you to bring home the cola. Try to resist and encourage ice water with a lemon slice or other infused fruit to sweeten the deal. Soda is the worst nightmare for your child’s dental health. Do your best to keep it out of the house.
  3. Going on a trip? Pack healthy snacks and drinks. Whether you are going on a day trip to the pool or a longer vacation, it can be difficult to find healthy food options on the go. Vending machines, the ice cream man and the food hut rarely offer non-greasy foods or low-sugar snacks that are good for the body and teeth. Bring the good stuff with you. Fresh strawberries can satisfy the sweet cravings and while there is natural sugar in those as well – you are better off with a berry over a snow cone.
  4. Brush, brush, brush. Summer nights may also come with later bed times. Active days outside in the sun tire us all out and parents need to make sure their sleepy heads tend to their teeth before drifting off at night. Make sure your kids brush after dinner. If they have a snack before bedtime, the last thing in their mouths should be their tooth brushes. Sugar has a field day overnight in a mouth and it’s important for kids to brush and rinse out the day’s meals and snacks before hitting the pillow.
  5. Practice the 3-2-1 rule. Eat 3 healthy meals, brush 2 times and floss 1 time every day.
  6. Schedule a dental checkup. Take advantage of this time when your child won’t have to miss school to get that necessary dental check-up. During your child’s summer check-up, the dental team will likely perform a cleaning, check for any cavities or other oral health problems, and take the opportunity to reinforce the importance of good brushing and flossing habits. Children should get a dental checkup every six months.

Survey says City Kids are at Increased Risk for Eye, Dental Problems

This study was conducted in India, a much poorer country than the United States. But the findings certainly do give pause and food for thought.

NAVI MUMBAI – A recent survey undertaken at a health check up camp in a Sanpada school, threw up some worrying results about the general health condition of the city children.

child-753775_1280Around 600 students were medically examined recently by a panel of doctors from Fortis Hospital Vashi. It was found that 90% of the students had myopic vision, 70-90% suffered from coughs and colds and 90-95% of those screened in the age group of 5 to 6 years, had dental problems.

Also, 70-80% were suffering from respiratory disorders like allergies and asthma.

The Jaipuriar School students who were screened for dental problems, 90-95% were found to have severe dental problems including caries and tooth decay.

The students ranged from nursery to Class X and the camp was to identify dental, vision-related and paediatric problems.

The doctors were taken aback by the findings, as neither students or parents were aware of these health issues.

Dr. Bipin Chevale, facility director of the hospital said, “The finding is a cause of concern. Children of all ages are susceptible to infections and diseases, most of which go undetected as they are ignored by the adults. While most of these problems identified are seemingly minor, they can become serious if not controlled in time.”
The eye check-up results of the students were also serious, as 90% of those screened suffered from myopic (short-sighted) vision. Among others, 5% students had reflective errors (blurry vision); 2% were suffering from hypermetropia (long-sightedness); 8% had astigmatisam (seeing distorted images) and about 2% had squint.
The doctors, along with their teams, who were part of the camp were ophthalmologist Dr. Harshwardhan Ghorpade, pediatrician Dr. Shatdeepa Goswami and Dr. Ajay Mathur, who heads the dental department at the hospital.