Friday, May 23, 2014

Kids' Health Starts with Exercise, Nutrition and Nature

Starting kids on a healthy path is the best way to help them form habits to keep them healthy for life.

Kids holding fresh produce.
Keeping lots of vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods around helps encourage good nutrition.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever for children to form healthy habits.

Regular exercise, good nutrition and, when necessary, natural remedies, all help keep children healthy so they can grow into healthy adults. But parents don’t always have the easiest path to get there.

Good Health Starts with You

Because nutrition is one of the basics of good health, most parents try to provide their children with lots of vegetables, fruits and other healthy foods, then struggle when their picky eaters refuse to eat them.

“Set a good example,” says Kelly Morrow, MS, RD, CD, who supervises nutrition appointments at Bastyr Center for Natural Health. “Eating well-balanced meals with kids is the most powerful way parents can teach their kids about good nutrition. “Shop and cook with kids. Go to the farmers market, grow a garden, involve them in meal planning and teach them about the food groups. These are all great ways to make eating fun and healthy.”

Natural Remedies to the Rescue

Sometimes removing certain foods from your child's diet is also beneficial. Emily Lesnak, ND, who sees children in Bastyr Center’s Pediatric Wellness shift, shares the story of a young patient with attention deficit disorder (ADD) who showed immediate improvements in concentration and grades after removing dairy from her diet.

“Kids spring back pretty quickly and respond quickly to simple changes,” Dr. Lesnak says. In her young patient’s case, an undiagnosed dairy sensitivity was exacerbating her ADD symptoms.

Similarly, herbal remedies can help your child’s well-being, including:

  • Chamomile tea for difficulty sleeping
  • Lavender essential oil to help children go to sleep and stay asleep
  • Elderberry for flu prevention and coughs. “You can give it to kids as a syrup that tastes good so they’ll even ask for it,” Dr. Lesnak says
  • Herbal salves for when kids are feeling ill or get minor injuries

It is also good to learn about proper sun protection and how that balances out with getting the proper amount of vitamin D. Bee stings and mosquito bites are often successfully treated with homeopathic medicines.

“Kids respond really well to homeopathic medicines,” Dr. Lesnak says.

Well-Child Visits $20 July-August 2014

Bastyr Center’s Pediatric Wellness shift is open to families seeking well-child care and medical care for acute and chronic conditions, including:

  • Fever
  • Colds
  • Flu Rashes
  • Earaches
  • Cough
  • Allergies
  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Behavior disorders
  • Sleep disorders

Well-Child Visits at Bastyr Center, which cost just $20 in July and August 2014, include a complete physical exam and assessment of your child’s physical and emotional development.

To make an appointment or to learn more about Bastyr Center’s Pediatric Wellness Care shift, call (206) 834-4100.

Learn how natural medicine can help your family stay healthy at the free Living Naturally talk “Keeping Kids Healthy Naturally” with Emily Lesnak, ND, from 6-7:30 p.m. Monday, June 2, 2014, at Bastyr Center for Natural Health.

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