Growing kids develop very strong attachment, likes and dislikes. One of their favourite things in the world is fast food. French fries, burgers, pizzas, chips and aerated drinks – all consumed while watching their favourite cartoons on television. While we are conscious that these food items are not healthy, it is easy to ignore these habits as a part of growing up. But why are we talking about this here? Well, the health problem that’s being linked to brain development stems from this lifestyle. Sadly, it is a disease that has never been linked to young children before. It used to be something only the elderly are afflicted by.
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension.
In a recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, it has been established that increasing numbers of children aged 3 to 18 years now have High Blood Pressure. This is linked almost directly to obesity caused due to poor eating habits and lack of exercise. And this is linked also – alarmingly so – to poor cognitive skills in children. This means reduced ability to remember, pay attention or organize facts.
High blood pressure in children that young? Is this for real? What has always been a disease that doesn’t show itself until senior years and definitely not in young kids, so full of life, is now a childhood reality. As our lifestyles continue to become ‘modern’, our fitness levels are going down. Our kids are becoming obese and it is not something you can ignore or discard as baby fat. What is even more upsetting is that most of these cases go underdiagnosed because we, as parents, refuse to even see this as a possibility.
Signs That Indicate Your Child Could Have High BP
So unusual is this disease in kids that it can often get overlooked. Worse, high BP doesn’t usually even display symptoms in kids! In severe cases, however, it could cause some of the following. Not paying heed to these in early days could become your biggest mistake.
- Visual changes
- Heart palpitations
The Exact Damage That High BP Causes to Your Child’s Brain
As per the study done at the University of Rochester Medical Center, children with high blood pressure performed worse than their peers on tests of memory, speed of processing as well as verbal skills. These are skills that have a direct bearing on how your kids do at school and college.
Studies have also proved that high blood pressure exposes our kids to a host of other health problems such as insulin resistance and obstructive sleep apnea. This further affects their brain power and results in their performing poorly in activities requiring cognitive function. It is till the early 20s that the cognitive areas of the brain develop. Damage to this area in childhood can mean that this development will be hindered. While further research is required to validate these findings, it is nonetheless a loud alarm bell.
What You Must Do To Protect Your Kids From High Blood Pressure
Odd as it seems, it has become imperative to take strong action and prevent your kids from developing this condition. You cannot afford to take anything that threatens their brain lightly! Start following these steps right away:
- Prepare only healthy and nutritious food for your kids which has less oil, is low in saturated fat content and also keeps him full for longer. Here are some great cooking tips that help control obesity in kids.
- Controlling your child’s diet doesn’t mean you have to restrict him from eating everything he loves. You only need to make healthy switches without hampering the taste. Try these food options that can replace your child’s demands for junk. Complement these dishes with colourful crockery and utensils, topped with exclusive attention from Mamma. And yes, he will not mind at all!
- Make sure your kids get enough exercise daily. Restrict screen time and encourage outdoor play to not only boost their fitness levels but also let them enjoy time with nature, friends, and peers. These fun ideas for physical activities will get them going!
- It is advised to take your kids for a periodic blood pressure checkup, especially if you sense any of the symptoms of this problem or have a family history of hypertension. In severe cases, medication may be required.
Our kids are our most precious gift. Let’s not allow anything to affect their happiness and health. Make it a point to improve their lifestyle and eating habits today. If you sense a deeper problem, don’t hesitate or delay in visiting the paediatrician.
As a mom, what do you do to keep your children healthy and fit? Do share your health mantras with us here and let’s help our kids stay energetic and disease-free!
Via The New York Times