Children undergo natural growth spurts under the timing of their body’s hormonal system and guided under the watchful nervous system. But growth means the body needs more materials to build itself up. Food is where we get these building blocks and by the time the digestive system processes the foods we eat they all break down into Proteins, Fats, Carbohydrates, micro-nutrients and water we add to our bodies. You can read other blogs we have written about the sources of each type of food group, but for now we know we have the materials needed for growth and maintenance.
Are there other factors that influence growth? I counsel parents about their teenagers and about how important it is for their children to stay active, get proper sleep and develop good eating habits. It is good advice for any age but ever-so-more-important for the teenager because the body that one creates as a teenager is the body that will carry them most likely through the rest of their life. If, as you become an adult, you are fit and strong, you have the advantage of good reserves of health. If you are overweight or frail, you are at a disadvantage of poor reserves of health and face life an as adult with greater opportunities to get sick and ultimately have a shorter life.
Teenagers need guidance and that usually comes from their parents. Unfortunately, many parents have a limited perspective on giving their children the correct guidance, as it was likely the case of what they did or didn’t receive from their own parents. Today we have access to the Internet and we also know that we can not get all the answers for our professionals. MDs get virtually no formal education on fitness and nutrition. Lucky are you if your family doctor has a personal lifestyle they can share with their patients, because it didn’t come from their medical education.
Chiropractors on the other hand receive years of formal education on fitness and nutrition, on healthy lifestyles because the chiropractic philosophy of natural healing of course also includes healthy lifestyles. You want good advice about how to guide your teenagers on where to focus on healthy habits, see your local chiropractor. Every summer parents need to take their children in for a chiropractic spinal check up, to be sure there is nothing that has happened over the previous year that could affect their growth, their posture and their heath.
Let me give you a personal example. My youngest daughter is now 12 years old, almost 13 and during her summer months we have enrolled her in a dance program with daily physical activities, as we have done every year since age 6. We also have her on a high energy diet and require that she gets from nine (9) to twelve (12) hours of sleep most nights. These three factors need to be implemented together to work:
- physical activity,
- high nutrition and
- lots and lots of sleep.
If we go back to the first paragraph of this blog you will see that we are creating the perfect conditions for our daughter to grow strong and fit. One additional benefit is that this regime will help her grow taller. Yes, that is correct, she will grow taller because of this regiment! There are of course genetic influences as a Filipina, that promotes a shorter stature, but we are measuring more rapid growth following this regime. We will follow this plan her entire teenage years. After all, if she is going to become a chiropractor she will need to be strong and fit to care for the tens of thousands of patients she will care for in her lifetime.
I pray the same for your children, that they enter adulthood with worthy bodies that will support their adult lives into health and longevity. As parents we share that desire.
Yours in Real life and Health,