Monday, 22 August 2011

The Patterns of Childhood Illnesses are Changing

Current implications for childhood illness suggests that diet and lifestyle factors play a significant role in the rise in certain conditions.  This is compounded by reduced exposure to helpful germs, reduced vitamin D levels and diets high in refined processed foods that are high in sugar and poor quality fats.

Here are some fascinating recent stats.

  • Allergies have increased by 7 times, up to 50% of kids have allergies
  • Asthma affects 36% of children in Australia.  In 1965 it affected 1.9%
  • 11% of school age children are diagnosed with ADHD
  • Autism affects 1/100 children.  In 1985 it was 4/10,000
All these conditions share an underlying immune system shift.  Largely this is driven by poor digestive function and development that is primed in the pre-natal period.  We know that babies born under stressful circumstances, who are not breastfed and introduced inappropriate foods too early are more likely to develop these conditions. We also know that certain foods, natural food chemicals and artificial additives can do similar damage.  Setting off inflammation in the digestive tract that affects brain function and neurotransmission.  

The important thing is to allow our children to develop healthy robust immune systems.  Here is a couple of tips.
  • Avoid unnecessary antibiotic overuse.  There are alternatives that are safe and effective
  • Introduce solids to babies at around 6 months.  
  • Support immune function using a child/baby specific probiotic. (don't by supermarket quality, these may be doing harm)
  • Provide a diet that is low reactive and full of fresh, seasonal organic produce with a healthy and varied array of  proteins, fruits and veg, grains and essential fatty acids
  • Allow your child to spend time outside getting sun exposure in the safe times of day