As parents, you want what is best for your children. However, some of the things that affect health outcomes may surprise you. Whether you have a house full of kids, or you have just started thinking about adding to your family, knowing the factors that affect childhood health outcomes is an important tool for supporting healthy development.
How you care for your body before and during pregnancy will have a major impact on fetal development. For some parents, that means continuing an already healthy lifestyle. For others, however, it could mean a lot of changes. Remembering that these will help your baby be healthier can make it a little easier to accept those changes. Try to participate in moderate physical activity, eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of water, and take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid for the best results. Even if you do everything right, there can still be complications during pregnancy and childbirth. After all, it is a messy and complicated process. It is important to learn more about problems that might arise so you can be prepared.
The air, water and general environment where children are raised play a huge role in health outcomes. Poor air quality, for example, can result in increased rates of asthma, allergies and other respiratory disorders. Certain contaminants, such s some molds and secondhand smoke can also contribute to additional conditions.
Water that is contaminated with chemicals, microbes and metals contributes to a host of health problems. Lead in drinking water has been shown to cause neurological conditions and learning delays in children. It can also cause fetal complications whence consumed by expectant mothers.
Children need access to healthy foods to develop strong bodies and immune systems. There are numerous assistance programs in place to help families provide nutritious foods to children. Unfortunately, even with these programs, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that many children do not get the recommended amount of healthy fruits and vegetables each day.
Kids need exercise to grow strong muscles and bones. Medical experts generally recommend that kids spend at least one hour per day engaged in physical activity. Since they are naturally full of energy and enthusiasm, ready to explore and play, that should be no problem at all. However, children are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Encouraging active play can help your children get enough exercise to support healthy positive health outcomes.
Proper prenatal care is crucial to supporting babies’ development. Providing clean air and drinking water, proper nutrition and opportunities for exercise helps kids stay healthy and develop positive lifestyle behaviors.