Kidney health for kids is a growing concern in America. If children are made aware of the importance of their kidneys and learn how to take care of them, it could help increase kidney health in the long run. The summer is an interesting time as kids no longer have the steady routine of school and can either move towards active, healthy activities or become sluggish. Adult family members should take advantage of summertime to help prepare kids to take care of their kidneys and their bodies in general.
Tip 1: Educate
Most kids, and even some adults, don’t know all the things their kidneys do. For such a vital organ, the kidneys’ role in the body, filtering out waste, remains surprisingly obscure. It is important to educate yourself before you pass knowledge onto your children, so take some time to read about all the functions the kidney has in your body.
Spend time with your children going over educational materials, making sure they understand and have a chance to voice all their questions. If you are wondering where to start, try these sources:
Tip 2: Communicate
Kidney health is, in part, influenced by genetics. Talk to your kids about family history. These familial connections help kids better visualize health situations and understand how it applies to them. Personalizing their kidney health education also encourages them to take action in their own lives and begin caring for their bodies early on.
Always keep the lines of communication open between you, your child and anyone involved in their overall health program.
Tip 3: Exercise
The tip that is on almost every health article: exercise. It keeps popping up because it has yet to be beaten by any other health advice. Without school, summer can be a non-active time for kids. Even if your child doesn’t usually compete in sports, it is helpful to get kids engaged in a summer activity or league that encourages movement.
Exercise is a great way to keep your body healthy:
- Exercise instills healthy habits at a young age
- A properly functioning body helps take the strain off your kidneys
- Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight
Caution is recommended with endurance training though. According to a new Yale-led study, physical stress such as that experienced when running a marathon is linked to short-term kidney injury. Safety should be the top priority when enrolling your child in a sport: emphasize how important safety equipment is and control the length and intensity of each exercise session to make sure your child doesn’t overdo it in the summer heat. Encourage healthy sports habits and make sure everyone stays well hydrated.
Tip 4: Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is one of the primary ways to take care of your children’s kidneys. Eating healthy at home helps instill healthy eating habits early on that will help control weight and improve overall well-being. Avoiding caffeine drinks like soda and keeping your teenagers from drinking coffee is another important step for protecting their kidneys as the processed drinks may create extra work for the organ.
During summer, when your children don’t have to worry about school, it is good idea to get them involved in the cooking process. Depending on their age and their experience, there is always something they can do to help. Getting them to adopt a low-oxalate diet or help create a low-oxalate recipe will help give them a proper start, or will help ease them into the transition and give them a personal investment in it.
The summer can be a great time to instill healthy habits in your children that can last a lifetime. They have more time to be active, explore new hobbies, and most importantly, spend time with you. Aim to be a positive influence in the health of your child and commit to making healthy decisions together.