Helping children be healthy and happy
With 1 in 5 reception children being an unhealthy weight, Healthy Peterborough is highlighting how small changes in diet and moving more will have huge benefits.
- Babies and children should be encouraged to eat healthily from the very start. From 0-6 months it is recommended babies are exclusively breastfed to protect against illness and infection. At around 6 months you should start to introduce your baby to solid foods.Visit the www.nhsuk/start4life for further guidance.
- As a parent, you may not like seeing your baby or child being given an injection. However, vaccinations will help protect them against a range of serious and potentially fatal diseases. Routine free vaccines are offered at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks, 1 year, 3 years, and 14 years of age. Children aged 2-7 receive the flu vaccine and 12 year old girls also receive HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. . If you’re not sure whether your child has had all of their vaccinations ask your GP. Find out about the vaccines at http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/vaccinations.
- Children under 5 should do 3 hours of activity each day. For babies this means wiggling and kicking, and as they get older, crawling, dancing and playing. Make use of Vivacity Peterborough’s free swimming for under 5s. Find out more atwww.vivacity-peterborough.com/sport.
- Children and young people (aged 5-16 years) should enjoy at least an hour of physical activity each day. Activity helps to strengthen muscles and bones, and improves fitness. It builds confidence and improves concentration and learning at school. Visit www.nhs.uk/Change4Life for fun ideas on how to get active and to find local activities.
- Sitting still for too long can put us more at risk of poor health. This may be time spent sitting at the TV or computer. Break up long periods of sitting with just one or two minutes of movement every half hour. You could do the 10 Minute Shakeup Disney inspired games at www.nhs.uk/10-minute-shake-up.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet. Aim to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables varieties every day. It can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. Make sure children have breakfast each morning and limit high fat, salt and sugar in food and drinks. Find out how to achieve a healthy, nutritious diet at www.nhs.uk/livewell/healthy-eating.
- Children are consuming three times as much sugar as recommended. Give smaller portions or swap high sugar items for similar choices with less sugar. Get the new Be Food Smart app at www.nhs.uk/change4life to find out how much sugar is in food and drink.
- It's easy to overlook, but choosing healthier drinks is a key part of getting a balanced diet. Keep children hydrated with 6-8 glasses of fluid each day. Water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks all count. Avoid drinks with high sugar content like fizzy drinks and squashes. If you or your children like fizzy drinks, try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water instead.
- Keep dentist trips to a minimum by getting into a regular teeth-cleaning routine by brushing teeth twice a day. Children don't need to use special "children's toothpaste". In fact, some of them don’t have enough fluoride in them to help prevent tooth decay. Children of all ages can use family toothpaste, as long as it contains 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride. Brush up your teeth cleaning knowledge at www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth.
- Growing up can be a challenge. Half of all mental health problems start before the age of 14. If you are worried about a child then encouraging them to talk about their feelings. Check out www.keep-your-head.com for guidance and local support.