Stress can impact growth, learning, behavior, immunity, inflammation and disease risk. Diseases linked to stress and inflammation include cardiovascular dysfunctions, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune syndromes and mental illnesses.
Common signs of stress in children and adolescents include learning, behavior, mood and sleep issues-- or frequent headaches, gastrointestinal symptoms, or crying episodes.
To combat the negative effects of stress, Marie Roth, registered dietitian for Blythedale Children’s Hospital & Kohl’s Eat Well, Be Well program recommends parents prioritize the following pillars of health:
Conduct good sleep hygiene and appropriate bedtimes (school-aged children need 9-11 hours of sleep). Parts of the brain linked to deep sleep cycles stop the body’s production of stress hormones. Lack of adequate sleep increases this production.
Implement healthy eating habits to combat stress, support the immune system and protect a child’s development.
Some foods to help destress your life include: whole grains to boost the "happy neurotransmitter serotonin", fruits/veggies to up your immune system and stop production of stress hormones, nuts/seeds to help reduce inflammation and muscle tension, calcium-rich foods to lessen anxiety/mood swings and fatty-fish such as salmon to reduce depressive symptoms and inflammation.
Partake in physical activity to increase the production of “feel-good” neurotransmitters, called endorphins, that improve sleep quality and reduce stress. Kids needs about 60-minutes a day of physical activity.
Limit and monitor screen time. Increased access to media has contributed to the break-down of barriers that protect children from exposures to crime, violence and catastrophic events highlighted in various coverage--impacting and increasing children’s stress levels and their fears.
Mindfulness techniques such as meditation and yoga bolster immune function by reducing stress hormones and has been shown to help reduce anxiety, depression and fatigue.
- Ensuring kids have supportive relationships. Social and emotional connections, alongside secure attachment relationships with parents or caregivers are crucial to buffering stress in children.
These building blocks result in healthier brains and bodies for kids, while also helping to build resiliency against stress.
THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BLYTHEDALE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL AND KOHLS EAT WELL, BE WELL NUTRITION PROGRAM. FOR MORE TIPS AND INFORMATION VISIT WWW.BLYTHEDALE.ORG/KOHLS
Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well Program
Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.
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