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Child Health Day (October)

October 5th is Child Health Day. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to issue a Child Health Day Proclamation, in 1928. A child's health, early in life, can greatly determine their future health. Children ages 0-17 account for 25% of the United States population. Child health issues of concern in the United States are vaccination coverage, weight, childhood nutrition, oral health, and parental smoking.

Getting your child vaccinated is one of the most important and helpful things you can do. The rate of disease in children has been significantly reduced since vaccines were introduced. In the United States in 2005 there were no cases of diphtheria, polio and tetanus for children under the age of 5. The rate of Hepatitis B has dropped 98% since 1990, for children under the age of 13 (Center for Disease Control).

It is important for children to have a well-balanced nutritious diet and exercise. These will help children grow, learn, build strong muscles, have energy, maintain a healthy weight, avoid obesity, get nutrients, and feel good about themselves. According to the Center for Disease Control 17.5 % of children are overweight. Obese children and adolescents are at risk for health problems during their youth and as adults, and they are more likely to become obese as adults.

Children's oral health is a concern because tooth decay affects more children than any chronic infectious disease. Tooth decay and oral problems are preventable. Some measures in which parents can help: encourage children to have nutritious meals, eliminate sugary snacks, provide toothpaste with fluoride, help them floss regularly, and as a parent, practice good oral health. Talk to the child's dentist about dental sealants.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) is not considered a learning disability, but 20-30% of children with ADHD also have a specific learning disability. It is hard for these children to pay attention, focus and concentrate on specific tasks (Learning Disabilities Association of America). If you suspect your child might have ADHD, see your health care provider. Learning disabilities affect one in ten school aged children. Learning disabilities are thought to be caused by a difficulty in the nervous system processing, receiving and communicating information.

Information provided by Brittany Burke, intern working with Dana Breeding, RN Health Educator in Community Wellness, of Augusta Health. To contact Dana H. Breeding RN related to the above information, please call 332-4988 or 932-4988.