Children’s good health: Not just for olympic hopefuls

In her hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Olympian Rafaela Silva, 26, was Brazil’s first gold medal this year. The winner in women’s judo, Silva was raised in poverty in one of the city’s infamous favelas.

Olympian Mavis Chirandu, now 21, was years ago abandoned by the side of the road as an infant and grew up in an SOS Children's Village. She is today representing the nation of Zimbabwe as a member of the women’s soccer team at the 2016 Olympics.

These are just two stories from the 11,551 Olympic athletes (the refugee team has many more) from across the globe showcasing their talents at Rio 2016. Those athletes include the media-celebrated USA’s Simone Biles, Laurie Hernandez, Katie Ledecky and Michelle Carter, each who have trained to get where they are. 
Certainly many of them were lucky enough to have a good start on health, beginning in their earliest years. Many others, like Silva or Chirandu, were not.

According to the American Heart Association in a new report in Circulation, most American children do notmeet the seven standards of good heart health, including physical activity and healthy diets.

There is a disconnect between the messaging and the practicality of the overall health of American children, especially poor children. This disparity in early health deserves our attention as it lays the foundation for healthy development throughout their lives. 

In this country, an advertising campaign for milk makes this case explicitly, proclaiming "Nine Out Of 10 U.S. Olympians Say They Drank Milk Growing Up." Good nutrition, healthy habits, safe environments, regular checkups; all of these are essential building blocks for children’s healthy growth.

By the end of the first month, we arranged for the child to see a dentist, who discovered his baby teeth were so badly decayed that he was on the verge of septic shock. Once the dentist operated on his teeth, this little boy began acting completely differently.

He soon engaged with the teacher and the other children. Over the next several weeks, he started using more words, and his language skills improved. He began eating, and as a result he started growing. And he stopped crying. All this time, he’d been trying, without success, to tell his parents, and then us, that he was in pain—but he hadn’t had the words.


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/healthcare/291761-childrens-good-health-not-just-for-olympic-hopefuls

Miranda Landwehr

I address the psychological and social well-being of students, ranging from elementary school to university students.


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