As students everywhere head back to school, are we unintentionally sending them into an unsafe environment and risking their health?
Bullies, mass shootings, and predators are the things of nightmares, but the problem I’m talking about sounds less scary than it is and affects far more children.
Schools around our nation continue to cut recess and other time slots that allow kids to move. The goal is improved academic test scores.
However, as a doctor, I am just as concerned with their health scores. And as someone working to prevent as many blood clots as possible through education, prevention, and lymphedema products, removing recess concerns me.
Sitting for Extended Periods of Time Is Bad for Health at Every Age
Extended sitting increases the risk of obesity, type II diabetes, blood clots (also called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), and pulmonary embolism (PE) – even in kids.
You’ve likely seen the TV ads and posters promoting exercise and activities for children to help prevent the health problems described above. Doctors, teachers, health coaches, and a host of others who work with children banded together to help kids avoid early onset of disease and the challenges it brings.
So, it saddens me that when it comes to classroom sitting, far too many school boards fail to apply the very guidelines they otherwise recommend when it comes to children and healthy activity.
In schools without recess, kids may sit for 6-7 hours each day with very little opportunity to move enough to counter the negative side-effects of sitting. Some of them wiggle and squirm in their seats, sometimes getting in trouble for not sitting still, but it isn’t enough to counter the negative health risks of that much sitting.
And typically, those same kids head home at the end of the school day with two to four hours of homework which requires that they sit even more.
It’s easy to feel helpless, but there are things you can do.
- Exert whatever degree of influence you have with your local school board to bring recess back into the curriculum
- Teach your child to pump his or her feet as quietly as possible every time there is a subject change in class (holding their feet slightly off the floor limits noise) – this helps lower their risk of developing a blood clot or PE and provides at least some beneficial movement
- Encourage athletic participation
- Make sure that your child can play and be active for at least an hour most days
- If possible, help your child stay hydrated throughout the day – blood clots are more likely to form when the blood is thick from mild dehydration
Everyone wants their children to grow up happy and healthy. The time to start encouraging habits that result in better mental and physical health is now.
To learn more about DVT/PE, how to identify the signs and symptoms, and find information on effective lymphedema products that help prevent clots, go to www.preventDVTnow.com.