By Lauren Crosby, MD, FAAP
Every Kid Healthy Week happens the last week of April every year. It’s encouraged for families, schools, communities, and caretakers to act on improving our kids’ social, emotional, physical, and nutritional well-being. The goal is to teach our young people the importance of taking care of one’s health early in life. By doing so, they have a foundation that promotes lifelong health habits that can reduce the chances of both present and future health issues.
To help get everyone involved in our children’s health and wellness year-round, below are simple actions everyone can try.
I recommend that school-aged children participate in 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, as this helps prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Plus, it builds strong bones, improves sleep and mood, and aids in stress management. Also, research suggests that kids who regularly exercise tend to have a healthier gut microbiome, improved digestion, and a more robust immune system.
However, only some children enjoy team or individual sports or general physical activity. Today, with the rise of tech devices and e-gaming, many children have developed unhealthy habits of sitting on the couch, snacking, watching TV, scrolling on phones, or playing video games for hours. This is where adults can help and be a good example by participating in some form of regular exercise themselves and with the whole family.
Going on walks, hiking, or bike rides together can make it more fun for a child, and they might participate more often. Explore various physical activities and see what sticks, turn active time into games like scavenger hunts or hide-and-go-seek, get kids involved in planning, or encourage trying one new activity a week.
A healthy diet contributes to life-long health by preventing many chronic diseases that physical activity prevents. And when it comes to the day-to-day health benefits of eating a well-balanced diet, it also correlates to better mental and digestive health.
Kids should start their day with a nutritious breakfast that includes some fruit, protein, dairy, or whole grains, which are rich in vitamins, nutrients, minerals, and pre-and probiotics. Sending kids to school with a full belly of healthy foods gives them the energy they need for a successful school day. Furthermore, research has shown that breakfast eaters have better brain function and attention and perform better on standardized tests. Avoid foods high in sugar, such as frosted cereals and cinnamon buns, and never skip breakfast.
However, many children are picky or have poor-quality diets and, as a result, have an increased frequency of gastrointestinal and upper respiratory infections. This can translate to missing school and skipping fun activities. It can also mean taking an antibiotic for the sickness, which can disrupt the gut’s microbiome (or health), causing gastrointestinal discomfort or diarrhea.
Just like I’d recommend a multivitamin to fill nutritional gaps and to maintain the immune system, I recommend supplementing with a researched-backed probiotic. Adding a daily probiotic, such as TruBiotics Kids Chewables or TruBitoics Kids Gummies has been clinically shown to support children’s developing digestive and immune systems, helping them stay healthy. They also help with the frequency and consistency of bowel movements, so kids feel better, eat better, and function better.
What I like about TruBiotics Kids Chewables is that the product uses two of the most clinically researched probiotic strains—Bifidobacterium animalis BB-12 and Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (LGG)– to support digestive and immune health for children ages 2+. Several other studies also have demonstrated that the probiotic strains decrease the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory tract infections.
For kids over the age of 3, TruBiotics Kids Probiotic Gummies use another clinically researched probiotic strain—Bacillus–which helps decrease the frequency of hard stools, diarrhea, and GI discomfort and positively supports a healthy gut. Unlike other gummy supplements, these gummies are also sugar-free and have Vitamin C to provide extra immune support.
While Every Kid Healthy Week is just one week a year, we want kids to be healthy every day, so they feel good and learn better. Incorporating the above tips into a child’s daily routine gives them a foundation to work with now and to build on for future health.