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How parents can help their kids develop healthy habits to reduce cancer risks?

The root of developing any habit dates back to one’s childhood. This is the reason why, as a parent, you can encourage your children to develop healthy habits towards reducing the overall risks of cancer.

As a parent, you are indeed concerned about your child’s health. When it comes to the health of your child, you are not just concerned about your child’s current health, but also about how his or her health will turn out in the long run. Towards ensuring the best of your child’s health at all times, it is important for you to inculcate some of the healthy habits right from childhood. By making your child learn about some of the healthy lifestyle as well as dietary habits, you can help them in preventing a myriad of diseases, including cancer. While you might protect your child from the sunburn and ask them to look both ways while crossing the road, however, how much have you prepared them for preventing cancer?

When we hear of the common health-related terms like “heart diseases,” “high cholesterol,” and “cancer,” we only tend to associate the older adults, and not children. However, given the modern era, it is vital to ask your child to develop healthy habits as soon as possible towards preventing a myriad of such complicated conditions in the future.

Why are Heart Diseases & Cancer Prevention in Kids Spoken Together?

Awareness about heart diseases and cancer in children is a vital concern that most parents in the modern era should pay attention to. Early education and awareness are vital because it is not possible to see cancer. Moreover, it is also not possible to measure heart diseases early in youth. While we are increasingly aware of the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and consuming a healthy diet, it is more important to impart the right health education to the kids right from an early stage in life. Lifetime habits are known to start early in life. As such, how and what your family eats and does on a daily basis can have a major impact on the overall quality of life of your kids.

The parents in the modern era are dealing with problems like their kids not eating too well, child eating junk food, not exercising, and indulging in screen activities on an increased level. While these issues might appear minimal on the front, they could lead to serious health issues in the long run. Therefore, it is important to put a check on them in the early stages of your child’s life as soon as possible. You would definitely not think of breast, endometrial, colorectal, pancreatic, and other types of old-age cancers with respect to the children. However, we are all aware of the fact that obesity and overweight issues are responsible for over 120,000 cases of kids with cancer in the United States of America alone.

In the modern era, at least one in two Americans tend to develop cancer at some point in their lives. However, the good news is that some cancers are preventable when taken care of from an early stage of life. As a parent, therefore, it becomes your duty to inform your child about the right preventive steps when it comes to major diseases, including cancer.

Ways to Help Your Child Prevent Cancer

15th February every year is celebrated across the world as the International Childhood Cancer Day. This auspicious day also marks the need for awareness about the rising issue. Cancer in young kids tends to be significantly different from the cancer development in adults in the manner cancer cells tend to grow & multiply in the body. As such, early detection, diagnosis, and prevention can help in keeping your children safe from the deadly disease.

Parents can look forward to developing healthy habits in the children towards ensuring that they remain safe from the overall risks of developing cancer, and the chances of contracting the diseases also get reduced. Here are some of the ways in which you can encourage your child to remain healthy and stay safe from cancer in the long run:

  • Talk to Your Kids About Tobacco Consumption & Cancer: Tobacco is undeniably one of the major causes of cancer in individuals all around the world. In fact, it is claimed that smoking is the largest preventable cause of cancer in the world. Continuous consumption of tobacco products has been associated with an increased risk of developing several types of cancers including lung cancer, esophageal cancer, liver, kidney, stomach, throat, mouth cancer, and so more. Even people who have the habit of using smokeless tobacco (chewing or sniffing tobacco) have increased risks of developing mouth cancer, pancreatic cancer, and esophageal cancer.

The reason it is important to educate your children about the relationship between tobacco consumption and cancer is that most individuals start smoking as soon as they reach adolescence. Nearly 9 of 10 smokers confirmed that they started smoking as early as 18 years, and around 98 percent by the age of 26 years. In a study conducted in 2017, it was reported that every 5 high school students confirmed having used a tobacco-based product in the early days of their high school. Talk to your children about why you would not want them to use tobacco. While first-hand smoking it harmful, you should also make your kids aware of the harmful effects of second-hand smoking (smoking from the cigarettes of other people).

  • Ask Them to Stay Safe in the Sun: As far as sun safety is concerned, children are the first individuals who should be imparted education on the same. This is because kids love being outdoors most of the time. While you should not limit their outdoor activities as it is vital for the overall health & physical activities, it is imperative for you to enlighten them about sun safety tips at the earliest. Excessive exposure of the skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays can cause significant skin damage while also enhancing the risks of developing skin cancer in the long run.

It is important to ask your children to take preventive steps to stay safe while playing outdoors in ample sunlight. Always ask them to wear proper shades and sun-protective clothing to dissuade the UV rays from entering their skin. Moreover, you should also ask your kids to stay hydrated at all time while being out in the sun. Make it a point to apply a sunscreen or sunblock of high SPF (more than 30) on all the exposed areas of your child’s body. Try asking them to stay indoors during the peak hours of sunlight (from 10 am to 4 pm). You should also ask your child to refrain from using tanning beds at all costs.

  • Help Kids in Maintaining a Healthy Weight: Effective weight management –right from childhood, is of vital importance. Most parents nowadays have to deal with their kids being overweight or obese. It is a major problem that leads to a myriad of various other diseases and health problems in later life. The number of cases of children with obesity has significantly increased in the past few decades. It could be easily associated with unhealthy eating habits, poor lifestyle habits, and lack of physical activities in children. Obesity in children could lead to a wide range of physical as well as mental health issues, including cancer.

Children with obesity or overweight issues tend to have increased risk factors for heart diseases including high cholesterol and high blood pressure than their peers with normal body weight. Therefore, it is recommended to keep a check on the overall body weight of children from quite an early age. As a parent, you can emphasize balancing calories to help them develop healthy eating habits. You should help your children in being aware of what is healthy for them and how they can reduce the temptation for calorie-rich foods. Encourage them to eat plenty of healthy foods from an early stage of life.

  • Develop Healthy Eating Habits: Towards maintaining balanced body weight, it is important to ask your child to develop a healthy eating habit. You can get your child involved in the kitchen area early by developing child-friendly balanced meal plans as well as cooking healthy recipes –together as a family. Stacy Kennedy –a famous dietician, says that when you share meals as a family, it helps in introducing healthy eating habits right from the beginning. The family dinner is a primary aspect that is related to the academic success of a child as well –even more than several hours that are spent in doing homework, tutoring, and playing sports. Therefore, it is recommended that you should sit with your child often at meal times to encourage him or her to eat healthily.

Some of the most vital aspects of ensuring healthy eating in children are portion controlling and cutting down how much fat & sugar your child eats or drinks on a daily basis. For reducing fat intake in the diet of your child for promoting a healthy body weight, you can consider serving non-fat or low fat dairy products, whole grain cereals or breads, healthy snacks including veggies & fruits, and reduced intake of red & processed meat. Moreover, you should also discourage your kid from having high sugary drinks on a frequent basis.

  • Promoting Exercises: Physical activity is vital to ensuring great health throughout your child’s life. While traditionally, it is believed that children love playing and doing physical activities, the modern-day lifestyle of young kids speaks quite the contrary. It is quite common to observe the modern-day children stuck to playing video games or watching online videos rather than breaking a leg or two in the parks –out in the open. This tends to have a detrimental effect on the overall physical as well as mental upliftment of the kids. Therefore, as a parent, it is your responsibility to reduce or stop the screen time altogether by promoting healthy exercises and physical activities in children.

There are several types of kid-friendly exercises and physical activities that you can ask your child to engage in. Staying fit is not required to become a chore for your kids. It should be rather promoted as a fun activity that your kids can enjoy with you. Try establishing an exercising routine like going on hiking trips together, or family walks to a park or outdoor activities. You can also talk to your kid about the overall importance of doing exercises on a daily basis. You should be welcome to suggestions from them as well on new types of physical activities like yoga or karate that they would like to indulge in.

Conclusion

As you familiarize your kids with preventive steps to remaining safe from cancer, it should only help in inculcating healthy habits in your child’s routine. As you do so, you can help your children know about the potential risks of different types of cancers from quite an early stage and how they can remain safe from the same. If you go into screening regularly for different types of cancers including breast cancer, colon cancer, or colorectal cancer, it is imperative for you to talk to your children about why you chose the same and how it will help you in staying healthy in the long run. As you would model healthy behavior for your children, it will help your kids to know exactly what they should do for themselves when the need arises.

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