Key Health Issues
Encouraging children to take good care of their teeth is important. Developing good habits in childhood may help to prevent dental health problems in later life.
Despite ongoing public health concerns, dental health remains a low priority for many families, particularly those whose children have other health problems. Good dental health enables children to develop their speech, language and overall contribute to their general health and well being.
- Children’s teeth usually start to appear between 6-9 months of age
- Brush your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear
- Brush for two minutes in the morning and two minutes before bed
- Toothpaste should have a fluoride content of 1350 – 1500ppm, fluoride helps to strengthen the teeth (fluoride content can be found on the back of the toothpaste)
- Use an age appropriate toothbrush and replace when the bristles become splayed
- Encourage children to brush all their teeth and all of the tooth surfaces
- Children should be supervised brushing their teeth until they are at least 6 or 7 years old
- The main cause of tooth decay is sugar, sugary foods and drinks should be kept to mealtimes only
- A child’s normal fluid intake should ideally be water and milk, milk is full of minerals and helps to build strong teeth and bones
Being overweight or obese can do serious damage to your health, and in recent years the matter has become a major public health issue. Obesity rates in children are rising rapidly and, if current trends continue, a startling 50% of Liverpool’s young people will be classified overweight or obese by 2020. (LPCT 2008).
Healthy Weight Healthy Liverpool (LPCT 2008) they conclude that obesity is associated with changes in work and leisure time. Today’s children tend to be more sedentary than previous generations, with most being driven to and from school and choosing computer games and television over active, outdoor activities.
Food production and marketing has also had an impact on the amount of unhealthy food being consumed. Unhealthy foods are advertised frequently and are seen by many as a time and money saving option.
- A healthy diet is made up of five different food groups as shown on the ‘Eatwell Plate.’
- Eat a healthy breakfast and you’ll be less likely to snack before lunch.
- Only eat fatty and sugary foods in small amounts. Fruit and vegetables make great snacks.
- Don’t shop when you are hungry, make a list and stick to it.
- Boredom, stress, lack of time and habit may encourage you to overeat or drink.
- A healthy weight can be maintained by eating the right amount of healthy food and regular exercise.
- The recommended amount of calories per day for adults is 2000 for women and 2500 for men.
- A realistic weight loss is between 1-2lb per week.
- Exercise should be part of any weight loss plan and walking is an excellent way to get started.
- 1 in 3 deaths from cancer are linked to poor diet. Eating 5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables a day will reduce this risk.
- Reducing your salt intake to 6 grams per day (a teaspoon) will reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Eat Well Be Well – A Healthy Diet
The dieticians at Alder Hey see many children with special nutritional needs. These patients need individually tailored advice and the support of a registered dietician to achieve good growth, weight gain and help them manage their specific dietary and nutritional needs.
For most children though, it is simply enough to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. The Eat Well Plate model was developed by the Food Standards Agency and is a tool that can help families plan healthy meals, and shows how much of each food group should feature on your plate!
Bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods should provide at least 1/3 of our daily diet. These foods provide energy, B vitamins and fibre
Another 1/3 should come from fruit and vegetables
The final 1/3 should be made up of a combination of protein foods such as meat, fish, beans and other pulses, dairy foods such as milk, cheese and yogurt and foods with a higher fat and sugar content
We should all do these THREE things
- Eat more fruit and vegetables.
These provide us with vitamins, minerals and fibre. We should all least at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Fresh, frozen, tinned or dried are all equally good but if buying tinned make sure they are in fruit juice and not syrup.
- Don’t skip breakfast.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. When we wake up we haven’t had any food for hours and breakfast provides the energy we need to start the day and get through the morning. Good breakfast food choices such as cereal and milk are also great sources of protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals.
- Eat less fat.
Eating too much fat, especially saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood and increase your chances of developing heart disease. A diet high in fat is also likely to be high in calories and cause you to gain too much weight. To cut down your intake of saturated fat reduce the amount of pies and pastry items, cheese, butter, cakes, biscuits, cream and high fat snack foods.
- Eat plenty of foods containing calcium.
Many adults have problems with weak bones and this may be because their bones didn’t strengthen well as children. Calcium from dairy products is an important part of good bone health. Make sure children drink milk every day, have at least 1 helping of cereal with milk and eat cheese and yogurt. These foods can be high in fat so for older children go for lower fat milk, cheese and yogurts and try to avoid yoghurts that have lots of added sugar.
- Eat less sugar.
Having sugary foods and drinks too often and especially in between meals can cause tooth decay. Foods with a high sugar content are also high in calories so if you eat lots of these you are likely to become overweight. Cut down on sweets, cakes, biscuits and sugary drinks.
We can all make small changes to ensure we are eating more healthily. To learn more about the Eat Well Plate visit www.eatwell.gov.uk
Healthy Eating- Fruit Barrow
We think it’s vital our families have access to fresh fruit and vegetables during their treatment here. The Barrow, a joint venture between Alder Hey and the the Liverpool Taste for Health Scheme, sell produce at competitive prices visits the hospital every Monday and Thursday from 9am to 2.00pm.
You can find them outside the Emergency Department entrance to Alder Hey in the Park.
Becoming more active brings multiple, social, psychological and emotional benefits. Participating in physical activity can reduce the risk of mental disorders and improve quality of life. Children and young people should be moderately active for at least 60 minutes per day on five or more days per week, and at least twice a week, they should participate in activities that aim to improve bone health, muscle strength and flexibility.
- Under Fives: should be physically active for 180 minutes – three hours – per day, once a child is able to walk.
- Children and Young People (5 – 18 year olds) should be physically active for at least 60 minutes per day. Three days a week the activity should be of a vigorous intensity to strengthen bone and muscle.
- Adults (19 – 64 years) and older people (65+) should be physically active for 150mins – two and half hours – each week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity (adults should aim to do some physical activity every day.)‘Moderate’ describes any activity that makes you feel warmer and have a slightly raised heart rate – you should still be able to have a conversation.
- An active lifestyle reduces your risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
In recent years the amount of children and young people drinking alcohol has doubled. 20% of school children aged 11 – 16 in the North West report drinking at least once a week. Almost a third of 15 to 16 year olds binge drink and get drunk at least three times a month. This is higher than most European countries.
Alcohol contributes to a wide range of hospital attendances and is a large burden on the NHS.
Did you know that a glass of wine has the same calorie content as a piece of cake?
Hospital admissions for alcohol related conditions have almost doubled in the last 10 years (LPCT 2010) Regular overindulgence can cause a myriad of health problems including: low energy, memory loss, relationships problems, depression, insomnia and impotence.
- Don’t drink on an empty stomach – eat before you go out or during the evening.
- When drinking alcohol, try and make every other drink a soft drink or water.
- Try to choose low alcoholic drinks
- Don’t drink in rounds – drink at your own pace.
- Try to have at least two alcohol free days a week.
- Don’t keep large quantities of alcohol at home.
- You don’t have to finish the bottle
- Remember, home measures are much more generous than pub ones. Choose a smaller glass and don’t fill it to the top.
- Stressed at work? Don’t go straight for the bottle when you get home!
Men should not regularly drink more than 3 – 4 units a day.
Women should not regularly drink more than 2 – 3 units a day
For further information and support log onto www.drinkaware.co.uk.
If you’re worried your drinking too much why not take the self assessment,
Sexually Transmitted infections are becoming more common. Poor sexual health can lead to a range of health problems including pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, unintended pregnancies, abortions, neonatal disorders and death.
The UK has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in Europe. Sex and relationships education is delivered as part of the Healthy Schools programme, but children and young people whose education is disrupted may miss out.
- Alcohol and drugs affect your judgement and increase the risks you take such as unsafe sex. If you think you might need contraception get it organised in advance.
- Condoms offer protection against STIs but are not 100% effective as a form of contraception
- Women can take the morning after pill up to 72 hours after having sex. However the earlier it’s taken, the more effective it is.
- Worried you may have an STI? Simple tests are available from sexual health services, most GPs and walk-in centres. Common STIs only need a urine test or a swab that you may be able to take yourself.
Visit www.sexualhealthliverpool.co.uk for information about sexual health and contraception services in Liverpool
For a Free Chlamydia Testing Kit – text LIVERPOOL plus your name, age and address to 80800 or visit www.loveisinfectious.co.uk
For free and confidential advice (including under 16’s) contact:
Brook (Under 25’s): 0151 207 4000
Abacus: 0151 284 2500