How kids can take control of their health after COVID ruined it

childhood obesity, Coronavirus, depression, sleep

Pediatrician Dr. Nina L. Shapiro’s new book explains to kids how certain foods make their bodies work and feel. NY Post photo composite

Study after study has confirmed what parents across the country long suspected: the coronavirus pandemic — not just the disease itself, but the lockdowns and restrictions that governments enforced to combat it — has had a devastating impact on children’s physical and mental health.

“Now we’re seeing the fallout,” pediatrician Dr. Nina L. Shapiro told The Post. “And I don’t feel like it’s over by any stretch.”

A study of more than 400,000 children and teens released by the Centers for Disease Control in September found a “substantial and alarming” increase in obesity since March 2020, when schools and businesses were shuttered to slow the spread of COVID-19. Kids aged 5 to 11 saw the worst of the weight gain, another group of researchers found.

In August, psychologists at the University of Calgary reported that mood disorders had nearly doubled among children worldwide since the spring of 2020, with up to 25 percent showing signs of clinical depression.

And routine childhood vaccinations dropped last year by up to 63 percent in some areas, the CDC disclosed in October, sparking worries that outbreaks of measles and mumps are on the horizon.

The alarming trends are rooted in the severe disruptions American families experienced over the last 20 months.

“We adults felt tremendous fear, which we projected onto our children,” Shapiro said. “We forget how much children, even the youngest toddlers, can pick up on our emotions, our stress and our worries.”

childhood obesity, Coronavirus, depression, sleep

The pandemic gave rise to the lack of sports and poor eating habits among children.

Shutterstock

For the millions of kids who missed out on sports and outdoor play, fell into poor eating habits, spent whole days glued to their electronics, and were beset by anxiety, getting “back to normal” is going to take some effort.

In “The Ultimate Kids’ Guide to Being Super Healthy” (Sky Pony Press), out now, Shapiro, a Los Angeles-based ear, nose and throat specialist, offers a hopeful antidote. She believes that kids as young as six can help their families return to healthier habits — if they appreciate how their bodies work.

“They can use real science and real words to understand these issues on a very basic level,” Shapiro said. “And then as they make decisions, they’re going to think about them a little differently.”

Her book convinces children to make healthy food choices by explaining how their muscles and cells use the carbohydrates, proteins and fats they eat — and alerting them to the way different foods may make them feel: energetic and alert, or cranky and run-down. She encourages kids to get at least one hour of physical exercise every day by demonstrating that the heart is a muscle, in need of regular workouts to remain healthy.

But sleep is the hidden post-pandemic health hazard that worries Shapiro the most, especially as the anxieties and upheavals of the pandemic wreaked havoc on children’s bedtime habits.

childhood obesity, Coronavirus, depression, sleep

Getting kids off digital devices and outside for play is vital for improved health.

Getty Images

“Without those ordinary benchmarks of getting up, getting dressed, leaving the house, there was no end of the day,” Shapiro said. “And for kids, poor sleep affects everything: their nutrition choices, their exercise tolerance, their school day, their ability to handle stress.”

In her book, Shapiro teaches children about the sleep cycle, the two-hour block of progressively deeper stages of slumber when our brains process the day’s stimuli and our bodies grow and heal.

Crucially, broken or insufficient sleep is linked to an imbalance in leptin and ghrelin, the “hunger hormones,” causing excess appetite and food cravings the next day — perhaps a contributing factor in the recent childhood obesity explosion.

childhood obesity, Coronavirus, depression, sleep

Shapiro’s book puts kids in control of their health, empowering them to make good choices and get into a routine.

Children need five sleep cycles, or about 10 hours, of sleep each night for optimal health, Shapiro said.

“And it’s not just the number of hours, it’s the sleep quality,” she added.

Here’s how kids – and their parents, too – can re-establish healthy nighttime habits.

  • “Keep a regular bedtime, even on weekends,” the doctor writes. “Believe it or not, there’s no such thing as catching up on sleep.”
  • Step away from the computer — or the TV, the video game, the cellphone — at least one hour before bedtime. “Being on a screen right before you sleep can disrupt how deeply you sleep and how well you dream,” she explains.
  • No snacks for that last hour, either. “The kitchen is closed,” Shapiro writes. “You can have a snack after dinner but not right before bed.”
  • Try reading — to yourself, or aloud to someone else — as a calming pre-sleep ritual to signal your body that it’s time to settle down.
  • “Lights out!” Shapiro recommends. “Sleeping in the darkness is the best way to sleep.”

In short, “sleep is like the best power food, coaching session, and even study session you can get,” she tells kids.

News Related

OTHER NEWS

UK records 89,176 Covid cases and 277 deaths in latest daily figures

© Evening Standard es-breakingnews.jpg The UK reported 89,176 Covid cases and 277 deaths on Friday, latest daily figures show. The rise in infections marks a jump of 12 per cent ... Read more »

Tristan Thompson: Nach "Vaterschafts"-Skandal mit neuer Frau gesichtet

© George Pimentel/Getty Images Tristan Thompson: Nach “Vaterschafts”-Skandal mit neuer Frau gesichtet Es ist erst wenige Wochen her, da schaffte es NBA-Star Tristan Thompson (30) mit einem Instagram-Post weltweit in ... Read more »

Boris Johnson news - live: Police fear Sue Gray report will hinder party probe as No 10 ‘paralysed' by delay

LIVE – Updated at 16:10 The Metropolitan Police fear their investigation into alleged No 10 parties during lockdown could be hindered if key evidence is released in the Sue Gray ... Read more »

Storm Malik: Exact time 80mph winds will hit tomorrow as AMBER danger to life weather warning issued with power cuts

A DANGER to life weather warning has been issued as Storm Malik is set to bring massive 80mph winds TOMORROW. The amber alert was issued today, with the chaos expected ... Read more »

72-year-old fake doctor in Murbad arrested after 5 villagers die

© Provided by Hindustan Times Tokawade police arrested a 72-year-old fake doctor in Murbad after he allegedly prescribed medicines to tribals in the nearby areas without having any medical degree, ... Read more »

Narottam Mishra: Guardian of offended sensibilities

He may be the home minister of Madhya Pradesh, but that does not stop 61-year-old Narottam Mishra from taking up issues that could hurt ‘Hindu sensibilities’ anywhere in the country. ... Read more »

Soon, no fuel without valid pollution-under-check certificate in Delhi: Govt

© Provided by The Financial Express There are 966 authorised pollution checking centres in the city. Having a valid pollution-under-check certificate will soon be made mandatory for refueling vehicles at ... Read more »

Make the Most of Your Time Indoors with These Craft Kits for Adults

Arts and crafts aren’t just for kids anymore. During the pandemic, which continues to make 2020 feel like the year that refuses to end, Canadians have turned to all sorts ... Read more »

US judge blocks sale of Gulf of Mexico drilling leases over climate concerns

A US federal judge has blocked a highly controversial sale of oil and gas drilling leases across 80m acres of the Gulf of Mexico, ruling that Joe Biden’s administration did ... Read more »

Outrage as Bolsonaro confirms Russia trip despite Ukraine crisis

Jair Bolsonaro has sparked disbelief and outrage by insisting he will go ahead with a trip to meet Vladimir Putin in Russia despite the escalating military crisis along the Ukrainian ... Read more »

Maharashtra sees 103 Covid deaths; highest in 4 months, even as new cases drop

© Provided by Hindustan Times As many as 110 fresh cases of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 were recorded in Maharashtra on Friday, January 28, 2022. (HT FILE) Maharashtra on Friday ... Read more »

Children who are severely immunocompromised should get 3rd dose of COVID vaccine, NACI says

© Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada A teen gets a COVID-19 vaccine at École Secondaire Saint-Henri in Montreal. Children five to 11 who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should get a third dose ... Read more »

Indischer Konzern setzt auf Schweizer Elektrovelos

Die TVS Motor Company kauft die Swiss E-Mobility Group – und damit die M-Way-Läden. Der indische Konzern will so in Europas Bike-Markt einbrechen. Im Herbst 2019 sorgte die Migros für eine ... Read more »

3 indicted in fire at Wendy's after Rayshard Brooks killing

ATLANTA (AP) — Three people have been indicted on arson charges in the burning of the Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta where a police officer fatally shot Rayshard Brooks in June ... Read more »

Kalyan court orders police to book 18 KDMC officials including 5 former commissioners for cheating

© Provided by Hindustan Times Kalyan court orders police to book 18 KDMC officials including 5 former commissioners for cheating. (HT FILE) The Kalyan court has released an order asking ... Read more »

India will continue to export vaccines to other developing countries under Vaccine Maitri Initiative, says MEA

© Provided by DNA India will continue to export vaccines to other countries, said External Affairs Ministry’s spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Friday during virtual weekly media briefing.”You would be aware ... Read more »

Italien sucht weiter neues Staatsoberhaupt

Auch nach der fünften Abstimmung gibt es bei der Präsidentschaftswahl in Rom keinen Sieger. Zwischen den Parteien wächst der Unmut. © Foto: Roberto Monaldo (Keystone) Maria Elisabetta Casellati, die amtierende ... Read more »

Genf verbietet Rauchen an Haltestellen, Spiel- und Sportplätzen

© Keystone/PETER SCHNEIDER Rauchen an öffentlichen Plätzen und Anlagen wie Bushaltestellen, Schulen, Spielplätzen, Sportzentren und Schwimmbädern ist in Genf künftig verboten. Der Grosse Rat hat einer Gesetzesänderung des Rauchverbots am ... Read more »

Migros ruft Mandeln wegen Salmonellen-Befall zurück

© Migros Die Migros hat gemahlene Erdmandeln der Marke Alnatura aus den Regalen genommen und das Produkt vorsorglich zurückgerufen. In einer Probe sind Salmonellen nachgewiesen worden. Ein Gesundheitsrisiko sei nicht ... Read more »

Skip Tracy Fleury enters COVID-19 protocol will miss start of Tournament of Hearts

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Skip Tracy Fleury will sit out the start of the Canadian women’s curling championship in COVID-19 protocol. © Provided by The Canadian Press Fleury, the skip ... Read more »

Don't Sleep On The Jump Rope If You Want To Lose Weight And Get Toned

Nope, you don’t need to go on a long run or stationary bike ride to get your heart pumping. You can get a seriously-good workout with just a jump rope. ... Read more »

Evander Kane rips Canadian radio host for 'disgusting' comment about daughter

Evander Kane is officially back in the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers and has already drawn ire for the controversial move. Former NHLer and current broadcaster Jeff O’Neill shared his ... Read more »

Vatican sells luxury London building at heart of fraud trial

© Provided by Al Jazeera The scandal exposed the incompetence of the Vatican’s monsignors in managing its coffers [File: Andrew Medichini/AP] The Vatican said on Friday that it has signed ... Read more »

Zwei Jahre danach: Prozess um Juwelendiebstahl in Dresden gestartet

Gut zwei Jahre nach dem aufsehenerregenden Juwelendiebstahl aus dem Grünen Gewölbe in Dresden hat am dortigen Landgericht ein Prozess gegen sechs mutmassliche Täter begonnen. © Bereitgestellt von Blick Prozess um ... Read more »

US presses China on Covid rules on diplomats

© The Manila Times RIGID PROTOCOLS A worker produces face masks for athletes, staff members and volunteers ofthe Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at a factory in Binzhou in China’s ... Read more »

Pamilya ni Guji Lorenzana, naka-quarantine mula New Year's Day dahil sa COVID-19

© Provided by PEP.ph Heartbreaking para sa singer-actor na si Guji Lorenzana nang magkaroon ng COVID-19 ang buong pamilya niya, siya, ang kanyang asawang si Cheska at ang dalawang anak ... Read more »

Honduras elects first woman president

© The Manila Times EL PRESIDENTE Honduran new President Xiomara Castro (center) walks next to her husband Honduran former president (2006-2009) Manuel Zelaya as he raises his clenched fist while ... Read more »

Pia Wurtzbach achieves dream of owning a house and lot

© Provided by PEP.ph Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach has just achieved one of her “big dreams”: buy her own house and lot. On Wednesday, January 26, 2022, the 32-year-old former beauty ... Read more »

1Sambayan endorses Colmenares, Matula; Makabayan backs Leni-Kiko

matula and colmenares The opposition group 1Sambayan on Friday announced its endorsement of the senatorial bids of labor leader Sonny Matula and human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares in Eleksyon 2022. ... Read more »

This thirtysomething couple with $390,000 in net worth has decades to save

© Provided by Financial Post The challenge and the opportunity with doing financial predictions three decades before retirement is uncertainty. But this couple has a solid foundation to build on. ... Read more »

Man City's Kyle Walker banned for three European games after red card against Leipzig

© REUTERS The Manchester City full-back was dismissed in the Group A dead rubber – REUTERS Kyle Walker has been banned for Manchester City’s next three European matches for his ... Read more »

Tottenham in talks with Juventus to sign Dejan Kulusevski after Luis Diaz disappointment

© Provided by Football London Tottenham are in talks with Juventus to try to sign Dejan Kulusevski after suffering disappointment in their attempts to bring Luis Diaz to north London. ... Read more »

Roger Federer mentoring Swiss youngster in possible hint at life after tennis

Roger Federer has been mentoring young Swiss tennis player Kilian Feldbausch. The 16-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open boys singles tournament, losing in three sets to fourth seed ... Read more »

Russia insists ‘we don't want wars' as it ponders Ukraine-NATO answer

Russian officials signaled at least a token interest in diplomacy to resolve the ongoing crisis with the West over Ukraine Friday, insisting that Moscow doesn’t “want wars.” “If it depends ... Read more »

Katie Price fuels pregnancy rumours after vowing to have 6th child as she's spotted at fertility clinic with Carl Woods

KATIE Price and her fiance Carl Woods were spotted walking hand-in-hand into a London fertility clinic days after revealing she wants baby number six. The pair were photographed as they ... Read more »

Hibs Women bolster defensive options with capture of Jenna Penman from Aberdeen

© Hibs have signed Jenna Penman. Picture: Hibernian FC The 18-year-old can play at centre-back and full-back and has been capped by Scotland at under-16, under-17, and under-19 level. Hibs ... Read more »

Sources: Bolton Wanderers, Rotherham United and Peterborough United interested in swoop for 24-year-old

© Provided by Football League World League One – Accrington Stanley v Hull City Accrington Stanley midfielder Matt Butcher is attracting interest from Bolton Wanderers, Rotherham United and Peterborough United, Football ... Read more »

Zwelihle residents march to Hermanus police station after woman's murder

© Pexels CAPE TOWN – Some Zwelihle residents are marching to the Hermanus police station following the murder of a young woman. Sisipho Mayile’s body was found last week on ... Read more »

Ramaphosa must wake up from wherever he is and take action against Sitole - Sapu

© Provided by 702 President Cyril Ramaphosa has been urged to take action against Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole. This is after police watchdog Ipid opened two criminal complaints against him. ... Read more »

Keep an eye out: Comedy whodunnits, new sci-fi series, acclaimed biopics, and more this February

© Copyright (c) Daily Maverick , All Rights Reserved In Cinemas Parallel Mothers: Showing Now The latest film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar is an exuberant comedy-drama about the converging ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic