school

To Pack or Not to Pack?

It’s lunchtime at the office and you’re hungry. Your morning has been stressful, and your co-workers are pooling their money for some fried take-out from the local burger joint. You decline their invitation (even though comfort food sounds particularly comforting right now), and instead sit down with the healthy lunch you brought from home, complete with whole grains, lean proteins, raw vegetables, and lots of water. You know you have an afternoon full of meetings, phone calls, and errands, and the fiber and vitamins will carry you through your to-do list valiantly. Congratulations, you made a responsible adult decision, which will benefit your energy levels and probably your long-term health. Do you think you would have made the same decision in the lunch line in grade school?

Kids in school face complicated lunchtime decisions on a daily basis. What a child eats for lunch at school not only influences their energy levels in math class but also sets the stage for adult eating habits. Too many wrong decisions can be a recipe for a nutritional disaster.

Buying Lunch
Although school lunch has gotten a bad rap in the past for being too high in fat and too low in nutrient-rich fruits and veggies, school lunch standards have been making steady improvements over the past few years. Thanks to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, led by first lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, lunch is looking better than ever.

Even before the recent regulations, schools all over the country were  voluntarily implementing healthy changes for years, such as incorporating local and organic produce, growing on-site vegetable gardens, and banning fast food and vending machines.

Speaking of home, that’s where nutrition really starts. Here’s what you can do to help your child choose a healthy lunch when they’re buying:

  1. Feed them breakfast. If their stomach is growling in homeroom, they’ll be more likely to load up at the vending machines. If you don’t have time to feed them a home cooked breakfast, try natural peanut butter on a whole wheat bagel and an apple, or a smoothie, frozen bananas and peanut butter.
  2. Talk to your child about healthy food choices. Help them to realize that it’s ok to like candy and fast food, but that doesn’t mean they should be an everyday treat.
  3. Lead by example. This may be the most effective way to teach anyone anything, but the most difficult. The next time you’re out to eat with your child, explain why you choose to order the garden burger instead of the hamburger with cheese, or the chicken salad instead of the fried chicken. Kids are sponges—use it to your (and their) advantage.
  4. Discuss the cafeteria menu with your child, preferably before you’re rushing out the door in the morning. You can help them learn which options are healthier, and talk about the importance of fruits and vegetables. If they don’t like what’s on the menu, then they’ll have time to pack instead.
  5. If you are unhappy with your child’s school menu options, talk to the school lunch coordinator. Many cafeteria menu makeovers started with just one parent.
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Gearing up for Back to School

Back pain is pervasive among American adults, however it is not uncommon among children and teens either. In a new and disturbing trend, young children are suffering from back pain much earlier than previous generations, and the use of overweight backpacks is a contributing factor, according to the American Chiropractic Association (ACA). In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has previously reported that backpack-related injuries sent more than 7,000 people to the emergency room in one year’s time.

What Can You Do To Help Prevent This?
ACA offers the following tips to help prevent the needless pain that backpack misuse could cause the students in your household.

  • Make sure your child’s backpack weighs no more than 5 to 10 percent of his or her body weight. A heavier backpack will cause your child to bend forward in an attempt to support the weight on his or her back, rather than on the shoulders, by the straps.
  • The backpack should never hang more than four inches below the waistline. A backpack that hangs too low increases the weight on the shoulders, causing your child to lean forward when walking.
  • Urge your child to wear both shoulder straps. Lugging the backpack around by one strap can cause the disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, as well as low-back pain.
  • Wide, padded straps are very important. Non-padded straps are uncomfortable, and can dig into your child’s shoulders.
  • The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body. Straps that are too loose can cause the backpack to dangle uncomfortably and cause spinal misalignment and pain.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy, talk to your child’s teacher. Ask if your child could leave the heaviest books at school, and bring home only lighter hand-out materials or workbooks.
  • Although the use of rollerpacks – or backpacks on wheels – has become popular in recent years, ACA is now recommending that they be used cautiously and on a limited basis by only those students who are not physically able to carry a backpack. Some school districts have begun banning the use of rollerpacks because they clutter hallways, resulting in dangerous trips and falls.
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September Supplement of the Month

drenamin

Drenamin supports adrenal function and helps maintain emotional balance:

  • Promotes healthy adrenal gland function
  • Encourages a healthy response to everyday environmental stresses and supports immune system function
  • Maintains energy production
  • Supports a balanced mood

This is a great supplement for September since school has started and we are all under new stresses with school work, new schedules, and new sleep patterns!

Make sure to ask Dr. Brent of Dr. Monique about this product if you have any questions!

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Chiropractic and School Aged Children

Chiropractic health care is extremely effective and useful for school aged children. School aged children areschool aged children subject to the normal bumps and tumbles of childhood, but there are other stresses that they’re subjected to that really affect their bodies. Things like heavy backpacks, using computers that are at stations designed for adults, constant use of hand held devices, sports injuries, and lack of sleep.

Chiropractic care is a holistic healing method that looks at the muscular skeletal system of the child, it’s so important for a child because they’re growing, and we can look for areas of restriction that aren’t moving properly, where there may be muscle imbalance, or imbalance or subluxation in the joints, and we can very gently adjust those areas. The kids at my practice love to get adjusted, they like the way it feels while we’re doing it and they like the way it feels afterwards, and in fact we have kids who ask their parents if they can come, they say I need to see Dr. Brent or Dr. Moe.

So we work on them very gently, we usually keep children clothed. We’ll adjust their full spine and check for areas that are restricted, we’ll also look at all the extremity joints, we’re very interested in hips, knees, ankles and feet in growing children, we want to make sure that there are no shoulder, elbow or wrist problems from hand held devices, from back packs, that can really start to cause asymmetries in the spine.

Children now are starting to wear back packs or shoulder bags on one shoulder and we found an increase in scoliosis from that, it pulls the muscles and the spine over, so if you do that for 5 or 6 years it can really increase your risk that there will be asymmetries in your spine. This is such a powerful time to adjust them.

Children are also developing a lot of repetitive stress injuries and a lot of sports injuries, and chiropractic is an extremely effective way of treating these children, so that we can get them back on the field and continue to be active, which is good for their emotional and mental health. I think one of the most powerful things about bringing school aged children to a chiropractor is that it’s an amazing way to teach children to take care of their bodies.

Children who go to chiropractors have an enormous sense of body awareness, they know when their body hurts, where it hurts, they have more awareness of how they injure their bodies and when they need to ask for help. They have more awareness of nutrition and diet, and how what they do, what they eat, how they sleep, how they rest can affect how they feel.

 

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Chiropractic Backpack Safety Checklist

backpack-clipart-1One of the fundamental pieces of any back to school ensemble is, of course, the backpack. Although they’re practical, backpacks are a leading cause of back and shoulder pain for millions of children and adolescents. We are offering a checklist to help parents select the best possible backpack for their children.

  • Is the backpack the correct size for your child? The backpack should never be wider or longer than your child’s torso, and the pack shouldn’t hang more than 4 inches below the waistline. The shoulder straps should be adjustable so the backpack can be fitted to your child’s body.
  • Does the backpack have two wide, padded shoulder straps? Non-padded straps are not only uncomfortable, but also they can place unnecessary pressure on the neck and shoulder muscles. Lugging a heavy backpack by one strap can cause disproportionate shift of weight to one side, leading to neck and muscle spasms, low back pain, and poor posture. 
  • Does the backpack have a padded back? A padded back not only provides increased comfort, but also protects your child from being poked by sharp edges or school supplies.
  • Does the pack have several compartments? A backpack with individualized compartments helps position the contents most effectively. Make sure that pointy or bulky objects are packed away from the area that will rest on your child’s back, and try to place the heaviest items closet to the body.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) recommends that parent’s or guardians help children pack their backpacks properly, and they should make sure children never carry more than 10% of the their body weight. For example, a child who weighs 100 pounds shouldn’t carry a backpack heavier than 10 pounds. In addition, parents should ask their children to report any pain or other problems resulting from carrying a backpack. If the pain is severe or persistent, seek care from a doctor of chiropractic or other health care professional!

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