By Bryan Bradford, Chief Nutrition Officer of Sunflower Shoppe Natural Foods
August 1st, 2014
As the summer draws to a close, and we turn our attention to the upcoming school year, we know our children need pencils, paper and new clothes, but you may be wondering what else you can do to prepare your child for the challenges ahead.
Many children suffer from anxiety during the school year, and this stress can affect their ability to focus and concentrate. High stress levels, inadequate sleep, lack of exercise and high sugar diets can combine to trigger attention deficit and concentration problems. School places high demands on our young ones. They are under pressure socially, academically, artistically, athletically etc. and are often required to focus and comprehend information that they might find boring or uninteresting. That’s a hefty load! Many kids struggle with this balance, and more and more children are having such difficulty that they are being diagnosed and medicated just to get through the day.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as of 2011.
The percentage of children with an ADHD diagnosis continues to increase from 7.8% in 2003 to 9.5% in 2007 and to 11.0% in 2011.
Rates of ADHD diagnosis increased an average of 3% per year from 1997 to 2006 and an average of approximately 5% per year from 2003 to 2011.
With new school year comes plenty of anxiety, but there are measures we can take to help our kids have a healthy and productive school year.
When kids are overwhelmed and stressed out, it can affect their ability to focus and concentrate, and it also can have a negative impact on their immune systems.
- Rest. Kids need some down time and plenty of sleep at night. Aim for 8-10 hours.
- Exercise. It is important for children to expend any extra energy they have built up over the day. Walk or ride a bike to school, if possible. Include physical activity after school before sitting down to focus on homework.
- Diet. Protein at every meal and snack will help prevent blood sugar crashes that make them feel tired and grumpy and prevent their minds from thinking clearly. A great way to start each day is to have a protein-only breakfast. Also include protein in the after school snack to make homework time easier.
- Supplements. Supplementation can be a vital part of your plan to support your efforts. There are several great products on the market formulated specifically to help improve focus and concentration. Look for ingredients such as Vitamin B complex, DHA (an omega 3 fatty acid), DMAE, Magnesium and Zinc.
For more information about nutrition and supplements to help your back-to-schooler stay calm and focused, come visit us at the Sunflower Shoppe and we will help you get this year off to a great start.
The content and opinions expressed in this “Shoppe Talk” blog are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any illness or to provide medical advice. We are not medical doctors and we do not prescribe medication. If you have any questions about the relationship between nutrition and supplements, we recommend that you seek the advice of a qualified and licensed health practitioner. Our opinions are based on the literature and data from a variety of medical doctors, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians, biochemists and other professional researchers. You are encouraged to make your health care decisions based on your own research and the advice of a qualified health care professional.