Though childhood obesity rates have stabilized in recent years, there is still much work to be done regarding the health and well-being of your nation’s children. Children are easily vulnerable to developing health problems; without proper knowledge or care, these problems can persist into adulthood. As a parent, it is essential to be aware of the top health concerns of children so that you can take steps to prevent or address them. Here are the top 4 health concerns for children today and how to address them:

1. Food Allergy Awareness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies are a growing health concern in the United States. The number of children with food allergies has increased by 50% over the past decade. While any food can trigger an allergic reaction, according to studies, eight foods account for most of all reactions: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish, and shellfish. Symptoms of a food allergy can range from mild to severe. In severe cases, food allergies can be life-threatening.

While there is no cure for food allergies, there are some steps that parents can take to help keep their children safe. First, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction. If you suspect your child has eaten something they are allergic to, call 911 immediately. Second, ensure that your child always has access to their emergency medication (e.g., an EpiPen) and knows how to use it.

If nothing works out, it is best to take professionals’ help. Seeking consultation with a pediatric allergy specialist can help deal with the problems. A professional pediatric allergy doctor can help evaluate the condition to determine the food ingredients triggering the allergy. The doctor can also work with you to create a diet plan to prevent allergy symptoms and ensure appropriate development.

2. Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs and airways, making breathing difficult. According to the CDC, approximately 6 million children in the United States have asthma, with African American and Hispanic/Latino children being more likely to be diagnosed than their Caucasian counterparts.

While the exact cause of asthma is still unknown, many risk factors have been identified. These include exposure to environmental triggers like tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust, a family history of asthma, and being overweight.

A girl using asthma pump

Fortunately, some steps can be taken to help prevent or manage childhood asthma. These include avoiding triggers, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting regular checkups with a doctor.

3. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by difficulties paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. According to the CDC, 11% of children aged 4-17 in the United States have ADHD.

Symptoms of ADHD include trouble focusing, being easily distracted, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. While these symptoms can be disruptive for any child, they can be especially detrimental in a school setting. Fortunately, there are steps that parents and educators can take to help children with ADHD succeed.

One approach is to provide structure and routine in the child’s life. This might involve creating a daily schedule or visual aids to help the child stay on task. Additionally, it is important to offer praise and positive reinforcement when the child exhibits good behavior.

4. Anxiety

It’s normal for children to feel anxious from time to time. However, when anxiety starts to interfere with a child’s ability to function at home, at school, or with friends, it may be time to seek professional help.

Children with anxiety may avoid activities that make them feel nervous, have trouble sleeping, or become easily agitated. They may also experience physical symptoms such as a racing heart, sweating, or stomachache. If your child is displaying these signs, there are several things you can do to help. First, try to remain calm and provide reassurance. It’s also important to avoid making avoidance into a habit.

For example, if your child is afraid of dogs, don’t always cross the street to avoid them. Instead, help your child slowly approach his or her fear in a safe and controlled way. Finally, seek professional help with self-help methods if the problem is severe or not improving. A therapist can teach your child healthy coping skills and support during difficult times.

While children face many health concerns today, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, and anxiety are three of the most common. Fortunately, there are steps that parents and educators can take to help children with these conditions succeed. Children can overcome challenges and reach their full potential by providing structure and routine, offering praise and positive reinforcement, and seeking professional help when necessary.

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