Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Healthy Brain For Life

In today’s world where performance is measured by test scores, culture is learnt in isolation from the television, hand eye co-ordination is perfected by playing on the electronic devices, information is gained from Google and health is gained from junk food we just seem to be raising a generation abundant in conflicts, a generation that is sitting but not moving, a generation that is learning but not applying, a generation eating but not healthy. With the competition growing fierce and the need for academic excellence clubbed with out of box thinking becoming a mandatory requirement for most to stand out in the herd, we seem to be applying the wrong strategy by inculcating bad eating habits, lack of self motivated learning and lack of physical exercise resulting in alarming health issues like obesity, diabetes, vitamin B12 and vitamin D deficiencies.
As per Philippa Norman MD, MPH:
Within a child's brain, a biochemical process of learning is occurring, that parallels the classroom experience. Making connections, finding meaning, and solving problems are learning tasks that require lightning-fast electrical impulses between areas of the brain.  Formation of memory requires physical growth and reshaping of networks of brain cells.  So that wonderful experience - when the lights go on and your child says, "I get it!" - is a neurochemical process as well as an academic one. By nourishing the brain with healthy food and water, you will optimize the internal environment, enabling students to truly engage in the classroom environment and achieve their potential.
In short she says we need a healthy brain for life.
As per most experts health and well-being of children has a direct impact on the academic performance of children. Health of children is very critical not only for the children to reach their achievement goals but also for a country to advance economically and culturally. The formula for the healthy brain as recommended by most experts is:
Healthy food + Good Physical exercise = Healthy Brain
Healthy food not only comes from a well balanced diet as most of us know but also comes from good eating habits. As agreed by pediatricians and experts the most important meal of the day is the breakfast. A lot of children in their laziness to rise early and rush to get to the school/college tend to miss their breakfast resulting in a day filled with fatigue and underperformance. Breakfast as the name suggests breaks the night long fast, which when skipped continues the fast resulting in unnecessary stress on a developing body. Some studies show that children, who eat breakfast have higher math and verbal fluency scores and perform better on standardized tests.  The breakfast-eaters pay better attention, behave better in class and are less likely to be absent, late or see the school nurse. The motto is Rise n Shine - have a healthy meal – take on the day with a happy smile
Good food needs good exercise to make it work. A good 60 minutes of exercise daily directly impacts the behavior and development of the brain as follows:
  • Increased oxygen flow to the brain
  • Increased brain neurotransmitters
  • “[Increased] brain-derived neurotrophins that support neuronal differentiation and survival in the developing brain.” Neurotrophins assure the survival of neurons in areas responsible for learning, memory, and higher thinking.
Physical exercise not only optimizes the functioning of the brain but also improves grades, self confidence, self esteem, flexible and fit body always ready to take on challenges.
Well being insights such as these can help monitor the health of our children better. Please join us on 8th June to attend the pediatric talk to get a perspective on role of vitamin D and vitamin B12, the effect of their deficiency, symptoms, precautions and cure. Let’s all take a step towards the healthy growth of the children.                                                                                                                                                     

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