If you’re like most parents, you spend a great deal of time worrying about your children’s health and general well-being. …and like most Indian parents you also worry about their future – education, jobs, careers, marriage, their children …the list is endless
 You prepare nutritious meals, remind them about frequent hand washing, pack healthy school snacks, plan play dates, encourage sporting activities, organise field trips and holidays and also find ways to balance study time and family time while letting them enjoy a few hours of facetime 😉As good parents, you need to be just as proactive about recommended health screenings. Take these steps to help your family enjoy a long and healthy life.
Family Preventive Health Care Schedule

– Keep Immunizations Up-to-Date:-
Your children’s immune systems will strengthen as they grow. Protect them along the way with      recommended immunizations. If you’re unsure when these should be scheduled, check with your  child’s paediatrician. He will give you an overview of recommended immunizations for children  from birth through ten years and will also explain where your child should be at each stage of  growth. Most paediatricians also have a list of vaccine-preventable diseases that explains how they  spread and possible complications. -Stay on Track With Mammograms:- 
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is the perfect time to remind all women that the chance of breast cancer survival is high if it’s found and treated early. Talk to your doctor about how often you should schedule a mammogram and make it a priority to keep your appointment….especially if there is a strong family history of the disease. Be sure to check with your gynaecologist and learn more about what can be done to prevent this disease.
-Get Screened for Heart Disease:-
Apart for doing tests for cholesterol, triglycerides and HDL,LDL and VLDL also test for homocysteine, apolipoproteins and other cardiac markers .
-Get Screened for Diabetes:-
Another global epidemic, the number of people who are diagnosed with diabetes each year just keeps increasing. Test your fasting and post meal blood sugar levels as well as your serum insulin levels. Your HbA1C test will indicate your average sugar readings for the past 2 to 3 months while your fructasamine levels will indicate average reading for the past 2 to 3 weeks.
-Get screened for Prostate Cancer:-
Encourage older male family members to test their PSA and visit the physician/urologist if there is an increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence and changes in the prostate gland.
-Get screened for Learning Disabilities:-
Children are often labelled lazy and slow when in actuality they may have a very high IQ and may be struggling with a learning disability like dyslexia or dysgraphia or dyscalculia. Screenings for LD are now a norm when young children bring home falling grades and a general disinterest in studies. Finding a good school with remedial teachers who hone their skills and help them overcome LD, will go a long way in encouraging children to perform to the best of their ability.
-Maintain Proper Oral Hygiene:-
 Protect your family’s health by teaching and enforcing good oral hygiene techniques. Brush and floss twice daily to remove plaque, which contains bacteria that can harden into tartar. Because it’s close to impossible to totally prevent tartar from forming, schedule visits to a trusted dentist for each of your family members every four to six months. If you experience mouth pain, don’t ignore it. It indicates that there may be an infection that could worsen if it goes untreated.
-Maintain Proper Eye Health:- 
Regular visits to the ophthalmologist will ensure visual acuity in children and also detect high eye pressure (glaucoma) and cataracts in older family members. Eye strain and eye fatigue can be reduced by ensuring regular breaks from the computer or mobile phone screen.
-Schedule Wellness Checkups-
Regularly scheduled physician checkups can help your family identify and manage potential health problems. They also give you an opportunity to ask your doctor about issues that might be bothering you or your loved ones. These visits can help to reveal potential problems that might otherwise go undetected, such as irregular blood pressure, hypothyroidism, endometrial cysts, PCOD, kidney disease etc.
-Schedule Mental Health Screenings:-
This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you or a family member are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, are real, common and treatable. And recovery is possible.If you’re unsure which test to take, here are some guidelines:-

  • The Depression Test is for individuals who are feeling overwhelming sadness.
  • The Anxiety Test will help if you feel that worry and fear affect your day to day life.
  • The Bipolar Test is for individuals who have mood swings – or unusual or extreme shifts in    mood and energy.
  • The PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Test is for those who are bothered by a traumatic  life event.
  • The Alcohol or Substance Use Test will help determine if your use of alcohol or drugs is an area to address.
  • The Youth Test is for young people (age 11-17) who are concerned that their emotions, attention, or behaviours might be signs of a problem.
  • The Parent Test is for parents of young people to determine if their child’s emotions, attention, or behaviours might be signs of a problem.
  • The Psychosis Test is for young people (age 12-35) who feel like their brain is playing tricks on them (seeing, hearing or believing things that don’t seem real or quite right) 

Making healthy food choices can be simple. Here are some healthy eating tips:-

  • Enjoy your food, but stop when you are full.
  • Watch out for large portion sizes. Use a smaller plate when eating at home and plan to take some         of your food home when eating out.
  • Make sure that half your plate is filled with salads and vegetables. Ensure that you eat the raw     food before cooked food.
  • Switch to fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Switch to whole grains like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn, jowar, bajra or whole wheat rotis, and whole grain cereals.
  • Drink plain or infused water like mint and star anise water instead of sugary sweet fruit drinks.
  • Buy and eat less sugary, salty and fatty foods like cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, chips and fatty meats.
  • Don’t give up – it can take many tries to like new foods and new methods of cooking and to change to healthier habits. So do not be afraid to invest in that slow cooker of air fryer!!
  • Enjoy family meals together – with the TV off and laptops, ipads, mobile phones etc away from the dining table.
  • Involve the whole family with menu planning, food shopping and cooking meals…they will surprise you with a healthy meal some day.

Here are a few ideas to help add physical activity to the day of your entire family

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or take a brisk 10-minute walk during your lunch break and after dinner.
  • Give your maids a weekly off and get the entire family to wash, mop, dust, polish, scrub and clean the house on a Sunday…your home will be spotless and your family will appreciate the staff even more 
  • Pick fun activities that you can do regularly…go for a swim together, go camping or drive to the nearest national park and trail-walk or hike.
  • Make play time more active by playing cricket or volleyball or football or by skipping ropes.
  • Spend time each week being active:-

               – Adults should do 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity each week.
               -Children should do 60 minutes of moderate activity each day.

  • Keep it interesting by trying new and different activities – take a dance or yoga class, go swimming, or join a local softball team or walking group.
  • Spend less time on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games.

Follow these practices to contribute to your family’s good health while boosting your family’s mind, body and spirit.
Stay blessed with good health ….always!!!

Happy Family Day !!!

Warm regards,

Charmaine D’Souza


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