Health News of Sunday, 29 June 2014

Source: Kojo Cobba Essel

Sportiness runs in the family

Earlier in the week I chanced upon a one-liner from Porsche; it had a number of their good looking cars beautifully arranged and underneath it the caption; “sportiness runs in the family.” Immediately it struck me how very true that expression is even among humans where the family may be considered as the basic unit.
Many habits begin from home – The Family. You may have read from me a few times emphasize the point that one healthy choice is almost always followed by another. Make a healthy choice today. We are often bombarded with diseases that run in families and the fear and panic they may cause. The list is endless; cancers, type II diabetes, hypertension, abnormal cholesterol, mental illness, migraines et cetera but what if we find good things that can also run in families and even more interesting ones that we can actually make a conscious effort to make them happen.
Many children consider their parents as role-models especially when they are young and will unconsciously pick up many habits from them; beware of the language you use at home, what you eat, the time you spend behind the television, what you read and how clean your surroundings are as well as how physically active you are. Those little ones are sponges and will take everything in. You have the power to make a difference in their lives as parents and by doing this one family at a time we will all affect country and world positively. Do not only instruct them on what to do, let them see you do the same.
Many people complain of “fat” running in their family; possibly, but quite often such family members all have similar eating patterns or habits. They eat at odd times and indulge in the wrong types of foods. You will also realize that such families may also be at loggerheads with exercise. They will conjure every exercise excuse you can think or dream of. Surely if a family eats from the same cooking pot and a salt and spice (some artificial flavours) lover does the cooking then high blood pressure may be lurking in the background for most of the members. This risk is further heightened if vegetables and fruits are not on the menu for such a team. If children grow eating from a kitchen where good food is one that has oil and meat displacing vegetables from the pot then you can be sure that many more generations will be battling with cholesterol challenges. If growing children rush out of home every morning without taking breakfast only to return home to eat a meal that even a sumo wrestler will not dare to gobble down, then we surely are setting generations on the path to disaster. Unfortunately such habits will be transferred to families that will in the future be formed by these young minds. Once you develop certain tastes, it is so difficult to free one’s self. It is for this reason that as parents and guardians we should make every effort to encourage the right habits in our children.
As parents we should make a conscious effort to raise children who are God-fearing and not ones who are scared of their parents. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption so that children do not think these habits are fashionable. Instead of pampering children with sugar-laden soft drinks, encourage water consumption at all times and not only when they feel thirsty. Do everything possible to ensure personal hygiene as well as keeping your surroundings clean. Many people still keep throwing garbage in drains because they see adults do the same.
If you have yearly medical check-ups, your family will grow to see that as the norm and will adopt a similar pattern. If you self medicate and go to hospital only when you have a foot in the grave, the young minds you are developing will think hospitals are only patronized by those enroute to see their maker.
Sleep is a major challenge for most of us. We will rather spend hours watching television instead of catching vital sleep that will invigorate us for the next day. Set the right example to those looking up to you. Get adequate sleep but do not be labeled as a lazy person by spending all your non-working hours cuddled up in bed. By all means make reading a habit; it is great exercise for the brain.
Play together as a family; you could take walks, even throwing a ball around is a great start. Make physical activity a must for every family member right from childhood. If you have a garden it may be a great idea to do some work together, spend time together at a gym if children are allowed. Create a tradition of walking whenever on an informal phone call at home. Imagine the time you spend on the phone daily and you will be amazed by how long you could have walked. Certainly the benefits here far outstrip slumping in the couch watching television while you chat.
Yes. Some diseases may run in a family but we can make a conscious effort to let sportiness run in our families by adopting some of suggestions above and surely we will be developing healthy habits and healthy families from generation to generation. The good news is being “sporty” or fit is a tried and tested way of warding off or positively affecting many disease conditions.
Today is a perfect day to start healthy habits at home.

Dr. Kojo Cobba Essel
Moms’ Health Club

*Dr Essel is a medical doctor and is ISSA certified in exercise therapy and fitness nutrition.
Thought for the week – “When on medication, take as prescribed. When in doubt go back to your prescriber or seek a second opinion”