Raising a healthy kid: The partnership between you and your pediatrician
A pediatrician looks at how to make your home a 'Blue Zone.'
If you live in or near Fort Worth, you have seen the signs: “Life is short. We're making it longer.” The initiative is a city-wide effort by Fort Worth to improve the health of the city using principles discussed in the book “The Blue Zones: 9 lessons for living longer from the people who've lived the longest.”
When author Dan Buettner and fellow staff members looked at areas of the world where people lived longer - they circled it with a blue sharpie on the map - that is how those areas became known as The Blue Zones. Some of the areas with longevity that Dan studied were Sardinia, Italy, Okinawa, Japan, and Loma Linda, California. He learned that the people in these communities didn't choose longevity. Longevity happened to them. Environment is the key to a healthy life, not necessarily personal will power.
Cook Childrens is a proud sponsor of the Blue Zones Project and Fort Worth is the only city in the south participating. I recently attended the Fort Worth kickoff event for the Blue Zones Project. Dan discussed the common threads that he found in the communities he studied.
Here are some of his suggestions for longevity and a life free from chronic illness:
1. Stay active.
2. Wake up with purpose each day.
3. Find down time daily.
4. Eat mindfully. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
5. Belong. Make time for family, friends, and fellowship.
As a pediatrician, parents come to me with questions about how to care for their children. They depend on my advice to help them raise healthy kids, safe from the burdens of chronic diseases like obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. Providing a medical home truly is a partnership. It is up to all of us: the parents, the doctors, and the kids. We are a team.
In the upcoming weeks, I will give you tips on how to create a Blue Zone in your home. We can do this together.
For more information about blue zones, see www.bluezones.com and check out the vitality compass.
Kim Mangham, M.D., is a Cook Children's pediatrician at 1601 Keller Parkway in Keller, Texas. She earned her medical degree at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. She completed the pediatric residency program at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. Her interests include breastfeeding education as well as disease and injury prevention. Dr. Mangham is board certified in pediatrics.