Ex­pert ad­vice for a healthy 2019


Pae­di­atrics How im­por­tant is it for chil­dren to get enough sun­light and ex­er­cise? • Get­ting out­side is fun­da­men­tally good for every­one, not only phys­i­cally, but it is also has a pos­i­tive im­pact on our men­tal well­be­ing and plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in a child’s de­vel­op­ment.

• Sun­light stim­u­lates the brain to pro­duce the mood-en­hanc­ing chem­i­cal, sero­tonin.

• Sun­light con­fers an ar­ray of nat­u­ral health ben­e­fits, stim­u­lat­ing the pro­duc­tion of a num­ber of hor­mones es­sen­tial for a healthy body and mind.

• Mela­tonin pro­duc­tion is es­sen­tial for the reg­u­la­tion of our cir­ca­dian rhythms and has a pow­er­ful im­pact on our im­mune sys­tem. It is also a highly ef­fec­tive free rad­i­cal scavenger and plays a cru­cial role in the main­te­nance of our me­tab­o­lism and weight.

• Ex­po­sure to na­ture en­hances chil­dren’s con­cen­tra­tion, be­hav­iour and self-dis­ci­pline. Out­door play as­sists chil­dren to de­velop their skills as good cit­i­zens as they learn about team­work, moral rea­son­ing, so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, con­flict and ne­go­ti­a­tion. Gen­eral Medicine How im­por­tant is hand hy­giene? Hand­wash­ing is ex­tremely im­por­tant in pre­vent­ing the spread of germs. Wash­ing your hands with soap re­moves germs, help­ing to pre­vent in­fec­tions be­cause:

• Peo­ple fre­quently touch their eyes, nose, and mouth with­out even re­al­is­ing it. Germs can get into the body through the eyes, nose and mouth and make us sick.

• Germs from un­washed hands can get into foods and drinks while peo­ple pre­pare or con­sume them. Un­der cer­tain con­di­tions, germs mul­ti­ply in some types of foods or drinks.

• Germs from un­washed hands can be trans­ferred to other ob­jects, like handrails, ta­bles or toys, and then trans­ferred to

an­other per­son’s hands. Hand­wash­ing ed­u­ca­tion in the com­mu­nity:

• Re­duces the num­ber of peo­ple who get sick with di­ar­rhoea by 23-40%

• Re­duces res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses, like colds, in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion by 16-21%

• Re­duces ab­sen­teeism due to gas­troin­testi­nal ill­ness in school chil­dren by 29-57%


What kind of foods should we eat – and avoid – for a healthy heart? A healthy diet may help pre­vent cer­tain chronic dis­eases such as heart dis­ease, stroke and di­a­betes. It may also help to re­duce your risk of de­vel­op­ing some can­cers, and help main­tain a healthy weight. The di­etary guid­ance to re­duce your risk of heart dis­ease is as fol­lows:

• Veg­eta­bles, fruits and starchy foods should pro­vide the bulk of most meals. The re­main­der should be made up of pro­tein and dairy foods.

• Limit in­take of sat­u­rated fat to less than 10 per cent of to­tal fat in­take (prefer­ably in lean meat and low-fat dairy prod­ucts)

• Re­place sat­u­rated fat with polyun­sat­u­rated fat where pos­si­ble.

• Eat at least five to seven por­tions of fruit and veg­eta­bles per day.

• Eat at least two serv­ings of fish (prefer­ably oily fish) per week.

• Reg­u­larly eat whole grains and nuts.

• Limit salt to less than six grams a day.

• Limit al­co­hol in­take to less than 14 units per week. Avoid or re­duce the fol­low­ing: • Pro­cessed meats or com­mer­cially pro­duced foods (in­clud­ing ‘ready meals’) which tend to be high in salt and trans fatty acids.

• Re­fined car­bo­hy­drates, such as white bread and pro­cessed ce­re­als.

• Su­gar-sweet­ened drinks.

• High-calo­rie but nu­tri­tion­ally poor snacks, such as sweets, cakes and crisps.


Why is ex­er­cise im­por­tant at ev­ery age? The British Heart Foun­da­tion rec­om­mends adults un­der­take 2.5 hours of mod­er­ate in­ten­sity ex­er­cise ev­ery week to main­tain a healthy heart and body. This should be a com­bi­na­tion of aer­o­bic and mus­cle-strength­en­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

• In or­der to main­tain the strength of your bones, mus­cles and joints, in­clude mus­cle-strength­en­ing ac­tiv­i­ties, such as climb­ing stairs, walk­ing up­hill, lift­ing or car­ry­ing shop­ping, dig­ging the gar­den, weight train­ing, Pi­lates, yoga or sim­i­lar re­sis­tance ex­er­cises.

• Ide­ally, the ac­tiv­i­ties should also aim to im­prove your flex­i­bil­ity and bal­ance.

• Each ses­sion should be a min­i­mum of 8-10 ex­er­cises us­ing the ma­jor mus­cle groups. Ide­ally, use some sort of re­sis­tance (such as a weight for arm ex­er­cises) and do 8-12 rep­e­ti­tions of each ex­er­cise.

• You can do the ex­er­cises one af­ter an­other, or you can split a ses­sion up over a day in, say, bouts of 10 min­utes.

Fam­ily Medicine

is vi­ta­min d de­fi­ciency a prob­lem in here? How can we over­come this? Vi­ta­min D is es­sen­tial for our health and well­be­ing. In the UAE, 90 per cent of peo­ple suf­fer from Vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency.

• In ba­bies, de­fi­ciency can lead to cramps, seizures and breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

• Low Vi­ta­min D in chil­dren can cause soft skull or leg bones, curved legs, bone and mus­cle pains, weak­ness, poor growth, tooth de­lay, re­peated in­fec­tions and even heart prob­lems (rare).

• Adults may com­plain of tired­ness and vague aches and pains; a se­vere de­fi­ciency will cause se­vere pain and weak­ness.

• Vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency can be treated us­ing oral sup­ple­ments and in­jec­tions, and pre­vented by ad­e­quate ex­po­sure to sun­light for 30 min­utes daily. Lighter skinned in­di­vid­u­als need 15 min­utes daily.

• Vi­ta­min D can also be found in cer­tain foods in­clud­ing oily fish (sar­dines, trout, tuna, salmon, mack­erel), egg yolks, red meat, liver and al­monds.

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