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5 Public Health Risks Your Children Need to Know About

Posted May 1, 2013 by Melanie to Family Finance 0 0
This post was written by a EasyFinance.com Community member. The views expressed below may not reflect the views of EasyFinance.com.


As a parent, you have the responsibility to tell your kids about factors that could compromise quality of life. Failure to do that could make them more likely to deal with health problems, and unfortunately, it’s not sufficient to merely hope that these topics will be covered in school. Although efforts are being made to address them in educational environments, it’s necessary to take a more personalized approach for maximum effectiveness. Keep reading to learn about five pressing concerns.

Childhood Obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that over the past three decades, the amount of obese children has doubled, while the rate of the problem in adolescents has increased threefold.

 Because immediate problems such as low self-esteem, bone and joint problems and prediabetes can be a precursor to issues like heart disease, strokes and cancer as adults, this public health threat is one that cannot afford to be overlooked.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

It’s also important not to delay the dreaded sex talk with your kids. The World Health Organization found that people around the world from the ages of 15 to 19 are the second most likely group to contract sexually transmitted infections. Since many of these can be spread rapidly by people who are unaware that they’re carriers, and several infections don’t have symptoms in the early stages, prevention and education are the best courses of action.


Some health risks have emotional effects that last for several years, and bullying is a strong example. DoSomething.org says that more than 3 million kids each year are victims of bullying, and thanks to the rise of the Internet, not all of it occurs face-to-face. While your kids are still young, encourage a sense of trust so they’ll be more likely to come to you with problems.


DoSomething.org also notes that every day, almost 3,900 people under the age of 18 try their first cigarette, and of those, about 950 will go on to smoke on a daily basis.  Good parenting starts with setting a good example, which means it’s helpful for you to try quitting if you’re currently a smoker. Also, because kids are often lured by the glamorous aspects of smoking, remind them of the negative factors such as the smell, cost and risk of lung cancer.

Lead in Paint and Plastics

In the past, problems like poorly designed buildings and materials that were later found to be hazardous caused substantial health problems for kids, especially in the case of lead-based paint. The Environmental Protection Agency is one organization that’s involved with creating buildings that keep kids safer and healthier, but the CDC found that there are still about 500,000 children with toxic levels of lead in their blood.

This may be because although lead paint is now banned in the United States, homes painted before the 1970s might contain lead, and it’s still legal to use it in plastics. Encourage safe playing habits by teaching kids never to put toys in their mouths. Also, take steps to safely remove lead paint from the home if your family might be exposed.

Although these five risks cover a broad spectrum, they should help you kickstart discussions about public health concerns that could adversely affect your child’s way of life. They’re all worth a close look because the factors are so prevalent in today’s culture.

About Melanie: Tracy Rentz blogs for health blogs. Interested in uncovering more public health risks for kids?  You may think about a career in public health and master's degree programs in the field offered at University of California.

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