Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Getting a Head Start on Healthy Habits

A survey published in December's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine examined the health of children attending Head Start.

The study found that most Head Start programs work to prevent childhood obesity. Obese children have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

OSA is a serious medical condition. Children and adults with OSA may wake up hundreds of times a night without knowing it. This fragmented sleep puts them at risk for many problems.

About 30 percent of kids in Head Start programs are overweight or obese. So it is important that they have access to healthy foods and stay active.

The survey found that on a daily basis, most children at Head Start programs eat fruits and vegetables, drink low-fat or non-fat milk, and get play time.

Losing weight can decrease the severity of OSA. On Monday, this blog discussed a new study that shows that weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea.

In addition to weight loss, many adults with OSA can treat their apnea with an oral appliance. Find-a-dentist trained to treat sleep apnea near you.

Head Start is the largest federally funded early-childhood education program, serving about one million low-income kids ages 3 and 4.

Read more about the survey at USA Today.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.