Help children build life-long wellness habits.
American parents are taking their children for chiropractic treatment in greater numbers, demonstrating increased confidence in pediatric chiropractic.1 In addition to being able to help children with specific issues, DCs are in a great position to provide general counseling on nutrition and wellness for children.
A growing problem
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), childhood obesity has more than doubled in children, and quadrupled in adolescents over the last 30 years.2 Teaching nutrition and wellness basics to children and their parents as a normal part of an office visit is essential to changing that statistic.
But basic nutritional counseling may not be enough to help. A 2007 study examined fourth graders participating in a soccer program with a nutrition intervention.3 They found no association between body mass index and their nutritional knowledge.
Additional steps, such as participation in sports programs, may be necessary for children to lose weight. In addition to helping children learn to maintain a healthy weight, activities like sports, help young people develop strength, which supports the musculoskeletal system.
While DCs are in a great position to provide wellness advice, there is a significant disagreement whether or not specific chiropractic treatments are appropriate for children of varying ages. In addition, published studies examining the benefits of chiropractic treatments on common issues most often involve adults.4 This leaves a gap in the research for this demographic.
While this topic is widely discussed among DCs, several surveys conducted in recent years point to minimal adverse effects. A 2009 survey of American chiropractors and a larger 2012 survey of European chiropractors both showed adverse events to occur with less than 1 percent of pediatric patients.5
Make it a family affair
If a child understands how eating an apple rather than a candy bar can lead to better overall health, he or she may make better choices. But the responsibility of making sure there are apples to choose lies with the parents or guardians, and many of them may also need some guidance.
1 American Chiropractic Association. “Increasing Number of Children Receive Pediatric Chiropractic Care.” https://www.acatoday.org/press_css.cfm?CID=3247. Published January 2009. Accessed August 2015.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Childhood Obesity Facts.” http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm. Published April 2015. Accessed August 2015.
3 Leach RA, Yares JM. Nutrition and Youth Soccer for Childhood Overweight: A Pilot Novel Chiropractic Health Education Intervention. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2008;31(6):434-41.
4 Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network. Explore (NY). 2009 Sep-Oct;5(5):290-5.
5 Fanucchi GL, Stewart A, Jordaan R, Becker P. Exercise reduces the intensity and prevalence of low back pain in 12-13 year old children: a randomised trial. Aust J Physiother. 2009;55(2):97-104.