Playtimes April 2014 - page 77

Health tip
Vitamin D is not found in high
concentrations in dietary sources;
instead, it’s produced by the body
in response to UVB radiation in
sunlight. Vitamin D is needed
for calcium absorption, which is
particularly relevant for pre-teens
whose bones are growing rapidly.
Children who spend most of their
time indoors or wearing high SPF
sunscreen may miss out. Just 15
Tackle teen issues head-on
Many teen health issues can be tackled
with early and frank discussions
between you and your child.
Drugs and alcohol
Alcohol can be a positive and enjoyable
part of our lives, but drinking too
young can lead to long-term health
problems and can put young people in
risky situations. Top medical experts
recommend that children avoid
drinking any alcohol at all before
they are 15. It’s important for you to
set a positive example, and to explain
the risks associated with alcohol to
your pre-teen, so that they can make
decisions responsibly in a few years’
Personal safety
Hong Kong is very safe compared
with other cities around the world, but
this can be deceptive for young teens
who have little experience of dealing
with the risks and dangers faced in
other countries. Traffic, crime or
simply getting lost in an unfamiliar
to 20 minutes of sunlight on the bare
face and arms on a clear day in Hong
Kong will be sufficient. When that’s not
possible, talk to your doctor about a
You may notice that as your child
grows and enters puberty, their appetite
grows with them. This is normal, but
remember to watch that their diet
remains balanced. Unfortunately this
isn’t always easy, and many teenagers
are now overweight. We know that
this can lead to serious health
problems such as type II diabetes
and heart disease later in life. At
the other extreme, anorexia may be
a worry for parents with pre-teen
and teenage children. If you’re at all
concerned about your child’s weight
or eating habits, please make an
appointment to discuss it with your
Possible signs
of anorexia
• Weight loss
• Fear of gaining weight
• Refusal to eat
• Denial of hunger
• Constant exercising
• Sensitivity to cold
• Absent or irregular periods
• Loss of scalp hair
• Distorted body image
• Loss of interest in friends
and hobbies
• Tiredness or fainting
place can all be alarming for children
and frightening for parents. Prepare
your pre-teen for their growing
independence over the next few years
by agreeing to expanding boundaries
and allowing them to try new
experiences one step at a time.
Puberty and sex
One of the big issues on parents’ minds
as their children reach the teenage
years is how to talk about puberty
and sex. Most experts agree that it’s
best to start early and be open. You
April 2014
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