Dr Sleeman from Kildare Road Medical Centre gives tips on healthy living

HEALTH MATTERS: Dr Sleeman from Kildare Road Medical Centre said the health of children sets them up for their health in adulthood. Picture: Geoff Jones

HEALTH MATTERS: Dr Sleeman from Kildare Road Medical Centre said the health of children sets them up for their health in adulthood. Picture: Geoff Jones

Blacktown’s Kildare Road Medical Centre hosted a series of presentations last month for their ‘Re-Tune 4 June’ health campaign.

Aimed to educate patients about healthy living, the series of talks addressed healthy eating, exercise, mental health and hygiene.

Dr Nicole Sleeman has been working as a GP for almost three years and said it is important for both adults and children to take control of their health habits.

“Soon after I started working at Kildare Road Medical Centre, it became apparent to me that there was so much room for improving children’s health in the Blacktown area,” she said.

“It seemed there was little knowledge on what a healthy diet looks like and how bad sugar drinks and packaged foods are for both kids and adults.”

To show kids what good health is and how to look after themselves, we need to look after ourselves too. - Dr Nicole Sleeman

“We decided we needed to start teaching our patients and members of the community what ‘health’ looks like and how to achieve it.”

The 32-year-old said parents need to model to their children what it means to be healthy.

“A diet high in sugar and packaged foods and inadequate physical activity increases a child’s risk of diabetes and obesity when they get older,” she said.

“To show kids what good health is and how to look after themselves, we need to look after ourselves too.

“Getting healthy and changing our lifestyle can seem like a huge task and feel overwhelming, but making small, consistent changes to your lifestyle will get you to the finish line.”

Dr Sleeman’s tips:

  1. Steer clear of sugary drinks: They rot our teeth and cause obesity and diabetes. Kids should only be drinking water - nature provides it for us.
  2. Minimise packaged foods: When food is packaged, it usually has either a lot of sugar or a lot of salt. Fresh is best.
  3. Eat fruit and vegetables: Most of our diet should be made up of these. Buy produce which is grown near by to maximise your nutrition and minimise food mileage.
  4. Minimise screen time: Kids shouldn’t have more than two hours of screen time each day and kids under two shouldn’t have any.
  5. Get physical: It contributes to physical, mental, emotional and social health and helps prevent diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease and depression. Physical activity should be something you enjoy so that it’s not a chore, but instead, an enjoyable part of everyday living.
  6. Get adequate sleep: A healthy diet, daily physical activity and adequate sleep all contribute substantially to good mental health.
  7. Nurture relationships: Our relationships with others and with ourselves affect our mental health significantly. Invest time in positive relationships with others and cultivate a caring relationship with yourself.
  8. Brush your teeth: For a bright smile, brush for two minutes each morning and night.
  9. Hygiene products: Many products contain microbeads which are harmful to the ocean and sea life. Try making your own toothpaste/powder and deodorant.
  10. Balance: Find a balance between being clean and spending time outside getting dirty. There are many things in healthy soil and dirt which are good for us to have contact with and children should be in contact with nature every day. It helps their immune system.
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