This article is written with one idea in mind, one underlying question that I think all parents have in common: How do I provide the best foundation for health in my children? At the end of the day, we all want what is best for our kids and we make the absolute best decisions with the information available to us. In our world, there is more information out there than one person could comprehend in 10 lifetimes.
So where do we start? The following 5 questions are often asked by parents looking to improve or maintain their children’s health. My answers are my professional opinion as a health care practitioner*, and my personal opinion as a father.
[Disclaimer: The information you are about to read is strongly opinionated and against the grain. It is largely based on our personal experience, colleague and grassroots agreement, and observational conclusions. If you are looking for FDA or CDC approval STOP! If you are looking for some fresh ideas from a dedicated father and determined healthcare practitioner who consistently strives to improve the health of all those he touches, keep reading. I will try my best not to offend anyone, but no promises.]
Question #1: How will this test or procedure improve my child’s health?
For every sneeze, cough or hiccup, there are 10 tests that could be run to investigate the cause, measure data points, and maybe even diagnosis something that requires more tests and data points, and maybe a new diagnosis, this time with a regiment of medication with, perhaps more tests. Often, the right question is not being asked: What are the results of this test or procedure going to tell me about my child’s health and what will I do with the results?
The entire healthcare industry is built upon the foundation of diagnosis and disease intervention. In order to diagnose, a practitioner must gather information through consultations, exams, and testing. If the information fits a certain criteria, then a certain course of action or treatment is recommended. Our intuitive nature as humans has led to countless breakthroughs in technology for calculating a host of data to measure the functions of our body.
We have had such a rapid expansion in technology over the last several decades that our ability to calculate certain body functions has greatly surpassed our ability to logically interpret the results and apply them in a healthful manner. If we’re not interpreting the results of tests correctly, we are often causing more harm than good. If we’re carrying out unnecessary procedures based on misinformation, we’re adding risks and potentially creating additional problems. If the overall goal is health, then the question is obvious – Is this course of action going to benefit the health of my child? Sometime that answers is yes. Sometimes that answer is no.
The next time your child’s health care professional suggests a test or procedure for YOUR child, remember that YOU have the right to know the risks and overall benefits of that procedure. You should be comfortable asking questions and taking the time to understand the answers. If he or she cannot give you a complete answer or you are not comfortable with the answers given to you, it may be time to shop for another provider that fits your family health goals.
How do we as parents provide the best opportunity for health in our children? Ask questions. Understand the answers. Make the decisions that are right for you and your family. In the end, the best advice that can be given is to lead by example. Strive for health in your life; in turn, they will learn by example. Give them the opportunity to grow in health! This is question 1 of 5 – Check back later this week for the next installment