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Back to School Health Tips for Parents and Students

The long summer holidays can make for a relaxing time for both children and their parents. Meal times are often a little less formal with more time for the family to prepare and spend time with one another. In addition, some hygiene-related habits can fall out of vogue. However, once the ensuing term begins, it is time to get back to something that is much more routine-based.

What should the back to school season mean in terms of good health measures and dietary intakes which will help to prevent sickness and problems like childhood obesity?

Young Children

Kids who are in their first term at kindergarten or primary school need to learn the basics of hygiene. Mixing with other children in greater numbers means being exposed to germs until the immune system builds up.

A routine of thorough hand washing should be established before lunchtime and after school before healthy snacks like fruit are given. Youngsters as young as four have been known to develop eating disorders, so it is important to ask even young children about how they are feeling, especially when dealing with anxiety about school and meal times.

Children who have been sick from a bug should stay away from school for 48 hours. Some diseases, like chickenpox, are almost inevitably going to be picked up but it is important to know the symptoms so that parents don’t get confused with potentially more serious complaints, such as scarlet fever.


As kids get older, so their appetites grow. When children hit puberty they will need an increased amount of food closer to adult portions.

According to the NHS, average 13-year-old boys need 2,414 kilo-calories of food with girls requiring 2,232. The corresponding figures for 18 year-olds are greater, at 3,155 and 2,462 respectively. As well as limiting food that is full of fat and sugar, teenagers can look after their health by taking regular exercise. As bones and muscles grow during puberty, it is important that they are used.

Jogging, swimming and playing field sports are all ideal ways of developing muscle tone. It will also help with regard to mental health because working out, even just a few times a week, will help to release endorphins that are good for the brain. When teenagers return to school, it is a good idea to get back into the habit of showering each day. They may also experience a little fatigue after long hours of concentrating in the classroom. After all, more adult-like smells start to occur the older teenagers get!

Prevent problems of acne by applying soap and water to the face daily and by scrubbing under fingernails so that dirt is not accidentally transferred to the mouth. Also, helps to encourage teenagers to make sure they have good health for the feet to prevent any fungal infections.

University Students

Young adults attending freshers week for the first time may have a lot to contend with but falling into poor health should not be one. According to the NHS, even the meagre budget of most undergraduates can mean eating healthily. Cheap but healthy foods include lentils and pulses which count as one of their five-a-day plus providing protein and fibre. Eating occasional vegetarian meals tends to make money stretch further, too. One of the key health risks for new students is drinking too much. It is important that students know their limits and stick to the health guidelines for alcohol intake.


Stress can lead to mental health problems, too. As such, it is a good idea to inform the academic staff of nominated people that can be contacted in the event of an emergency, such as an emotional breakdown. Some students can find it tough to sleep at first. This can be overcome by doing some physical exercise during the day and using meditation techniques to clear the mind before bed. It may lead to a panic attack or anxiety it is good to look after your health.

Overall, it is important to focus on the key health issues youngsters will face at each stage of their lives and to think about preventative measures just as much as reactive ones. The beginning of a new term, as a fresh start, is the ideal time to renew such measures.

Source: Nhs.uk, Webmd.com

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