How a sedentary lifestyle impacts children's immunity (2023)


The Doctor Is In!
How does having an inactive lifestyle affect children's diet and immunity? And what's the role of metabolism to their immune system?
Dr. Freddie Gomez answers your questions with the help of pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Randy Urtula and pediatrician Dr. Khlaire Pioquinto.


Welcome everyone to the doctor is in I'm.

Dr, freddie gomez.

Now more than ever developing children's strong.

Immune systems is vital to keep them healthy.

And while staying at home, prevents them from getting exposed to the virus quarantine restrictions can also negatively impact your child's health.

Today, we discuss how we can help strengthen their immune systems.

Despite these challenging times with us today is.

Dr, randy ortula he's, a pediatric gastroenterologist.

Welcome to the show.

Dr, randy, hi.

Dr, freddie and hi to all our viewers out there, good afternoon everyone now, no one is spared from the lifestyle changes brought about by the pandemic.

And that includes children I at home home schooled without the face-to-face, uh benefit of being in school.

And this brings about a lower overall, uh activity of the children how how can this uh sedentary lifestyle brought about by the situation affect the type of diet, the type of food.

They eat the things they drink and subsequently their immunity.

You know, dr, freddie, uh, that's, a very good observation because right now, the pandemic has affected our lifestyle as well.

We just cannot go out and buy food or eat somewhere else.

And then of course, what we do now are actually taking in orders from uh, home, deliveries as well as our fast food outlets and drive-throughs, no and that's a source of our diet that is not healthy for sometimes for children.

However, this pandemic right now gave us a chance to closely watch the diet of our children.

And because we know that proper nutrition is part of good growth and development as well as maintaining our immunity in this time of the pandemic that's true.

But what are the nutrients needed to support? Uh, a child's immunity paramaging healthy at all.

Well, I mean, no trains out there.

I know, it's important right now are those that actually support our immunity as well as our nutrition.

For example, merentine vitamin a vitamin c hie.

And these are called the antioxidant vitamins and on top of that, the new micronutrient zinc.

Now actually, zinc has been there for a lot of times already being used for management of other diseases.

But right now they are the ones being totally particularly very important right now during the times of pandemic.

You can get them from fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat as well as milk, particularly the fortified ones.

And therefore you should take in them regularly and daily so that you can be assured of your proper growth and development as well as immunity enough to supply, the nutritional requirements of their small yet higher than an adult's metabolism bodies.

So in order to help that there are supplements available in the market like what you said, milk, but are there particular formulations that parents and our viewers should look for and especially labels to things that we buy and eat.

What should these labels say with regards to nutrients, actually with the uh, the perfect with the improvement in science, there have already been discoveries regarding certain components of milk, particularly from breast milk because it's the gold standard, no that can actually improve immunity and health.

For example, we have your human milk oligosaccharides.

This is a special group of sugars in the milk that can give you or boost your immunity.

You know, they do this by acting as like a decoy instead of the virus or bacteria surface receptor attaching to the surface of your intestinal mucosa.

They attach to these hmos, which can be easily taken off of your body.

Now they also help to train the immune system of the child, which is still immature.

Also, there are certain probiotics or life organisms that when you take in offer you health benefits, but not all probiotics available in the market right now are created equal.

Actually, for example, vp the bacterium lactase is, of course, uh, a strain of probiotic that has been proven and legally proven and supported by studies to improve our gut health as well as our immunity.

Now, a lot of these ones when you take in fortified milk would help you particularly on the maintenance of your immunity and nutrition as well.

So we must read the labels.

We must be curious of the labeling of our diet or the food that we eat.

Take a look if these claims are actually clinically proven and backed up by science with adequately.

Good studies to back them up.

There are online shows or medical programs such as this one that help parents decide what's best for their child's health immunity.

Can you tell us more about this? Uh, doctor, well, uh, this, uh, this has been designed, particularly to answer some of the health queries of our patients, not in all our viewers.

And this is designed particularly to give advice to parents, which is based on science, no.

And we should give them as doctors.

We should give them, uh, certain information that should be based on science.

And of course, clinically proven.

And in that sense, we defer our advices to what science tells us.

For example, science tells us that your vitamin a c, e and your zinc offers you improved immunity and for proper work and development.

Science also tells us that certain components of milk like probiotics.

And your hmos are there to help you protect the gut, because there have been studies of establishing, the uh connection between your git and your immunity.

And of course, lastly, you have to be curious for the fact that certain uh proteins in your body should be taken in in a particular amount.

And of course, the proper type because they also help you improve your immunity as well as your growth and development.

So therefore we should always read what is labeled in our food, but we will be guided that if these claims are okay, or not, because a lot of information are coming from the internet, not only that from your lolo and lola your family members, and even your friends, no.

And some of this might not be right.

Some of them may even advise you mega dosing that can lead to overdoses like to give them information that should be based on science and also clinically proven very good advice.

And before I let you go.

Dr, randy do you have a message for our viewers out there with regards to how to keep their child's immune system healthy, especially now during the pandemic and dr, freddie, you should watch their diet right now.

It gives you the time right now to watch what their diet or their eating.

And if they're properly taken in, and therefore be curious of what they eat read the labels, make sure that they are, of course, the right ones, which is clinically scientifically proven.

And if you're in doubt call your pediatrician, because they are more in a position to give you advice on these matters.

Yes, when in doubt definitely consult your pediatrician.

Thank you very much.

Dr, randy ortula for sharing your expertise on children's nutrition and immunity we'll.

Take a quick break when we come back we'll discuss the role and importance of children's metabolism to their immune systems all that.

And more when the doctor is in return we're glad to have you with us on the doctor is in I'm.

Dr, freddie gomez.

We often hear how our metabolism affects the way we gain or lose weight, but did you know that it can also impact our immune systems.

And the same is true for growing children.


Why it's important to make sure they're getting the proper nutrition they need joining us is pediatrician.

Dr, claire pio quinto she's, a diplomat at the philippine pediatric society.

And also a consultant at the at the adult and pediatric clinic, welcome to the show doctor, claire, good afternoon, defending afternoon viewers.

But can you explain to us briefly? Metabolism, what's its role in our body and bhakta kalamanito.

You know, metabolism is a process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy, which your body needs for efficient function, such as exercise dancing playing.

So it's, very important that we, um, we eat the proper nutrition, or we eat the right type of food convert it, or we will be able to use it efficiently.


And we know that a child's metabolism is generally faster than an adult.


Do you think that allowing a child to eat anything? They want la.

Luna, hindi master can interfere with their naturally higher.

Metabolism later on in life, definitely nutrition is the key to metabolism, it's important that we keep a healthy balanced diet of carbohydrates, protein fat, vitamins and minerals.

So for example, if your child consumes excessive amounts of carbohydrates from like chocolates cookies cakes, this will yield sugar, and we know that consumption of too much sugar can lead to diabetes.

Yes, very important, uh for for parents, uh, to know that definitely, uh now let's continue on this discussion by answering, uh, some of the questions that were sent in from the cnn philippines, facebook page.

We have a question from lar antano.

My child loves sports, but can no longer play due to the pandemic.

What are practical ways? He can exercise at home? Definitely, um, you know, fans just have to be creative with addressing or adjusting to the pandemic.

I know it's hard.

So for example, you can make use of the free online youtube videos of dancing other exercises like yoga.

And there are also other sports there that you can, um copy or you can you know watch.

And then you can do it at home with your kids.

Okay, very good.

What diet is ideal for kids that helps improve their metabolism.

I always believe in a healthy balanced diet.

So there's, really no idea, except for the balanced and healthy, healthy diet.

So has to be distributed equally the carbohydrates, the protein the fat that the vitamins and minerals that I mentioned before so it's important that you give them equally.

And then you, um, you feed them three times a day, three full meals a day and then snacks in between.


I have a follow-up question with that.

Dr, claire.

So a lot of the foods that are high in sugar high in fructose are actually marketed towards kids.

Do you think that parents in general should stay away completely from these things? Or is it? Okay to give their child? You know, a treat every now.

And then that is, uh high in sugar, everything in moderation amanda, freddy.

I mean, it's it's hard also to just restrict them completely from treats, but not too much not excessive.

So you can give it to them like poor cake lunch more for a cookie, islam too much carbs or too much like cookies and chocolates and ice creams so they're, not going to eat the rice meat anymore.

So, okay, yeah.

So you have to offer the meal first.

And then you give it as a dessert now, yes, that's, uh.

I agree with that I did moderation, or if not very content parallel, okay, we have to pass for another break.

But when we return we'll talk about the best ways we can give children the emotional support, they need while in quarantine, stay with us.

Right here on the doctors.

Welcome to another session here on the doctor is in I'm.

Dr, freddy gomez and you're, watching cnn philippines.

Aside from the physical change that our children are experiencing the minimal social interactions that the pandemic has forced upon them can greatly impact their mental health it's important that we find creative ways to give our children, the emotional support that they need and see.

Dr, claire pediatrician.


Dr, claire aside from having a balanced diet and regular physical activities during home quarantine.

Children also need to maintain a healthy mind.

So how can you give? Uh, how can one be able? Or how can the parents be guided, uh by this and how and how to follow this? Can you give some tips on how to achieve this goal at home? Okay, um, you know.

Dr, freddie this.

Pandemic has brought us, feelings of anxiety and sadness, not only amongst adults.

But also the children.

We mean that they're not affected by this, but we have to realize that this pandemic took away school, you know when they can interact with their friends and then other, um, social gatherings.

So, um, the approach to this.

I suppose would be, uh, depending it depends on the age of the child.

So if you have toddlers, um, you have to make sure that you know, the the things that they see on tv are filtered, because suddenly all they see on tv.

Now are people getting sick and people starving so just be mindful of what your child sees or hears on tv.

And then consider reducing the amount of screen time, especially if it's focused on kovid alone.

So you have to maintain structures and routines, um, maybe their meal time should be scheduled, and that their study time, their play time, their bedtime also, but not too strict.

And then also with, um toddlers.

I feel like they have to make them feel like they're in control, because it keeps them empowered.

So, for example, you can tell them that they can stop the spread of the virus if they stay at home or wash their hands properly, or you know, maintain proper hygiene and stuff like that.

Okay, very good advice and I'm.

Sure, dr, claire in your practice as a pediatrician.

I think one of the important things that parents should should know about their child is how to understand them.

So with you with your advice, what are some practical ways to better understand, uh, someone's child, or for the for the parents watching how to better understand their child because challenging, um, well, it's important to keep the communication lines open, even if you're busy with work.

So when you get home, you have to talk to your child, and then ask them how their day went.

And then, of course, you know when you get home make sure that that time when you're at home is really, um for your child, because you were away in the whole day.

So you play with them.

You ask them what they learned in school today because it's online learning you ask them, um, is it easy for you? Or would you rather just go to school? And then you know, you explain to them why this is happening.

So just, um, keep the communication lines, open that's, very important, keeping that communication bridge, always there between you and your child.

Now let's answer, some more social media questions, what causes loss of appetite in children? Okay, um.

I suppose it depends on the the cause, or when it started, if it started during this pandemic, it could have been, um because they're, um, I think it's because of the loss of routine like they sleep late.

And then they wake up late.

So sometimes they skip breakfast already or for some.

And you know, they're, they're, um, having adjustment problems.

So what you can do is you tell them that if you eat properly, if you have proper or good nutrition, then your body will be able to, um handle the virus, or you will your body will be able to fight the virus properly.

So I think that's one of the ways that you can, um, you can uh, adjust the situation.

Then the other thing that I always tell the parents is because especially with toddlers, sometimes they really are repeat eaters.

So you know, just is it? Um for parents, uh.

Dr, claire to still maintain a routine when it comes to their child this, uh, even now in a pandemic.

Most of the time is it good to have still have that form of structure, uh around children.

Yes, of course, like what I mentioned earlier, um, the children are having a hard time adjusting because not going to school anymore.

So they sometimes they end up sleeping very late like watching tv shows.

And in the morning, they wake up really late also sometimes lunch.

So it's important that you keep a schedule for them because it's hard for children to adjust enough as it is they're, not going to school and then I'm going to tell you so make sure that they're having okay have breakfast lunch with you and dinner so that you know, it's, it's better that way.

Okay, we have another question from danielle.

My toddler loves drinking milk, is it a sufficient substitute for water? What do you think? Dr, claire it depends on the age.

Um, I hope we always we pediatricians.

We always advise that if they reach the age of one year old that their nutrition should be coming from the food that they eat already.

And we just supplement it with milk like two to three glasses of milk per day in a lung.

So, um, if they're babies, of course, if infants padden then shrimp food that their nutrition is mainly from the milk, but it's, if the child is already toddler, then their meal should be breakfast lunch dinner.

And then ideally around less than 20 ounces of milk per day in a lab.

Okay? And we have our last question from olio, campo antonio, mostly at home due to the pandemic, is it still recommended to have morning and afternoon? Snacks? Yes, uh, snacks, of course, have to be healthy like fruits and vegetables.

So what we advise parents is that you distribute the meal times to breakfast lunch dinner and then snacks in between.

So when you say snacks, not candies, not chocolates or cakes, I mean, you can give a little, but you know, ideally it should be fruits vegetables and then the healthy snacks.

The man, okay.

Thank you very much.

Dr, claire pio quinto for helping us answer.

Some of these questions, always a pleasure to have you on the show and to our viewers.

Thanks for watching us.


Remember, yes, remember we're all in this fight against the pandemic together.

Let's practice, proper safety measures and do our part I'm.

Dr, freddie gomez and we'll.

See you on med? Talk, health, talk, starting september 2 at 3, 30 pm, till then stay safe.

Everyone you.


How does sedentary lifestyle affect children? ›

In children and adolescents, sedentary behaviors have also been linked with unfavorable health indicators, such as lower physical fitness (10), higher fatness (11), clustered cardiometabolic risk scores (12), and lower self-esteem (13).

Does sedentary lifestyle weaken immune system? ›

Results: Most studies show that regular exercise training increases immune competence and reduces the risk of infection compared to a sedentary lifestyle. In contrast, acute prolonged bouts of exercise and periods of intensified training are followed by a temporary increase in the risk of infection.

How does a sedentary lifestyle affect your health? ›

Sedentary behaviors have wide-ranging adverse impacts on the human body including increased all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer risk, and risks of metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and dyslipidemia; musculoskeletal disorders such as arthralgia and osteoporosis; ...

How much does being sedentary affect your health? ›

It may seem hard to believe that sedentary behavior can cause health problems, but it's true – it may result in increased blood pressure, weight gain and many more dangerous health issues. Without even realizing it, you could be sliding into an increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

What are the causes of sedentary behavior in children? ›

Among these, the age of the parents, the mother's educational level, the presence of screen-based devices at home – and, most importantly, in the child's bedroom – non-educational computer use at home, and traffic safety in the neighborhoods were the children lived were found to strongly correlate with sedentary ...

What are examples of sedentary Behaviour in children? ›

Sedentary behaviours for children include: not moving around or using much energy. sitting for long periods of time. using technology, for example computers, cell phones, tablets.

What habits weaken the immune system? ›

8 Things That Can Weaken Your Immune System
  • Consuming Excessive Amounts of Sugar.
  • Not Getting Proper Rest.
  • Consuming Caffeine Late in the Day.
  • Eating a Low-Fiber Diet.
  • Stressing Yourself Out.
  • Drinking Too Much.
  • Not Getting Enough Exercise.
  • Loneliness.

Does lack of rest affect your immune system? ›

Olson, M.D. Yes, lack of sleep can affect your immune system. Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick.

How does weakened immune system affect the body? ›

Immunocompromisation is a way to describe a weak immune system. When your immune system is weakened, your body can't fight off viruses, bacteria, or fungi very well. This can lead to serious infections and can pose a major health risk.

What does sedentary lifestyle cause and effect? ›

Share on Pinterest A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Recent research is starting to confirm the health risks associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Studies have now consistently demonstrated that leading a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to: obesity.

What are 5 health problems that may result from being sedentary? ›

Sedentary lifestyles increase all causes of mortality, double the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity, and increase the risks of colon cancer, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lipid disorders, depression and anxiety.

What are the effects of having a sedentary life how can we prevent this? ›

Research has shown that prolonged periods of sitting and inactivity are associated with health problems, such as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, and certain types of cancer.

What is the most common type of sedentary behavior? ›

Common sedentary behaviours include TV viewing, video game playing, computer use (collective termed “screen time”), driving automobiles, and reading. This definition of sedentary behaviour has been published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

What are 3 problems that can develop from living a sedentary lifestyle? ›

What are the health risks of an inactive lifestyle?
  • Obesity.
  • Heart diseases, including coronary artery disease and heart attack.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Stroke.
  • Metabolic syndrome.
  • Type 2 diabetes.
  • Certain cancers, including colon, breast, and uterine cancers.
Jun 27, 2017

What is a sedentary lifestyle kids? ›

A sedentary lifestyle or behavior is defined as little or no physical activity in the daily routine. Most of the time is spent either sitting or lying down while engaging in an activity like reading, watching TV, playing games on screen or just relaxing.

What does sedentary mean for kids? ›

Sedentary means sitting a lot and refers to a person or job that is not very physically active. If you have a sedentary job, you might want to stand up and stretch every hour or so, and if your doctor says that you are too sedentary, she means that it would be healthier for you to exercise more.

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