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Episode #17: The Impact of the Pandemic on Child Brain Development

Functional Health Radio

Release Date: 05/10/2024

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Episode Summary:

In this powerful and thought-provoking episode of "Functional Health Radio," Dr. Kristin Hieshetter tackles pressing concerns about the decline in life expectancy and the rise of chronic diseases among children in the United States. Dr. Hieshetter unpacks the startling statistics and makes a poignant call to action for improving healthcare outcomes and nurturing the full potential of the human body. As she weaves through the complex landscape of healthcare spending, disease management, and preventive health strategies, listeners will be guided to consider the profound impact of lifestyle choices and societal shifts on public health.

Dr. Hieshetter's narrative shifts to a deeply personal account, sharing the struggle her young daughter faced during the pandemic-related changes in social norms and educational settings. She vividly describes how screen time and the loss of human interaction have dramatically affected children's development. With a focus on functional health, Dr. Hieshetter elaborates on the physiological and psychological repercussions of pandemic protocols, emphasizing the need for crucial interventions to foster the well-being of the youngest generation.

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States has seen a significant decline in life expectancy post-2016, which continued to drop through 2021, accompanied by unprecedented rates of chronic diseases among children.

  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to developmental challenges in children due to increased screen time, social restrictions, and educational disruptions.

  • Emotional and psychological impacts of the pandemic on children are significant, with Dr. Hieshetter narrating the profound confusion and distress her own daughter experienced.

  • The foundations of a child's brain development are tied to touch, communication, and social interaction, all of which suffered during pandemic lockdowns and mask mandates.

  • Dr. Hieshetter calls for parents and educators to actively involve themselves in the development of children's brain health through consistent, purposeful engagement and reduction of screen time.

Notable Quotes:

  • "We are walking around in the most amazing, intelligent, responsive, adapting, and aware system in the world, the human body."

  • "These pandemic kids, they weren't neglected, but we're seeing patterns in their brain development that is similar because they didn't receive the same type of stimulus."

  • "The more time we spend on a screen, the less likely we are to be out there running around and exercising."

  • "The pandemic was hard enough on these kids... they deserve us being on purpose, mission-driven."

Resources:

  • World Economic Forum 

  • CDC Vital Statistics Report 

  • European Journal of Endocrinology (Gluckman & Hanson, 2006) 

  • Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics (June 30, 2021)

After an insightful deep dive into the modern challenges of health and development, especially among children, Dr. Kristin Hieshetter leaves listeners with actionable advice and much to ponder. 

To explore the extensive knowledge that Dr. Hieshetter has shared and to learn more about how we can nurture the next generation's health, tune in to the full episode of "Functional Health Radio." Stay engaged with us for more episodes that empower you towards optimal health and well-being.