Arthritis is usually thought of as a condition which only affects older people, however, the reality is that it can strike at any age.
In the UK, approximately 15,000 children and young people are affected by arthritis* and it is estimated that this figure is only set to rise in the future.
Today’s sedentary lifestyles may be partly to blame for the increase of arthritis in young people, as research has shown that keeping active is essential in preventing stiffness and joints swelling up. Sitting at computers all day and then vegging out in front of the TV at night certainly does nothing to help the condition. This kind of lifestyle sets up a vicious circle where people are in too much pain to exercise when exercising is the very thing that might help them.
Another contributor to developing arthritis is poor nutrition which results from a bad diet. Consuming too many ready meals and not getting the recommended ‘five a day’ portions of fruit and vegetables means that many young people lack vital nutrients. Being healthy does not equal being boring – there are fun ways of keeping fit and healthy food can be tasty. Exercising and eating healthily also encourages weight loss, and being lighter means less stress on your joints.
If your child has been diagnosed with arthritis then lots of help and advice can be found at www.arthritiscare.org.uk