Live, Play, Learn — What Keeps Kids Healthy

Listen 48:39
Image: Isabella Turturo

Image: Isabella Turturo

What matters to a child’s health? Sure, some things are embedded in our genetics. But from the moment we’re born, there are a million different experiences, factors, and choices that contribute — from our neighborhoods and homes, to screen time and family dynamics. There’s also air pollution, neighborhood crime, where we’re born. Health researchers call that stuff “social determinants.” Sometimes, those things can cause stress that lead to sickness. Meanwhile, welcoming and supportive environments can be like winning the “health lottery” for some kids. In this episode, we examine how environments influence kids’ health — their minds and bodies, growth and behavior — and their futures.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • When a San Francisco Bay Area family discovered lead paint in their home, they had to move to protect their child from being poisoned. Read the original story from KALW here.
  • For lots of kids, as they grow bigger and stronger, their eyesight gets worse. Researchers say increased exposure to daylight could help.
  • A Michigan mom is teaching her 3-year-old daughter how to say “no” to adults, and hoping to change their family environment for the next generation. Plus, child psychologist Katherine Dahlsgaard weighs in on helping kids create boundaries.
  • Nina Feldman’s story from this episode is part of WHYY’s series Uneven Play, all about playground inequities.

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