Simon and I went on Channel 10’s – 9am with David and Kim Show this week as chiropractors debating whether research on “the effects of thongs” was important or even warranted.
It is always tricky to place a value on research unless you are fully aware of the Aim and Objectives of the study but the information given to us from the network was that podiatrists were questioning if thongs were in fact harmful for our children’s feet etc.
Q: Is this study important?
Simon and I decided that it was much more pertinent to direct the focus to the real issue at hand which is that many of our children are fat and weak!
It is somewhat ridiculous to try and blame foot or joint problems on the THONG…
What this study will prove is that it is more important that PARENTS study their children’s development than worry about the dangers of things. That in fact, parents need to be on the watch for deficiencies in their development like flattened arches, knocked knees, tilted pelvis, poor skin pallor, fat tummy, bloat, rings under the eyes, bad breath, constipation – these are all common ailments for today’s children and they all indicate a body under stress.
Many of our children are WEAK and FAT and footwear is not really the issue. It’s activity and lifestyle that most effects a child’s development and the lack thereof – that creates distress.
Ideally parents need to increase their awareness, or their HEALTH LITERACY, about what may be contributing to their child’s flat feet, bloated tummy, patchy skin and any other health issues – and make proactive steps towards finding suitable advice that is both safe and effective.
Q: Why would they do a study like this?
Seemingly, most adults (government officials and parents alike) are at a loss as to how to FOCUS on health rather than illness. Parents are often confused about how to address health issues at a fundamental, grass roots level rather than trying to cover up or patch-up the problem.
I suggest parents:
- learn to ask better health questions- the quality of our health is determined by the quality of the questions we ask
- improve their health literacy or become more educated and empowered about varied health topics
- define their family’s health culture and guide children in their health management
Q: Are foot injuries from thongs common?
Injuries from poor plasticity are more common. Plasticity, which is the neurological term for the body’s ability to adapt to its environment, and is indicative by a child’s ability to move through their developmental milestones for their specific age.
Q: What footwear should our children be wearing?
Stable shoes, unstable shoes and bare feet should be equal thirds. In this way thongs can be a helpful activity in assisting development as each type of footwear provides different neurological feedback to the brain.
Parents need to ask themselves the question – How can I be assisting MY child’s development and where might their development be lacking?
Q: How important is footwear in a child’s development?
Nowhere near as important as having a good framework of healthy milestone accomplishment. A baby is born with about 100 billion nerve cells. These neurons form themselves into circuits that are laid down in patterns. The childhood years determine which of these circuits get maintained and strengthened, and which atrophy and die. Which connections stay and which go depends on how varied and stimulating their environment is.
The feet are a major sensory path for feedback and stimulation of the brain. This helps tone and agility.
Q: Can thongs damage a child’s development?
It is unlikely, what’s more likely is that our children are under developed in their tone and agility. Parents need to gain an awareness on how to keep our children healthy.
Q: How can parents do this?
Build their literacy: their understanding on health issues like footwear, balance and agility, come up with strategies on how to manage health issues and be clever guardians or consumers doing the right thing by your kids.
Tips for parents when it comes to the development of their child’s feet
- Insist on a variety of foot wear –stable, unstable and bare feet – equal thirds
- Monitor their growth often there is nothing worse than shoes that are too small
- Encourage a variety of sports and activities which increases muscular tone, co-ordination and helps to keep weight in check with less loading on joints
- Insist on a variety in diet – more veges, less grains.
- Developmental and neurological activities – walk on tippy toes, rotate ankles whilst balancing on one leg, hop on one leg, walk in a straight line with their eyes closed, skip, side skip etc