Liver education has been void in the school systems and children and young adults stand to gain enormously when provided with awareness around this essential organ.
Programs across the country call attention to the heartbreaking problem of substance abuse and viral hepatitis infections that have taken over the lives of millions of uninformed desperate individuals. Kudos to caregivers for assisting these folks in their never-ending need to make it through each day.
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions.
We need to take a long look back to find answers to eating unhealthy foods, preventing the inappropriate use of drugs, and the development of unintentional liver damaging lifestyle behaviors.
Prevention begins on day one with what mothers feed and teach their children. However due to the fact that information about the liver has been absent in schools for years, most moms are not aware that their choices of unhealthy foods and amounts they feed their children and family can be laying the foundation for developing plaque in their children's tiny blood vessels that can lead to strokes and heart attacks in their children's most productive years ahead. But how do we reach millions of moms to educate them?
Tragically, people are participating in liver damaging activities daily unaware of the tragic consequences of their actions. We need to support liver education of children to address the ongoing problem of ignorance about the liver that underlies the current epidemics of substance abuse, hepatitis, obesity, cancer and many other liver-related preventable diseases.
Adults, as well as children, need to learn that an unhealthy diet and liver damaging behaviors—misuse of drugs and alcohol—leads to unrecognized life threatening damage to their body's army of thousands of life supporting liver cells called hepatocytes. These amazing microscopic chemical refineries inside the liver tucked up under our ribs for protection work non stop detoxifying the dangerous toxins in alcohol, drugs and pollutants we breathe in or absorb through breaks in our skin, while performing miracles converting the food we ingest into hundreds of essential body parts and life sustaining functions. They create and store energy and immune factors that protect us from the germs and viruses that surround us. They make clotting factors to stop cuts from bleeding and hundreds of essential complex life sustaining body functions that keep our amazing intricate bodies working.
However, continued liver cell damage (cirrhosis) underlies the development of fatty liver diseases and 13 obesity-related cancers, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular events including heart attacks, and tragic consequences and deaths.
Educating Young Students
Let's begin by educating young children in kindergarten and elementary schools to respect and protect their body's unrecognized life creating/supporting liver health.
The Liver Health Initiative's (LHI) eye-catching coloring book, Olivia and Oliver-Meet Your Miraculous Liver, identifies a happy life-sustaining liver promoting healthy lifestyle behaviors that children can relate to in their daily lives, empowering them to act on lessons learned. This educational teaching tool is not only filling the enormous gap of knowledge among young children it will reach adult family members.
Begin today by learning about your own liver and making a decision about protecting your children from the unexpected ravages of preventable liver-related diseases.
LHI provides a 20-30 minute Foundation for Decision Making training session providing examples of effective, relatable, memorable descriptions of liver functions to empower children as well as adults. Let's actively participate in protecting the life sustaining liver from harm.
This article was initially published by our sister publication, ContagionLive®.