Wednesday November 21, 2018

WHO researching to integrate yoga with universal health care for healthier world

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New Delhi: Thousands of participants performs Yoga during a full dress rehearsal for the International Yoga Day at Rajpath in New Delhi on June 19, 2015. (Photo: IANS)

United Nations: The World Health Organization is researching how to integrate yoga with universal health care needs, according to Nata Menabde, the agency’s executive director at the UN office.

It was a struggle to standardise yoga for use around the world as part of health care systems because of its many different schools of practice, but WHO was working with centres in India and elsewhere to find ways to do this, she told reporters at a briefing here on Sunday’s International Day of Yoga.

Calling yoga the “ancient Vedic gift to the world”, she stressed its ability to bring together body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health.

Yoga is an ideal medium to deal with lifestyle disorders, she said, citing as an example studies in applying it to deal with cardiovascular diseases in Russia that WHO has seen.

It can also help in coping with stress and treating mental disorders by helping people develop “inner resilience”, Menabde said.

In Goa, yoga was being combined with other therapies to treat mental illness and it was showing results, she said.

She said she saw a growing role for yoga as the world’s proportion of ageing population increases. Ageing becomes healthier because of the ease of practice and the impact on both body and mind.

It has also been shown to help with arthritis and various other illnesses.

India’s Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji said that the International Day of Yoga celebrations on Sunday would connect the UN with the world outside by linking the observances inside headquarter’s open plaza with the mass yoga performances at New York’s Times Square and around the world.

Every year a yoga event is organised at the Times Square on the summer solstice day by the city’s yoga community and the Times Square Alliance. This year it will be a part of the International Day of Yoga and is expected to draw 30,000 people, he said.

The celebrations in 256 cities across 192 cities would touch two billion people, Mukerji. They would take place in even strife-torn places like Syria and the Central African Republic and the only country not able to participate would be Yemen, he said.

Mukerji said yoga assumed a special meaning this year because of the focus on climate change and the international conference in Paris in December.

The General Assembly’s resolution creating yoga day, he said, spoke of its role in “building better individual lifestyles devoid of excesses of all kinds”.

Yoga’s relevance to preserving the environment and combating climate change, Menabde said, is in helping to reflect on what is important and realise the minimalist needs.

This leads one to “be less destructive to the world and to the people around you”, she said.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is to give the keynote address at the yoga day UN celebrations.

Asked if Ban would participate in the yoga demonstration, his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said he may participate in some fashion.

In his message about the celebrations, Ban said that he had tried the Vrksasana — the tree pose — and “appreciated the simple sense of satisfaction that yoga can bring”. (IANS)

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Growth Hormone Deficiency May Also Hit Healthy Children

Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters.

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FILE - UNICEF staff measure a girl's height to see if she is stunted in a village health clinic of South Hamgyong province, North Korea. VOA

Most healthy children between the ages of four and 10 grow about five centimeters (two inches) a year. So, one family knew something was wrong when their son fit into the same clothes, season after season. Doctors were able to get him growing once again after testing for a growth hormone.

Eleven year-old Spencer Baehman is passionate about baseball.

“My goal is to play college baseball,” Spencer said.

There was only one problem. Spencer was the shortest player on his team. It didn’t stop him from playing, but the height difference was noticeable. And it made Spencer feel different.

“I want to be as tall as these kids,” Spencer said.

At first, Spencer’s parents thought their son was just small, but gradually, they suspected something was wrong. His mom, Stephanie Baehman, became worried.

“It really set in one year coming out of winter into spring when he got out his cleats for spring baseball and he put them on, and they fit. And they never should have fit. Those were from the spring prior,” Baehman said.

Spencer’s parents set up an appointment with Dr. Bert Bachrach, the chief of pediatric endocrinology at University of Missouri Health Care. Nurses measured Spencer’s height.

After careful testing, Dr. Bachrach determined a growth hormone deficiency was causing Spencer’s growth failure. Hormones are basically chemicals that send messages from one cell to another.

“Growth hormone just doesn’t affect your growth, it affects your muscle mass and fat distribution, so that affects your cholesterol, that affects you overall, it also affects your overall sense of wellbeing,” Bachrach said.

Young Kids learning
Young Kids learning. pixabay

Growth hormone insufficiency is a disorder involving the pituitary gland which is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain. It’s this gland that produces human growth hormone, among others.

Also Read: Poor Aerobic Fitness Increases Risk of Diabetes in Kids

Every day, Spencer’s mother gives him a daily hormone injection. Since he started getting these injections two years ago, Spencer has grown about 15 centimeters (six inches). But just in case he doesn’t grow tall, he has a reminder written in each of his baseball caps.

“It says HDMH, which means height doesn’t measure heart,” Spencer read.

And heart is something Spencer has plenty of. (VOA)