Three Simple Tips for Preventing Obesity in Kids

I am always skeptical of easy fixes.
If a diet or a product or a book claims that they will have astounding results with little pain, my first instinct is to run in the other direction.
However, a study that will be published in March in the journal Pediatrics looks at risk factors for obesity and has three simple bits of advice that I think are worth following.
1)  Eat with your family.
2)  Decrease TV time.
3)  Get more sleep. 

Simple, right?
But are these recommendations really so simple? If so, why aren’t we all doing them?
Our lives are busy and some families do have difficulty intergrating consistent mealtimes during a week filled with work and kids activities.
Parents allow their children to watch a lot of TV and playing video games and spend hours on the computer for a variety of reasons, including their children’s insistence and their fatigue at fighting and limit setting.
And bedtimes creep later when kids fight and scream and yell and refuse to go to bed, and parents just don’t have the energy to fight it.
But making little steps towards these goals can really be a game changer for your family, and for your kids health now and in the future.  According to one of the authors of the Pediatrics study, children who practiced all three of these behaviors had a 40% lower risk of obesity than those who did not.
So try it.
This week, eat one more meal with your family than you usually do.
Make some rules for kids about “screen time”. And enforce them. Every time.

And put your kids to bed earlier: maybe start 15 minutes earlier, and go from there.

And while you’re at it, put yourself to bed a little earlier too.  Sweet dreams….
Tips for parents:
To keep your family healthy and decrease your risk of obesity:
  • Eat family meals together more than five times a week.
  • Limit your children to no more than 1 hour of screen time on weekdays, and less than 2 hours on weekends.
  • Aim for 10 1/2 hours of sleep for young and school-aged children.

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Filed under Healthy Eating, In The News

On Timing (or my excuse for letting my blog lie fallow)

Though it was terribly sad that my sister was unable to attend, we were thrilled that her daughter Kylie consented to sharing the day of her second birthday with us.  We had a birthday brunch for Kylie and then in the afternoon we dressed up in our finest duds and got married.  Kylie was gorgeous in her fancy dress, and took her position as the smallest flower girl very seriously.  Though the audience encouraged her to throw the rose petals along the way, she already knows that timing is vital, and waited to dump the whole bucket at the feet of her father.  

Our astouding photographer also knows about timing and captured the moment beautifully.

Having completed that exciting event in my life, I am now ready to jump back into the blogosphere and continue writing about child health and parenting.

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Happy New Year

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This is Much Better Than the Cookie Jar!

pumpkinscarecrow

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Keeping Kids Safe: Common (and Not So Common) Choking Hazards

Keeping kids safe is top on the minds of most parents, but sometimes hazards are just not that obvious.  Introducing foods to infants and toddlers can be great fun, but it also brings opportunities for danger.  A little knowledge about how to avoid choking can go a long way in avoiding serious emergencies.

I wrote in a previous post about using pixie stix to get kids to take their medicine.  I am going to co-opt this old favorite treat for our lesson about choking hazards.  What does a powdered candy have to do with choking hazards, you might ask?

Continue reading

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Filed under Newborns and Infants, Safety, Toddlers

Boo!

sachin halloween

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In the News: Detoxifying Fakery

You must listen to this hilarious piece from one of my favorite local public radio reporters, Sarah Varney.

She starts her report with this:  “I know, you’re probably thinking, what kind of moron would believe that a toxin sucking foot pad could work.  Well, the photos on the front of the box are really convincing.”

The reporter goes on to discuss her own experiment with the newest craze in consumer health: toxin removing foot pads. Continue reading

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Filed under General Commentary, In The News