Category Archives: Healthy Eating

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

Is Juice Kid-Friendly? Shocking Sugar Facts About Juice

When I was growing up, “juice” was standard fare for kids. Those were the Kool-Aid days…. But now we realize that even juice that comes from real fruits and not a packet of sugary powder is not necessarily healthful.

What is so wrong about juice or other sugary beverages? Isn’t a glass of orange juice an important part of a well-rounded breakfast? Continue reading

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Filed under Healthy Eating, Toddlers

Top Child Health News of 2008, Continued

Part 2:  Here is my synopsis and opinion on the 2nd half of the top 10 most read online pediatric and adolescent medicine stories of 2008.  The previous post is here.

  • When Are Temper Tantrums in Preschool Children Cause for Concern? 
    • Most toddlers and pre-schoolers have the occasional, or even frequent, tantrums but are generally healthy. In some children, however, they can be an early sign of depression or disruptive disorders.  If you have concerns about the frequency or quality of your child’s tantrums, please see your doctor.  
  • Vaccines in the News
    • Two new combination vaccines have been approved this year.  The AAP strongly encourages the use of combination vaccines, as it helps assure that children receive their vaccines on schedule.  I think they’re nice because in my quest to prevent life-threatening illnesses, I have to stick fewer needles into children.  The kids seem to agree. Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses, Healthy Eating, In The News, Newborns and Infants, Vaccines

Top 10 Child Health Articles of 2008: The Science of Medicine

Physicians are always trying to stay abreast of the latest news in order to provide excellent care for their patients.  Parents, too, can learn from cutting edge medical news.  

Do you want to know what your child’s doctor is reading about?  Here is my take on the first five of top 10 most read online pediatric and adolescent medicine stories of 2008, according to Journal Watch.  Stay tuned for my thoughts on the 2nd half later this week.  

  • Regularly Eating Breakfast Reduces Weight Gain
    • Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.  This one we’ve known for a while.  So get up a few minutes earlier to make sure that breakfast fits into the morning rush every day. Continue reading

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Filed under Common Illnesses, Healthy Eating, In The News

Toddler Eating Habits: How Do They Grow?

Question from Melissa:  So, my daughter (16 months) is not the best eater these days. I’ve read a million things on various websites about toodlers and eating, but I’d like to know what you think. This is the situation: she doesn’t eat ANY vegetables except some avocado on occasion; she regularly skips meals (so, has on a good day she has two meals and a bit of a snack); and much of her diet is diary (milk appx. 20 oz. and cheese) and bread (whole grain, but still…). This seems a horrible diet to me. Though I introduce different things to her, she doesn’t seem to like much of anything else. How many calories should she have in a day and should I just give her a multivitamin and not stress about this??

If I had a nickel for every parent who felt this way….

And thus begins the fun of toddler eating.  Even babies who would eat *anything* at 12 months old suddenly seem to stop eating when they become 14 to 16 months old.  But not to despair!  The average toddler only eats 1 good meal every one to two days.  At the other mealtimes, they just pick.  With these bird-like appetites, it seems amazing that they get enough calories to grow!  But somehow they all do. Continue reading

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Filed under Healthy Eating, Toddlers