Monday, January 28, 2013

Spend three minutes more at the dinner table

Spending an Extra THREE minutes at the dinner table can help keep children thin--Parents can improve their children's weight by simply keeping them longer at the dinner table according to a new study. In fact, keeping children for an extra three minutes longer at the table during family mealtimes is a practical way to prevent child obesity, scientists at the University of Illinois said.

Researchers studying ways low-income families can help children achieve and maintain normal body weight found that the extra minutes invested in mealtimes significantly improved a child's chances at maintaining normal weight.
In the latest study published in the journal Economics and Human Biology, researchers looked at 200 family mealtimes and found links between mealtime behaviors and children's weight.
They found that children who regularly sat down for family meals were more likely to have a healthy weight compared to those whose mealtimes were cut short.
"Children whose families engaged with each other over a 20-minute meal four times a week weighed significantly less than kids who left the table after 15 to 17 minutes. Over time, those extra minutes per meal add up and become really powerful," study author Barbara Fiese, director of the University of Illinois' Family Resiliency Program, said in a statement.
The findings suggest that the factors at play are likely to be communication and the importance of a scheduled mealtime.
Researchers found that families who said that shared mealtimes are an important part of family life and have special meaning for them were less likely to have a child who was obese or overweight.
The study also revealed that families who talked more together and interacted more positively during the meal were more likely to have children with normal weight.
Fiese said that teaching low-income families how to make the most of family mealtimes was a viable intervention to help them tackle obesity.
"This is something we can target and teach. It's much more difficult to change such factors as marital status, maternal education, or neighborhood poverty," she said.
"It's also important to recognize the increasing diversity of families and their sometimes complex living arrangements that may challenge their abilities to plan ahead and arrange a single time to communicate with each other," she added.
Researchers noted that while families in the low-income neighborhoods faced a multitude of problems like poor access to healthy food. However, even after accounting for these risk factors, they found that regular, high quality, family mealtimes made a significant difference to children's weight.
"Three to four extra minutes per meal made a healthy weight more likely," she concluded

Thank you to Dr Jopling for finding this article

Saturday, January 19, 2013

How to prevent illness

How many times have you and your child washed your hands today? We are seeing a lot of sickness right now and this is a great reminder how Hand Washing can be a powerful antidote to illness!  You might not have given it much thought. It’s either part of your routine, done frequently without thinking, or maybe you don’t do it much at all. But as your pediatrician may have told you, hand washing may be the single most important act you and your child have for disease prevention
The CDC and American Pediatrics association has put together some great suggestions! .

Making It Habit

As early as possible, get your child into the habit of washing her hands often and thoroughly. All day long, your child is exposed to bacteria and viruses—when touching a playmate, sharing toys, or petting the cat. Once her hands pick up these germs, she can quickly infect herself by:
  • Rubbing her eyes
  • Touching her nose
  • Placing her fingers in her mouth.
The whole process can happen in seconds, and cause an infection that can last for days, weeks, or even longer.

When To Wash

Hand washing can stop the spread of infection. The key is to encourage your child to wash her hands throughout the day. For example, help her or remind her to wash her hands:
  • Before eating (including snacks)
  • After a trip to the bathroom
  • Whenever she comes in from playing outdoors
  • After touching an animal like a family pet
  • After sneezing or coughing if she covers her mouth
  • When someone in the household is ill
Studies on hand washing in public restrooms show that most people don’t have very good hygiene habits. “Hand washing” may mean just a quick splash of water and perhaps a squirt of soap, but not nearly enough to get their hands clean.

Steps to Proper Hand Washing

So what does a thorough hand washing involve? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps:
  • Wet your child’s hands.
  • Apply clean bar soap or liquid soap to the hands, and then place the bar on a rack where it can drain before the next hand washing.
  • Rub the hands vigorously together. Scrub every surface completely.
  • Keep rubbing and scrubbing for 10 to 15 seconds to effectively remove the germs.
  • Rinse the hands completely, then dry them.

About Antibacterial Soaps

Drugstore shelves are full of trendy antibacterial soaps, but studies have shown that these antibacterial products are no better at washing away dirt and germs than regular soap. Some infectious disease experts have even suggested that by using antibacterial soaps, you may actually kill off normal bacteria and increase the chances that resistant bacteria may grow.
The best solution is to wash your child’s hands with warm water and ordinary soap that does not contain antibacterial substances (eg, triclosan). Regular use of soap and water is better than using waterless (and often alcohol-based) soaps, gels, rinses, and hand rubs when your child’s hands are visibly dirty (and with children, there usually is dirt on the hands!). However, when there is no sink available (eg, the car), hand rubs can be a useful alternative.

How Long to Wash

Keep in mind that although 10 to 15 seconds of hand washing sounds like an instant, it is much longer than you think. Time yourself the next time you wash your hands. Watch your child while she’s washing her hands to make sure she’s developing good hygiene behaviors. Pick a song that lasts for 15 seconds and sing it while you wash. Encourage your child to wash her hands not only at home, but also at school, at friends’ homes, and everywhere else. It’s an important habit for her to get into, and hopefully one that’s hard to break!
--Info from CDC and AAP/

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Are you our winner??

One of our winners from last month's blog contest has not come to pick up the Gift Card....So please come and get it!!....

Jake and Kim--said ...."Running! Outside, and our home is one level and we run from one end to the other! Walks, dancing to music on the radio, Airborne(jump your heart out!), snowman building, sledding, shoveling snow!!
Please contact our office soon:)....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Screen time near bedtime means LESS sleep for kids

Survey found watching TV, playing video games before bed delays sleep

Dr Jopling found this great article and wanted to share it. It sure makes you think about the time of the day your children watch TV and play with electronics--

By Kathleen Doheny HealthDay Reporter MONDAY, Jan. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Children and teens who spend time watching television, playing video games or using the computer right before bedtime are likely to take longer to fall asleep than those who watch less or none, according to new research.
And that could add up to a sleep deficit, experts said.
"Reducing screen time in this pre-sleep window could be a good strategy for helping kids go to sleep earlier," said study leader Louise Foley, who was a researcher at the University of Auckland in New Zealand at the time of the study.
Foley and her team zeroed in on how much TV watching and video game playing children and teens, 5 to 18, did in the 90 minutes before their bedtime. They also looked at how long it took them to fall asleep. The more screen time, the longer it took to doze off.
The study was published online Jan. 14 and in the February print issue of the journal Pediatrics.
The findings are no surprise, said Dr. Dimitri Christakis, a distinguished professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington, in Seattle. Christakis has studied the effects of media use on children.
"There is growing evidence that media use around sleep time is bad for sleep initiation," Christakis said.
The new study, he said, suggests that "it's not so much having a bedtime for your children. You have to have a bedtime for their devices."
Although previous research has found that television viewing and other "screen-time" activities are linked with a decline in the length of time children and teens sleep, the new study is believed to be the first to look at the pre-bedtime period by asking youth (or their parents, for the younger children) to account for their time in detail.
In the new study, the researchers found that about one-third of the 90 minutes before bedtime, on average, involved watching television, playing video games or working at the computer.
Engaging in such screen time, experts say, can cause arousal, making sleep difficult. The blue light from screens can affect circadian rhythms and adversely affect falling asleep.
Differences found between sleep onset were wide-ranging. For instance, those in the late group spent 13 more minutes of screen time before bed than did those in the early-to-sleep group.
Although the difference may seem small, it adds up to an hour less sleep over the school week.
The new study findings add to accumulating evidence about the problem of too little sleep in children and teens, said Dr. Roya Samuels, an attending pediatrician at Cohen Children's Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
"We've seen so many studies over the past couple years that have concentrated on the effects of inadequate sleep," she said. It has been linked with "all sorts of detrimental consequences on kids' behavior patterns the next day -- increased aggression, being hyperactive."
Samuels blames lack of sleep in children and teens on a lack of proper winding-down activities -- and often that's because they are busy watching television or using the computer.
"Sleep is just as important in terms of growth and development as nutrition," she said. "Kids need adequate sleep to grow emotionally, physically and mentally. Two hours before bedtime should be calm time."
She said she realizes this is a challenge, with many parents juggling work and household and parenting demands, including homework supervision.
Foley suggested encouraging kids to try activities that don't take place on-screen. The entire family could participate in a non-screen activity such as arts and crafts together right before bedtime, she said.
"It's a lot easier for a child to reduce screen time if the whole family has made a commitment to watching less TV," she said.
How much sleep is enough? Although people vary in their needs, the National Sleep Foundation suggests preschoolers need about 11 to 13 hours, elementary school children about 10 or 11 hours and teens 8.5 to 9.25 hours.
More information and to read the full store please click HERE

--info from washington post (full link above)

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Flu is here!

We have been seeing the FLU in our office and wanted to give you more information about influenza. The influenza (flu) virus causes serious illness that may result in hospitalization or death. It mostly affects the breathing system, but may also affect the whole body. The flu season usually starts in the fall and ends in the spring. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated at the start of the season (late summer/early fall) so that you are protected year-round. (We do have some flu vaccine left-please call our office to schedule an appt with a nurse to get your flu vaccine)

People can get the flu more than once per year and many times in their lives. Influenza viruses are unpredictable. They are always changing over time and from year to year.

Signs of the flu

All flu viruses cause a respiratory illness that can last a week or more. Flu symptoms include:
  • A sudden fever (usually above 101°F or 38.3°C)
  • Chills and body shakes
  • Headache, body aches, and being a lot more tired than usual
  • Sore throat
  • Dry, hacking cough
  • Stuffy, runny nose
Some children may throw up (vomit) and have loose stools (diarrhea). Talk with your child's doctor if your child has ear pain, a cough that won't go away, or a fever that won't go away. There can be serious complications, even death, from the flu, but these are uncommon.

How to prevent the flu- Tips from the AAP

-Get the flu vaccine every year

-Keep flu germs from spreading

The flu virus spreads easily through the air with coughing and sneezing, and through touching things like doorknobs or toys and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Here are some tips that will help protect your family from getting sick:

  • Everyone should wash their hands often. You can use soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. That is about as long as singing the "Happy Birthday" song 2 times. And an alcohol-based hand cleanser or sanitizer works well too. Put enough on your hands to make them all wet, then rub them together until dry.
  • Teach your child to cover his mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Show your child how to cough into the elbow or upper sleeve (not a hand) or use a tissue.
  • Throw all tissues used for runny noses and sneezes in the trash right away.
  • Wash dishes and utensils in hot, soapy water or the dishwasher.
  • Don't let children share pacifiers, cups, spoons, forks, washcloths, or towels without washing. Never share toothbrushes.
  • Teach your child to try not to touch her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wash doorknobs, toilet handles, countertops, and even toys. Use a disinfectant wipe or a cloth with soap and hot water. (A disinfectant is a cleaner that kills germs.)

What if my child gets the flu?

Call the doctor right away if your child shows any signs of the flu and:

  • Is 3 months or younger and has a fever
  • Has fast breathing or trouble breathing
  • Looks very sick
  • Is more sleepy than usual
  • Is very fussy no matter what you do
  • Cannot or will not drink anything
  • Urinates (pees) very little

You should also call the doctor if your child shows signs of the flu and has a chronic medical condition, like:

  • Asthma, diabetes, or heart problems
  • Sickle cell disease, cancer, HIV, or another disease that makes it hard to fight infections
  • Cerebral palsy or other neurologic disorders of the brain and muscles that make it harder to cough up mucus and breathe
  • Morbid obesity (being very overweight)

Go to the emergency department right away if your child:

  • Has signs of the flu that keep getting worse
  • Has blue skin color
  • Will not wake up at all

Help your child feel better

Extra rest and a lot of fluids can help your child feel better. You can also give your child medicine to bring down the fever.
  • For a baby 6 months or younger, give acetaminophen. Tylenol is one brand of acetaminophen.
  • For a child older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Advil and Motrin are brands of ibuprofen.
  • Never give any child aspirin. Aspirin puts the child at risk for Reye syndrome, a serious illness that affects the liver and brain.

Keep your child home

Keep your child home from school or child care when she has a fever and other signs of the flu. Your child needs rest. Also, your child can give the flu to other children.

When can my child go back to school or child care?

Your child should stay home at least 24 hours after his fever is gone. Start counting time after you stop giving your child fever medicines like acetaminophen or ibuprofen. A temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher is a sign of fever. Check with your child's school or child care center to find out its rules about children staying home when they are ill.

--Tips from the