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Tips of the Week for January, 2013

Childhood Nutrition
01-28-2013

Hey, What’s to Eat?

Unless you’ve been totally out of the loop, it’s likely you’ve heard about the childhood obesity epidemic. Nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese. It’s talked about on television, radio, the Internet, and in books, newspapers, and magazines. Yet, with all this focus on kids being overweight and obese, many parents are still confused, especially when it comes to what kids eat. How much does your child need? Is he getting enough calcium? Enough iron? Too much fat?

Whether you have a toddler or a teen, what he eats is important to both his physical and mental development. Here’s what children need — no matter what the age.

Infants

During this stage of life, it’s almost all about the milk — whether it’s breast milk, formula, or a combination of the two. Breast milk or formula will provide practically every nutrient a baby needs for the first year of life, says Jennifer Shu, M.D., FAAP, a pediatrician at Children’s Medical Group in Atlanta and co-author Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenthood Armed with Insights, Humor, and a Bottle of Ketchup, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

At about six months most babies are ready to start solid foods like iron-fortified infant cereal and strained fruits, vegetables, and pureed meats, Dr. Shu says. Because breast milk may not provide enough iron and zinc when babies are around six to nine months, fortified cereals and meats can help breastfed babies in particular, she explains.

Once you do start adding foods, don’t go low-fat crazy. Although the AAP recently released updated guidelines stating fat restriction in some babies is appropriate, in general, “you don’t want to restrict fats under age two because a healthy amount of fat is important for babies’ brain and nerve development,” says Dr. Shu.

Toddlers and Preschoolers

“Toddlers and preschoolers grow in spurts and their appetites come and go in spurts, so they may eat a whole lot one day and then hardly anything the next,” says Loraine Stern, M.D., FAAP, a clinical professor of pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine. It’s normal, and as long as you offer them a healthful selection, they will get what they need, she says.

One area parents should probably keep under watch is calcium. Calcium, the body’s building block, is needed to develop strong, healthy bones and teeth. Children may not believe or care that milk “does a body good,” but it is the best source of much-needed calcium.

Still, there’s hope for the milk-allergic, lactose-intolerant, or those who are just impartial to milk. Lactose-free milk, soy milk, tofu, sardines, and calcium-fortified orange juices, cereals, waffles, and oatmeal are some calcium-filled options. In some cases the doctor may recommend calcium supplements.

Fiber is another important focus. Toddlers start to say “no” more and preschoolers can be especially opinionated about what they eat. The kids may want to stick to the bland, beige, starchy diet (think chicken nuggets, fries, macaroni), but this is really the time to encourage fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans, which all provide fiber, Dr. Shu says. Not only does fiber prevent heart disease and other conditions, but it also helps aid digestion and prevents constipation, something you and your child will be thankful for.

Elementary School

Don’t be surprised if your child quits meat. “It isn’t uncommon for a 6- or 7-year-old to suddenly decide to be a vegetarian once they understand animals and where food comes,” Dr. Stern says. This doesn’t mean she won’t get enough protein. “Animal tissue isn’t the only place we get protein,” Dr. Stern says. Rice, beans, eggs, milk, peanut butter — all have protein. So whether your child goes “no-meat” for a week or for life, she’ll likely still get sufficient amounts of protein.

Areas that might be a little too sufficient are sugars, fats, and sodium. “This time is when kids first go to school and have a little bit more choice in what they eat, especially if they’re getting it in the cafeteria themselves,” Dr. Shu says. Cakes, candy, chips, and other snacks might become lunchtime staples. The body needs carbs (sugars), fats, and sodium, but should be eaten in moderation, as too much can lead to unneeded weight gain and other health problems. Packing your child’s lunch or going over the lunch menu and encouraging her to select healthier choices can help keep things on track, Dr. Shu says.

Preteens and Teens

As puberty kicks in, young people need more calories to support the many changes they will experience. Unfortunately, for some, those extra calories come from fast food or “junk” foods with little nutritional value. Some adolescents go the opposite way and restrict calories, fats, or carbs. Adolescence is the time kids start to become conscious of their weight and body image, which, for some, can lead to eating disorders or other unhealthy behaviors, Dr. Stern says. She recommends parents keep an eye on things by being aware of changes in eating patterns and making family dinners a priority once or twice a week.

Like calories, calcium requirements are higher. Calcium is more important than ever during the tween and teen years because the majority of bone mass is built during this time. However, fewer than 10 percent of girls and just more than 25 percent of boys ages 9 to 13 are at or above their adequate intake of calcium. Encouraging kids to have milk, milk products, or calcium-rich alternatives, even if it means they have to add chocolate syrup to their milk to make it more palatable, should help them get more calcium.

In addition to more calories and calcium, your child’s gender may play a role in whether he or she needs more of a particular nutrient. For instance, teen girls need more iron than their male counterparts to replace what’s lost during menstruation, and males need slightly more protein than girls.

Although getting your child to eat healthy — regardless of his or her age — can be a constant battle, it’s one well worth fighting. A healthy child becomes a healthy adult, and only with your support and guidance will your child be both.

 Age

Fruits(Cups)

Vegetables(Cups)

Grains(ounces)

Meats & Beans(ounces)

Milk(Cups)

Oils(tsp)

 2-3

 1

 2 

 3

 2

 2

 3

 4-8

 1-1½

 1½

 4-5

 3-4

 2

 4

 9-13(females)

 1½

 2

 5

 5

 3

 5

 9-13 (males)

 1½

 2½

 6

 5

 3

 5

 14-18(females)

 1½

 2½

 6

 5

 3

 5

 14-18 (males)

 2

 3

 7

 6

 3

 6

Quick Tips: Drink Up!

Water makes up more than half of kids’ body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly.

  • There’s no specific amount of water recommended for children, but it’s a good idea to give them water throughout the day — not just when they’re thirsty.
  • Babies generally don’t need water during the first year of life.
  • If your child doesn’t like the taste of water, add a bit of lemon or lime for flavor.
  • Fruits and veggies are also good sources of water.
  • Kids should drink more water when ill, when it’s hot out, or when engaged in physical activity.

Quick Tips: Give This...

Here’s what the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends kids get calorie-wise and from each food group for a healthy, balanced diet:

Calories*

  • 2-3 years: 1,000
  • 4-8: 1,200-1,400
  • 9-13 (female): 1,600
  • 9-13 (male): 1,800
  • 14-18 (female): 1,800
  • 14-18 (male): 2,200

* For active children, calorie requirements may be greater 

This article was featured in Healthy Children Magazine. To view the full issue, click here.

 

Last Updated 11/27/2012 by www.healthychildren.org

 

Source

Healthy Children Magazine, Fall 2008

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Routine Doctor Visits for School Age Children
01-21-2013

During these doctor's visits, your physician will conduct a number of evaluations, such as measurement of height, weight, and blood pressure, a check of vital func­tions, a vision and hearing screening, and a complete physical examination. The doctor will ensure that your youngster's immunizations are up to date, and ask about your child's diet, exercise habits, and sleep patterns. He or she can also refer you to other health professionals: For example, children should receive regular dental checkups beginning at age three; if a pediatri­cian detects eye problems during routine screening, he or she may refer your child to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation and care.

Your pediatrician is interested not only in your child's physical health, but also in his or her mental and emotional well-being. It is appropriate to discuss such concerns as your youngster's school experiences, relationships with peers, family difficulties, and daily stresses.

During these middle years, also encourage your child to adopt good per­sonal hygiene habits: bathing regularly; routinely washing hands before eating and after going to the bathroom, as a way of preventing the spread of infec­tious diseases; brushing teeth at least twice a day, and flossing once.

Through these preventive measures you can reduce your child's risk of illness and injury—and keep down your medical expenses in the process.

 

Last Updated 1/2/2013 – www.healthychildren.org

 

Source

Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

 


Hand Washing: A Powerful Antidote to Illness
01-14-2013

How many times have you and your child washed your hands today?

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.

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!

 

Provided by www.healthychildren.org - 1/11/2013.

 

Source

Immunizations & Infectious Diseases: An Informed Parent's Guide (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics)

The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances

 


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