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Here you will find great tips for healthy living, nutritional advice, and the latest news on health studies and research.

Tag Archives: children

Outdoors for better eyesight..!!

Did you know that getting your kids outside to spend time, may be good for their eyesight? Today’s kids spend time indoors and with technology like no generation before them. According to research, spending more time outside appears to impact a child’s risk of developing nearsightedness dramatically. In fact, increasing outdoor time by approximately 14 hours per week can reduce the risk that a child with two nearsighted parents will develop nearsightedness, from 60% down to 20%. That is stunning news and is just about the same risk as those with non-nearsighted parents. Incredible…!!

Baby food and lead..!!

If you have kids or grand children, then this is a bit of a disturbing news. Researchers analyzed 11 years of federal data and found detectable levels of lead in 20% of over 2100 baby food samples.  As you may or may not know, there is no safe blood levels for lead in kids. The toxin was found most often in fruit juices such as grape and apple, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots and cookies such as teething biscuits. Lead can cause problems with cognition, attention and behavior as well as the cardiovascular system and immune system. None of the samples, unfortunately, were identified by brand name so I cannot provide that information. Another researcher who analyzed an EPA study that was released earlier this year, found that food is the major source of lead exposure in 2/3 of the toddlers.  It may be a wise choice to eliminate these specific food items from your kids diet. Do your own research on this topic also!!

Kids, Obesity & TV

We all love our children and grandchildren, right? Did you know a huge study linked childhood obesity to having a television in their bedroom?  A huge study out of London found that children with TV’s in their bedrooms by the age of 7 were far more likely to be overweight or obese by the age of 11, compared to kids who did not have the TV in their room.  Girls were 30% more likely to be overweight and boys were 20% more likely.  The researchers found that having a TV in the bedroom was an independent risk factor for being overweight and increased body fatness.  Just think, we now have added computers, phones, tablets and other electronic media to the whole mix.  Time to kick the kids outside and let them play, get dirty and experience the world again!!

Flu Prevention

Did you know, in this region, the norovirus has ran rampant at several schools and recently caused the closing of a local high school?  The controversy around flu vaccines will always be prevalent however in an article in our local paper, a physician said “truth be told”, the flu shot rarely prevents the flu.  However, there are some herbs and foods that can help combat the risk of catching the flu.  For instance glycyrrhiza lepidota (licorice plant), helps the body stimulate anti-virus compounds and has anti-inflammatory properties. It can raise blood pressure, so if you take BP meds, consult your doc. Red Korean ginseng helps reduce the symptoms and duration of upper respiratory infections however it too can increase blood pressure. Cranberries and elderberries are directly toxic to the influenza virus and can be used without contraindication. Echinacea  tea is often used to fight flu symptoms, as it can enhance the immune system with its anti-viral properties.  If you are allergic to ragweed you may want to avoid this. Just a couple things you can do to fight back during the cold and flu season and don’t forget the usual Vitamins C, D and zinc!!

Sugar & Health

Excess sugar in our foods is one of the most critical health issues facing our present and future generations.  Many physicians and researchers are now saying it is the major driver of cardiovascular disease. To help kids reduce sugar in the diet, some experts offer the following tips.  Let the kid have sweets, don’t deprive them, however give them only one sweet treat or dessert per day.  Kids must learn to regulate their sweet intake.  Give them a choice between sweet snacks but keep it at one.  Keep sweetened fruit drinks, soda and sugary beverages out of the house, as they generally have no nutritional value regardless of what the commercial says and deprive your child of critical nutrients from better sources. Keep an eye our for hidden sugars in breads, sauces and condiments.  These contain fructose, sucrose, glucose and/or dextrose.  Also watch out for evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, malt syrup and molasses. Some natural sugars are not as healthy as advertised.  Honey and agave are actually sweeter than table sugar but contain more calories.  Fruits are generally better choices even though they contain sugar, but most will also provide fiber and other nutrients providing greater health benefits!

Sugar, Kids & Health

I hope you are enjoying the World Series! Now that Halloween is over and sugary treats are everywhere, did you know sugar has the same effect on the liver as alcohol?  Sugar (especially fructose) is metabolized in the liver just as alcohol is and that is why kids are getting the diseases of alcohol such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.  “These are diseases that were unheard-of in children prior to 1980” according to doctors.  “Sugar doesn’t cause disease because of its calories. Sugar causes disease because it’s sugar.”  Even thin people get metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Sugar is its own risk factor apart from calories or obesity.  Even adolescents are getting metabolic syndrome more often including increased blood pressure, excess fat around the waist , diabetes and increased risk of heart disease.  The key is distinguishing good sugar from bad and when it comes to kids, there must be a strategy.  More on this on Friday!

Probiotics…are they right for you?

Many people with digestive issues use probiotics for gut health.  Probiotics are generally safe to use and effective for some but they are not always effective for others.  Research is very skewed in this area because there really isn’t much quality research on this topic.  Using probiotics is kind of a buyer-beware situation because they have various effects from person to person.  One legitimate study showed that those kids who drank a probiotic milk had fewer colds and flu like infections compared to the control group however there was no major effect on gastrointestinal infections or diarrhea. The quick bottom line is that, if you try them and they work for you, keep using them as they are safe.  However, if you have never tried probiotics and have the money to spend, it would be worth a shot….as they are safe to use and may work wonders for you!!

Brain Function & Mom’s Voice

Moms voice may be more important than we have ever believed.  In a neat little study from Stanford University School of Medicine, researchers found that children could recognize their mothers voice from short non-sense audio clips of less than a second, with 97% accuracy. Kids were not only engaged more by mom’s voice than strangers but the response was noted beyond just auditory areas of the brain.  MRI’s were used during the study and showed that many parts of the kids brains lit up when they heard their mom’s voice. Parts of the brain relating to emotion, reward processing, facial recognition and social function are also amplified by moms voice. Even a study of teenagers (2010), suggested that those going through stressful times were almost instantly soothed by mom’s voice.  So, maybe answer the phone next time mom calls, it might do you some good!!

Chiro-Kids Care & Injury

I have recently expanded our pediatrics offering to include our new Chiro-Kids Care sports injury program.  Kids suffer injury and need care just as much as adults.  In fact, concussions are part of the injury scenario.  Did you know that only about 7% of those people who suffer a concussion lose consciousness? Concussions are often very subtle to determine. Sometimes the only clue may be a mild change in behavior that goes unnoticed.  The new saying , about concussions and return to sport activity is, “when in doubt, hold them out”. No two concussions are alike and each child must have their own individual management plan.  Also, even the nutritional protocols are different for concussions than other injuries such as joint or soft tissue.  The old days of “walk it off” are over.  With proper treatment and recovery, most concussions resolve in about 7-10 days, but they need to be assessed, treated properly and monitored before all else.

Sitting, cardiovascular disease, you and kids!

Here is an important study not only for your benefit but your kids and grandkids.  In a small study of 7-10 year olds, researchers found out that sitting for extended periods caused stiffening of the thigh arteries at around 3 hours. There was a 33% decrease in thigh artery flexibility.  Researchers were stunned this would happen in children. This has long term ramifications for future health as this could increase cardiovascular risk by as much as 25% by the time they are adults.  Getting up and moving every 10 minutes helped return the vessel flexibility.  Children spend about 60% of their day sitting and being inactive. Thus, if you have a desk job or kids who computer things all day.  Time to get moving. I always tell my computer job-related patients to get up and move every 10-15 minutes.  Now we know why!