One of the best ways to protect your children from preventable disease is to visit their pediatrician regularly and have them vaccinated when it is appropriate. Getting your children vaccinated is necessary for more than school admission. In addition to providing your child’s vaccine record to their school’s student health office, your child needs to be protected from several contagious diseases.
An apple a day might not keep the doctor away but it is a good start at setting up healthy eating habits. If your family is like mine eating healthy can seem overwhelming at times. Between going to work, school, sports practices and after school activities family dinner can get pushed aside. Add to it the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables and sometimes it just seems easier to go through the drive through and worry about it tomorrow. With spring right around the corner, now is a good time to rethink our eating habits and commit to making some changes. Consider making small changes that could have a significant impact on your families overall health. Keep reading for some helpful hints to save money and great links for recipes and meal ideas that kids will love.
Healthy eating habits set our kids up for long term success. Childhood obesity is a major health issue that increases the risk for depression, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, fatty liver, sleep apnea and more. However, it is not just overweight children who need to eat a healthy, well-rounded diet. All children, regardless of body type or size, benefit from good eating habits. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming or difficult to make meaningful changes. You can start with small steps to improve your family’s eating habits. For example, you can cut down on portion sizes, drink less juice and soda pop, and eat more fruits and vegetables.
Children should have at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This may seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. To make it easier, consider a serving to be about ½ of a cup or a small apple. Offer cut up fruit or vegetables as snacks to increase daily intake. Consider cutting up broccoli, cauliflower, carrots or peppers and offering them with a yogurt or ranch dip after school and while preparing dinner. If your children love spaghetti get creative with the vegetables that you add into the sauce. I have found a handful of spinach, green peppers, and mushrooms go well in most sauces. Even macaroni and cheese is better with broccoli mixed through it! In the summer people with a Bridge or Yes card can use it at Family Fare or most farmers markets to double up the benefits when buying fruits and vegetables.
One of the easiest and most important changes you can make is to cut down on serving sizes. Overall, serving sizes have more than tripled in the last thirty years for adults and children. When serving meals from the stove or countertop pay attention to the serving size each person is getting. Have everyone wait to get seconds until the last person at the table is done eating. This will allow time for children to feel full and will reduce overeating. I am not saying they cannot have seconds, but if they have to wait before refilling their plate studies have shown that most people will consume fewer calories per meal. If your young child is routinely eating more at a meal than the adults you may want to have a discussion with your family health care provider to see if there may be a medical cause or to help you set goals for how much your child should eat.
Strategies to prevent obesity in children:
Provide smaller portion sizes
Let your child drink no more than one small cup
of juice, low sugar sports drink, or soda pop a day.
Have your child drink water when he or she is
Offer more fruits and vegetables at meals and
Eat as a family as often as possible. Keep
family meals fun and positive.
Make exercise a part of your family’s daily
life. Encourage your child to be active for at least one hour every day.
Give every family member daily, weekly, and
monthly chores, such as housecleaning, weeding the garden or washing the car.
Let your child older than two years of age watch
television or play video games for no more than two hours each day. This
includes cell phone time at home for teenagers!
Children under the age of two should not be
exposed to any screen time as it interferes with healthy sleep-wake cycles and may
harm brain development.
Eat a balanced breakfast daily.
Decrease snacks after dinner. Offer fruits, vegetables, and protein if
something is needed.
Do not eat in front of the television or while
looking at a tablet, computer or smartphone.
Eliminate television in the room where a child
Limit eating out. Though it is convenient and
may seem cheaper than cooking at home, there are many easy, quick recipes that
can save you time and money as well as improve your family’s health.
Ensure adequate sleep.
Partner with your health care provider to monitor your
child’s weight and to discuss their eating habits. By making small changes now, we can work
together to avoid serious health problems like diabetes, heart disease and
What Is Eye Fatigue?
Your eyes might get tired quickly if you stare for long periods at a computer, smartphone or game console. The eye doctor might call this computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. It affects most people who use one. Some estimates say computer-related eye symptoms may be responsible for up to 10 million eye doctor visits a year. The problem is expected to grow as more people use smartphones and other handheld digital devices. You hold this kind of device closer to your eyes than a book or newspaper. That forces your eyes to work harder than usual as they strain to focus on small words.
Digital devices may also be linked to eye fatigue because you tend to blink less often when looking at a computer screen. People usually blink about 18 times a minute which naturally refreshes the eyes. But studies suggest that people only blink about half as often while looking at a computer or other digital device, and can result in dry, tired, itchy and burning eyes.
What Causes It?
Anything that requires intense eye use can cause fatigue. Some of the most common are:
If you look at a bright light or spend time in a place that’s too dim, it can also tire your peepers.
What are the Symptoms?
Be on the lookout for:
Sore or irritated eyes
Dry or watery eyes
Blurred or double vision
Increased sensitivity to light
Pain in the neck, shoulders or back
These symptoms can lower your productivity. If you stay awake long hours working, you can make the problem worse. Sleep refreshes your eye with essential nutrients. Lack of sleep may lead to repeated eye irritation.
How Can You Prevent Eye Fatigue?
Make some simple changes!
Your work habits:
Try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something about 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
Post a note that says “Blink” on your computer as a reminder.
Take regular breaks from computer work.
Your eye-care routine:
Apply a washcloth soaked in warm water to tired, dry eyes (keep your eyes closed).
Use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry.
To help prevent dry eyes while indoors, use an air cleaner to filter dust and a humidifier to add moisture to the air.
If you have eye fatigue or pain, see an eye doctor to make sure a broader medical condition isn’t to blame.
If the problem doesn’t go away, make an appointment for a full eye exam. The doctor can make sure your symptoms aren’t linked to a problem like an eye muscle imbalance. He can also tell if your glasses or contact lens prescription is up-to-date and suitable for computer use.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, participants who brushed and flossed on a daily basis had a significantly decreased risk of stroke. Another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, found a 65% higher risk of developing dementia in participants who did not brush their teeth.
Other benefits include a reduction in gum disease which has been linked to heart disease, tooth loss, and infection. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to erectile dysfunction in men and underweight preterm babies of mothers who have gum and tooth disease.
In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May. The overall health impact (i.e., infections, hospitalizations, and deaths) of a flu season varies from season to season.
Healthy People Need the Flu Vaccine: Influenza (flu) is a contagious disease which can lead to serious illness, including pneumonia. Even healthy people can get sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time or even be hospitalized.
Recommendation: An annual flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Pregnant women, young children, older people, and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and heart disease are at increased risk of serious flu-related complications, so getting a yearly flu vaccine is especially important for them.
Pediatric Deaths—A total of 101 flu-associated deaths in children occurring during the 2016-2017 season have been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In past seasons, between 80% and 85% of flu-associated pediatric deaths have occurred in children who had not gotten a flu vaccine that season.
Hospitalizations and Pneumonia—During the 2015-2016 flu season, the CDC estimated that 310,000 people were hospitalized for flu-related illness. Pneumonia consistently accounts for the overwhelming majority of the combined pneumonia and influenza deaths. In 2013, 53,282 people died from pneumonia and 3,550 people died from influenza (American Lung Association November 2015).
Is the Flu Vaccine Safe? The flu vaccine is safe, does not cause the flu, and can protect the ones you love! If you are allergic to eggs, the recommendations have been changed so you may now receive the flu vaccine. A flu vaccine is not recommended for people with a life-threatening egg allergy.