Did you know that 40% of daily calories of US children and adolescents aged 2-18 years come from added sugar and solid fats? Approximately half of these empty calories come from six sources: soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.
Raising healthy kids sounds pretty simple: Provide good nutrition, 60 minutes of daily physical activity, and create a joyful and safe home environment. Do that, and you’ll reduce your child’s risk for obesity, diabetes, and other chronic disease. But you’re up against a host of unhealthy temptations including advertising, peer pressure, and an abundance of junk food in shiny packaging.
The first and most important step you have to take for your child’s health is modeling healthy habits in front of them. Make a healthy lifestyle a family affair. Keep things simple. And don’t give up when kids get picky. The tips and resources provided below will keep you on track.
Keep Kids in Motion. Once kids return to school, they are sedentary for the better part of the day. Outside of school, make sure your kids have opportunities to stretch, strengthen, and build endurance for 60 minutes daily. Make time for creative play at the park where children can engage all the major muscle groups. Provide opportunities for trying new sports or creative movement classes. Get the whole family involved with obstacle courses, biking, or hiking. When the weather outside is too hot or cold, visit an indoor pool, playscape, climbing gym, or bounce-house facility. Create a joyful atmosphere at home, check stress at the door (which is easier to do if you are exercising), and encourage playtime.
Limit Screen Time. With more schools incorporating digital devices into curricula, it’s important to monitor your child’s free time on the screen. For younger children, set a daily limit of 60 minutes, and for older children, set a limit of 120 minutes for all media–TV, movies, and games.
Consider having a “digital-free zone” in your home: one room designated just for reading, games, and music sans the headphones. Also, make one day a week (e.g., Sunday) a “device-free day” for all family members. Play games or get physically active, together.
A Balanced Diet, Not a Food Fight. No matter their age, kids can be picky eaters. Offer your child choices at meals that are acceptable to you, health promoting, and palatable. Model the healthy eating habits you want your child to have whether they are at home or out with friends.
When it comes to getting kids to try new foods, get creative: Blend veggies into homemade smoothies. Serve raw veggies with hummus. Make zucchini-based brownies. Incorporate blended or finely chopped veggies into pasta sauce for use on pizza and spaghetti. Try healthier ice cream options like Bliss (raw, vegan, organic and tastes great) or Arctic Zero. Involve your kids in creating a beautiful fruit salad. Kids’ palates change as they age; what they like/don’t like at age 3 is likely to be different at 13 and even 23!
Introduce and reintroduce healthy selections at all meal and snack times. And don’t fight about food…that only creates a lousy mood for everyone at mealtimes. Sometimes, it really is okay to skip the asparagus and still have dessert.
Tame the Sweet Tooth. Sugar intake for children is recommended to 3-4 teaspoons a day. Cutting back on soda, candy, and cookies is only the first step. Read labels to identify added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and food dyes that can be hidden in foods including bread, condiments such as ketchup, crackers, cookies, candy and canned and frozen foods. Make your own frozen treats from fresh fruit, and cut down on packaged foods.
Sleep Well. During sleep, children’s bodies generate hormones important to healthy growth and development. A good night of rest allows children to wake energized for the following day. Research has shown that sleep plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight and promoting a positive mood. Try to keep kids to a daily sleep-wake routine, especially during the school week.
Healthy diet and exercise make a huge difference in the health and demeanor of children. If challenged with a behavioral and/or physical health issue you can take it a step further. At HealthBridge Medical Center we will often run lab tests to determine if a child has specific food allergies, or a particularly high demand for certain nutrients like zinc, magnesium or essential fatty acids for example. Getting specific with nutrient supplementation and adjusting the diet accordingly makes for much happier and healthier children. It is always worth the time and effort involved.
Boys diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are more likely also to have asthma, allergies and skin infections than youngsters without ADHD, a new study finds, suggesting a possible link between these conditions. Of those in the study, boys newly diagnosed with ADHD were 40 percent more likely to have asthma, 50 percent more likely to have needed a prescription for allergy medicine and 50 percent more likely to have had a bacterial skin infection than other boys. “Our study provides additional evidence to support the hypothesis that atopic disorders, such as asthma and food allergies increase the risk of developing ADHD,” the authors wrote, adding that further research is necessary to determine just how these conditions might be connected. Their results were published in the August issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.
Read more here.
Naturopathic Medical Doctors have seen this connection for a long time. Inflammatory conditions such as asthma and allergies trigger behavioral disorders. To successfully treat ADHD we must address allergies, and additional underlying factors that cause inflammation.
Just a quick post to share my excitement as our medical practice expands to offer to our patients the only medical service of its kind in southern California.
As you know, I am passionate about integrative medicine, and after 15 years treating patients and teaching physicians how to practice this medicine, I am still in awe of the results that come with helping the body to heal itself. There are natural options available for major health challenges, like depression, infertility, ADHD, hormone imbalance, memory loss, chronic pain, and rheumatoid arthritis.
I have been practicing concierge medicine with our high profile patients and am now offering this service to more people.
As a concierge patient you have the option for home visits, a private line to the doctor, help with shopping for the best foods for your body, and a more personal and direct relationship, the way medicine used to be practiced, when your doctor was also a family friend.
Read about our patients’ experiences to learn firsthand from others who have gotten results with the help of this medicine.
You can call our offices at 310-734-0950 (Beverly Hills) or 949-715-9321 (Newport Beach) for more info.
A new study released by Michigan State University found that nearly 1 million children have been misdiagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The reason, the study found, was that kids who are youngest in their grades have a 60% greater chance of being diagnosed with ADHD. Nothing to do with brain chemistry, or the genuine need for medications. Simply due to their age. The details of this study were just published in USA Today.
There are beneficial naturopathic treatments for those labeled with ADHD. The beauty of Naturopathic Medicine is that doctors are treating the individual. Even if your child was diagnosed with ADHD, a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor will work on the underlying cause of the behavioral challenges and not simply treat the label your child was given by writing a script for Ritalin or other popular ADHD medication. This individualized treatment helps to prevent misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatments with unknown long-term effects to a child’s developing brain and nervous system. Let’s focus on what is in the best interest of the children, now and in the future. Finding a doctor who takes the time to get to know your child, run appropriate lab tests to pinpoint the imbalances, and is focused on addressing the underlying cause of your child’s behavioral challenges is a reasonable place to start.
Yours in health,
PBS TO AIR DOCUMENTARY FOCUSING ON NATUROPATHIC MEDICINE FEATURING DR. GINA NICK
Windsor Broadcast Productions, well known for its long running PBS series American Health Journal is producing a documentary focusing on Naturopathic Medicine. The documentary will be comprised of seven 30 minute segments on such topics as Mental Health, Adult Allergies, ADD & ADHA. The documentary will initially run on PBS in the greater Orange County, California area sometime in March 2009 and is expected to reach a nationwide audience later in the year.
One of the segments features Dr. Gina Nick and her naturopathic approach to dealing with Chronic Pain.
Some of the key messages highlighted throughout the series are:
* Naturopathic Doctors are trustworthy, credible, and a qualified choice for healthcare
* Naturopathic medicine offers a continuum of care
* Naturopathic medicine is the “new norm” for health and healthcare
* Naturopathic doctors believe in the power of the human being to regain greater health
Dr. Nick and LTP Natural Medical Center specialize in the prevention of dis-ease, optimizing overall health and providing a sense of well being.
Knowledge is power. LTP Natural Medical Center hopes you will tune-in to this very exciting documentary series and empower yourself with knowledge about the natural approach to your health.
Food allergies are on the rise in the US, and are highly prevalent in children. The most common allergies that I see in my practice are delayed food hypersensitivity reactions which means that you could eat a suspect food one day and not experience symptoms from that food for 48 hours. Eggs, pasteurized cow’s milk products (e.g. pasteurized cheese, yogurt, milk derived from cows) wheat, and shellfish are among the most common foods that cause reactions in the body. These food allergies can cause or aggravate asthma symptoms, susceptibility to colds and the flu, mood disorders including depression, anxiety, and Attention Deficit Disorder, and chronic conditions including Autism Spectrum Disorder, arthritis, joint pain, chronic fatigue syndrome and eczema.
There are several ways to determine if you have a food allergy. The first way is a little complicated but involves an elimination diet where you remove all traces of the most common food allergens from your diet. Then, over time, you reintroduce one of those foods at a time and note if you experience symptoms. I highly recommend working with a licensed Naturopathic Medical Doctor if you are interested in treating yourself or your child for food allergies.
I test the blood for food allergies and find that this is an accurate, more specific, and simpler way to know what foods to avoid.
So why are food allergies on the rise? One reason is that we are living in a more sterile environment then ever before. The overuse of disinfectants, the overuse of antibiotics when they are not really necessary, and the tendency to work and study indoors in rather sterile environments where there is limited exposure to sunlight (a natural disinfectant) are some of the reasons why children’s immune systems are not up to par. Food allergies tend to be caused by an imbalance in immune function.
Some natural ways to balance out immune function are to get tested for food allergies and avoid them for 3-6 months, get your blood tested for vitamin A and vitamin D3 and supplement these nutrients if necessary, and take a high quality probiotic on a regular basis to keep the healthy bacteria present in your gut. Other options to consider that I often use in practice to boost immune function include Oregacillin, Allimed, and Berry Well Immune Support. I also like the Candida Cleanse Pack which treats candida but also serves as a powerful immune supportive protocol, and for optimal foundational support for our children I recommend the Children’s Foundation Pack.