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The Children's Wellness Blog

The Importance of Providing a Healthy School Lunch for Your Kids

November 17, 2016

The Importance of Providing a Healthy School Lunch for Your KidsWe know mornings are hectic, especially for parents. Getting your kids up, ready for school and out the door can certainly be an ordeal. Preparing lunch for your kids can get lost in the shuffle of your morning routine, but that could be affecting your child’s overall health and performance in the classroom. Even though school cafeteria lunches have generally become healthier following the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act established in 2010, the most effective way to guarantee a healthy, nutritious lunch for your child is to make it yourself.

A child’s lunch provides roughly a third of their total daily calories, so it’s important to really make those calories count. You want your child to get his or her daily nutrients like protein, vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron and calcium, which are critical for your child’s current health as well as their growth and development. Establishing healthy eating habits is also a great way to avoid childhood obesity and increased body mass index (BMI) that can lead to heart disease and other medical issues as they grow.

A healthier lunch has been proven to help young students concentrate in the classroom. A study taken in 2014 by The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation examined the eating habits of children and discovered that kids who ate more nutritious meals and snacks performed better on literacy tests when compared to children with a diet higher in fat and salt. Additionally, better meals provide the energy kids need to make it through the school day and stay alert and active during after school activities and sports.

Follow these tips to help provide a wholesome, healthy school lunch for your kids:

  • Prepare lunches the night before to avoid additional morning craziness
  • Plan healthy meals with ingredients like fruits, veggies, whole-grains and low-fat dairy products
  • Avoid all trans fats and limit saturated fats, calories and salt
  • Include some form of protein (dairy, meats, nuts or peanut butter, eggs, beans)
  • Provide your kids with healthy drinks like milk and water instead of sugary stuff like certain juices and soda

Proper health and nutrition is important, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Letting your kids participate in choosing and preparing their own lunch can help keep them interested in their meal and less likely to eat something else. Eating right is the first step for your kids towards staying fit and leading a healthy, active lifestyle. If you have questions about your child’s nutritional needs, don’t hesitate to contact Children’s Wellness Center today at (404) 303-1314. Add or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more information and updates.

Dear CWC: A Q&A with the Doctors of Children’s Wellness Center

November 10, 2016

Dear CWC A Q&A with the Doctors of Children’s Wellness CenterHere at Children’s Wellness Center (CWC), we take great joy in sharing our expertise with the world. As parents ourselves, we understand that parents with young kids have plenty of questions; after all, there is a lot to know. That’s why we’re always happy to take a few minutes to answer some common questions we receive in regards to health and wellness for young children.

We take immense pride in establishing long-standing, personal relationships with our patients and their families through a combination of trust, accountability and experience. So with that said, here are some questions we receive on a fairly regular basis as well as some answers that we hope will be helpful:

Dear CWC: When can my child return to school after an ear infection?

A.) This can be a judgment call for parents. Ear infections are not contagious so you do not need to worry about your child potentially infecting his or her classmates. As long as kids are feeling well enough to resume their normal school activities and their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours (without the use of Tylenol or ibuprofen), it is safe for them to head back to school. Just communicate with your kids to ensure symptoms are not recurring.

Dear CWC: What can I do at home to help control my child’s asthma?

A.) There are a number of steps you can take to help reduce your child’s asthma symptoms in the house. Reducing your child’s exposure to items that can trigger asthma symptoms (like dust or mold) can help reduce flare ups. Dust mite covers and hypoallergenic bedding can be good ways of control dust mites. Additionally, certain pets in the home can also provide difficulties for kids with asthma. Consult your child’s healthcare provider before committing to a pet or if you already have a pet in the home that could pose potential issues. You may also want to consider asthma-safe pets like fish.

Dear CWC: Can drinking fruit juice provide the same nutritional value for my kids as actually eating fruit?

A.) Unfortunately not. Kids love fruit juice due to the sweet taste, but fruit juices don’t have the fiber and other essential nutrients kids get from eating fruit. In fact, many fruit juices can actually lead to health problems like poor nutrition, obesity and tooth decay due to high levels of sugar. According to recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids between 1 and 6 years of age should be limited to 4-6 ounces maximum of fruit juice per day. Kids above the age of 6 should be limited to a maximum of between 8-12 ounces daily.

When it comes to the health and wellness of your kids, there is no such thing as an unimportant question. Each month we host Children’s Wellness Center Meet & Greet events where we invite new and expectant parents to meet with our providers. These events are a great way to get a better feel for who we are, what we do, and how our practice can help provide your family with quality healthcare you can depend on. If you’re interested in learning more, you can always contact Children’s Wellness Center at 404-303-1314.

Asthma and Exercise for your Child

November 4, 2016

Asthma and Exercise for your ChildGetting daily exercise and staying active is very important for the health of young kids. Plus, what kid doesn’t love running around and playing with their friends after school? That’s why asthma can be so tough on kids and parents. As a parent, you want your child to be able to participate in sports and outdoor exercise, but you also don’t want to subject them to the potential risks of an asthma attack.

Unfortunately, asthma attacks can be triggered by exercise. Exercise-induced asthma (when asthma symptoms occur shortly after exercise) is common for kids. If your child experiences symptoms of asthma during exercise (more than once in a blue moon) he or she may be dealing with poorly controlled asthma. Exercise is generally good for the lungs, but physical exertion can cause your child’s airways to lose heat and moisture, especially in cold and dry weather. This can irritate the bronchial tubes and lead to an attack.

According to research performed by experts at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, roughly 20% of kids with asthma don’t get the recommended amount of daily exercise. While parents are right to try to keep their kids safe, with the right treatment and precautions most children with asthma can safely enjoy sports and athletic exercise like anyone else. To remedy some concerns you may have, we’ve provided some handy advice on how to keep asthmatic kids safe while playing outside.

Here are a few tips:

  • Kids should always keep an inhaler handy while exercising
  • Taking a couple puffs from an inhaler 15 minutes before exercising (if recommended by your child’s doctor can help prevent exercise-induced asthma symptoms
  • Inform coaches and teachers of your child’s asthma and make sure they know what to do in the case of an attack
  • Instruct kids to take a break from exercising if they begin to feel asthma symptoms coming on
  • Wearing a scarf or cloth to cover the nose and mouth when exercising outdoors in cold weather can help

Some activities are better than others for kids with asthma. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommend sports that involve short bursts of exertion like baseball, golf and biking as opposed to more physically demanding sports like soccer or basketball. If you still have questions, you can always speak to any of our health care professionals at Children’s Wellness Center. To set up an appointment, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for more news, tips and updates.

Tips for a Safe Halloween for your Kids

October 17, 2016

Tips for a Safe Halloween for your KidsYou’ve probably started to notice decorations around your neighborhood and candy front and center in your local grocery store which means Halloween is nearly upon us. One of the most treasured nights on the calendar for kids of all ages, Halloween is a great chance for families to spend time together trick or treating. While fun, Halloween night can pose certain dangers for kids. That’s why we’re writing today to share some easy and effective tips for parents to help ensure a happy and healthy Halloween for the whole family.

Costume Selection:

  • Make sure your child’s costume is bright and reflective so it may be seen by other trick or treaters and passing cars.
  • Ensure all costumes are the right size to prevent trips and falls.
  • Beware of masks or helmets that may obstruct a kid’s vision. Safe face paint can be a good alternative.
  • Make sure all costume accessories (swords, knives, etc…) are made of safe material and are not sharp or dangerous to avoid injury.

Street Safety:

  • Kids under 12 should be accompanied by an adult while trick or treating.
  • For older kids, establish a pre-planned route, curfew and protocol.
  • Kids who trick or treat without adult supervision should be coached to not talk to strangers, enter stranger’s homes or cars or eat unwrapped treats.
  • Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries is always recommended while trick or treating after dark.
  • Teach kids to stay on sidewalks (if available) instead of walking in the street or through people’s yards.
  • Applying reflective tape or striping to costumes and trick-or-treat bags can increase visibility.

Candy Consumption:

  • Sort through your kid’s treats before they start eating to ensure all treats are safe.
  • For younger kids, beware of certain treats that can be choking hazards.
  • Throw away any candy that is already opened or partially opened.
  • Don’t let kids eat too much candy at once to prevent stomach aches. Ration appropriately.
  • Beware of allergies (nuts especially).

Following these Halloween safety steps can help provide peace of mind to parents and allow kids have a safe and special night they’ll never forget. For more information on child safety, please contact Children’s Wellness Center today. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter & YouTube for updates, news, calendar events and more.