Mid-February 2015 Newsletter
Exposure to Healthy Foods May be Beneficial in the Long Run
A recent study revealed exposure to fruits and vegetables in childhood was tied to liking those foods as adults, even if the foods weren't eaten as children. Researchers also found reduced exposure to unhealthy foods may help curb interest in children. However, participants who were forced to eat a particular food ended up disliking it, researchers found.
Prepackaged Meals for Toddlers Show High Salt, Sugar Content
CDC researchers found complementary foods for infants younger than 12 months had low sodium levels and no added sugars. However, more than 25% of prepackaged dinners and most snacks and desserts for toddlers had at least one type of added sugar, while 75% of dinners had high amounts of salt.
Experts Update Age-Specific Sleep Duration Recommendations
The National Sleep Foundation, in conjunction with experts from a variety of groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics, conducted a formal literature review and updated recommendations on how much sleep is needed at different ages. The recommendations suggest 14 to 17 hours for newborns, 11 to 14 hours for toddlers, 9 to 11 hours for school-aged children and 8 to 10 hours for teenagers.
More Adults, Children Try Yoga
The number of Americans trying yoga showed a significant increase between 2002 and 2012 for adults and between 2007 and 2012 for children, a recent survey indicated.
Study Links Energy Drinks to Risk of Hyperactivity, Inattention
A Yale University study of middle-school students found those who drank energy drinks were at higher risk of developing symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention than those who did not consume them. The study found boys were more likely than girls to use energy drinks.  The findings support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children avoid energy drinks.  
From the Doctors
Dr. Gomez:

I have been talking about healthy eating and exercise in the past weeks. My reason is no other than to remind everyone that these life-style habits are not an option--but a necessity in order to stay healthy!  I know everyone wants to live a long healthy life, and even more we want to see our children have a long and healthier life as well. In order to achieve that, we need to live every day making the right decisions.
It is so easy to turn on the television so our kids can stay entertained while we clean or cook, but is that the best thing for them? For years now there have been guidelines that talk about how before the age of 2 years babies should not be exposed to a screen. And after that age, even as teenagers, not to have more than 2 hours of SCREEN time a day--that means not only TV but also video games, tablets, phones, etc. Even a puzzle will make anyone move more and help with fine motor skills than if you are doing one in a tablet.
One of the best ways to make sure we have a healthy heart is to make sure our cholesterol stays at good levels. Unfortunately, American children have, on average, higher levels of cholesterol compared to children in other developed countries! The main reason being is that they are also consuming more saturated fat--so please look at your nutrition labels before buying any meals! Learn about what you are eating. If not sure about it,  there are several apps or websites--even search engines--where you can simply put the food, the store where you are buying it, and it will tell you everything you need to know about that meal or snack.
Dr. Higuera:
Our kids and their teeth...easy to forget the importance of good oral hygiene with everything else that we need to think about but this is JUST AS IMPORTANT.  Dental cavities  are the most common chronic disease of childhood!    Approximately 24% of US children age 2 to 4, 53% of 6 to 8 year olds, and 56% of 15 year olds have experienced cavities.
A tooth stays healthy by a healthy balance of breakdown (demineralization) and building (remineralization) of the tooth enamel. When the balance is tipped toward demineralization, cavities can result.  Factors that affect this balance include bacteria, sugar, saliva and fluoride.
Recommendations include the following: 
  • Continue breastfeeding as foods are introduced for 1 year or longer
  • Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle
  • Wean from the bottle by 1 year of age
  • Avoid carbonated, sugared beverages and juice drinks that are not 100% juice
  • Limit the amount of 100% juice to nor more than 4 to 6 oz. per day
  • Encourage drinking water between meals.
  • Start to brush teeth as soon as first tooth erupts.  It is ok to use a "smear" or a grain of rice-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste up to 3 yr.  after which you  could use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
  • Supervise your kids brushing until at least 8 yrs. old
  • Dental visits every 6 months starting by age 1.


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