Healthy Weight in Children

Monday, January 31, 2011

Okay, we waited until well after the holidays to write this blog so that people could enjoy their cookies, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Now it’s time to talk about healthy weight, especially for children. Unfortunately, obesity is increasingly becoming a problem among our nation’s children. This trend is dangerous, and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Some children are already struggling with high cholesterol, diabetes, sore joints, and other issues that we once attributed to adults. Not only are there potential physical consequences, there can be emotional ones as well. Children who are overweight may be teased and excluded from other groups and activities. As anyone knows, emotional consequences can be as damaging as physical ones. Here are some tips we would like to offer to help keep your children at a healthy weight

1. First, check with your pediatrician to see what the healthy weight is for your child’s age and size. Plus it’s always better to rule out any possible physical cause if you notice your child is either gaining or losing weight.
2.You don’t have to call something a “diet”; just begin by eating healthier, or better yet, begin eating healthy as soon as your child is born. If you are able to do that, it will be the only thing the child knows, and they may be less picky when it comes to eating those pesky fruits and vegetables. This behavior is good for the entire family. Plus, you will be modeling appropriate eating habits that hopefully your child will pick-up on.
3.Increase your child’s activity. They don’t have to be playing video games or watching TV during every free moment. They don’t have to jog five miles either in order to stay healthy, but if there is just some activity every day, it will go a long way to keeping a child at a healthy weight. These activities can even be during every day errands. If you go to the store, park farther away and walk. Take the stairs when you can; housework and chores keep people active; play games with your children that require some kind of activity; walk the dog, etc. Again, these little changes will help the whole family (including the dog!).
4.If you’re currently trying to change your eating habits, start small if you have to; try water instead of soda, use fruits as a desert. Try introducing lower fat items into your menu.
5.Now, if you notice your child is eating in order to cope with depression or stressful situations, please seek assistance. Compulsive eating can be treated, but it needs to be taken seriously, and counseling and a more multidisciplinary approach may be needed to get to the root of the eating.
We’ve been discussing healthy eating habits as it relates to obesity, but please keep in mind that the number of younger children being treated for anorexia and bulimia is also on the rise. We want to send a message of health to our children, not body image or glamour. Just as with overeating, the anorexia and bulimia behaviors may also be coping mechanisms for a child. There may be underlying depression, or it may be the way in which they cope with stress or feeling out of control. Please seek the help of a professional if you suspect your child has any type of eating disorder. For more information, you may visit or

Cold Weather Safety and Kids

Monday, January 24, 2011

OK, I get it, as we age we may not appreciate the cold weather like kids do! Snowball fights, making snowmen (and women), snow forts, and snow angels really are a blast for children. No one can deny how beautiful that first snowfall can be! Of course, the dangers of the ice and cold are no fun for anyone. Here are some thoughts on keeping children safe and warm during the cold weather season.

*Adequate heat in the home, car

There are home heating assistance programs. In Indiana, call 1-800-Children, or 211 for more information.

Please heed any warnings about space heaters and fireplaces in the home.

It’s a good idea to keep a blanket in the car, and perhaps extra clothing.

*Warm coats, hats, gloves, boots and sweaters are all necessary. See local clothing banks in your area for free or low cost apparel.

*Watch the weather stations! Day to day, and literally, moment to moment weather and wind chills can change!

Children waiting for the early morning bus could be especially at risk with the cold. Give kids playing outside after school guidelines. Remind “latchkey” kids who they can go to for help, if needed.

*Warn and watch kids who could be playing or skating on ice or sledding near trees.

*Preteens and Teens – This group often think it’s “not cool” to wear warm layers or coats. Shorts and flip flops are very trendy right now! Talk to your older kids. Help them choose “cool” warm clothes, which they WILL wear!

Winter Driving Tips: Don't Get In Your Car Until You Read This!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It’s that time of year when the weather can turn the streets into an adult’s slip-slide and not in a fun way. Driving with a car full of preschoolers is distracting in beautiful weather, but throw in some snow flurries and icy roads and you need some serious concentration. Here are some tips for getting through this winter on the road safely.

Winter ready. Now’s the time to make sure the family automobile is ready to take on that winter weather. Tires, fluids and brakes should be inspected and the car should be stocked with extra blankets, a snow brush, ice scraper, flashlight, water and food.

Car seat check. If your preschooler has outgrown his or her car seat, it’s time to upgrade to a booster seat (be sure to follow your state car seat law). It’s important your child’s seat fit their body appropriately and ensure the seat is installed correctly.

Warm up the car safely. As the temperatures dip, warming up the car becomes part of the daily routine and it’s not uncommon to return inside to finish getting the kids bundled up. However, there is one habit most people with a garage have, and that’s closing the garage door upon entering the house. The result of pushing that button will not only turn your garage toxic with carbon monoxide, but it can also seep into your home. To prevent such a harmful situation, back your car out of the garage just a few feet to stop the garage from closing – just in case.

Never leave the kids alone in the car. Most parents know not to leave children alone in the car during summer months due to the dangers of high temperatures. But that rule needs to be practiced year-round. It only takes a moment for little hands to unfasten their belt, find the gearshift, move it into neutral and cause a catastrophe.

Dress for the worst. Even if you’re going on a quick trip through the bank drive-thru or dropping off an older child in the school carpool line, it’s imperative everyone in the car is dressed in winter wear (or at least have winter coats in the car). If the car breaks down or there is an accident, standing on the side of the road not dressed appropriately can be extremely dangerous if temperatures are cold enough.

Let voicemail get it. Parents are fantastic multitaskers, but the car is one place it’s important to focus on one thing - and that’s driving. Even if the phone is ringing or your phone is teasing you with the chime of a new email, don’t give into temptation. It only takes a second to become distracted and for an accident to occur.

Slowdown. Running late can turn on the panic switch but no matter what, it’s not worth speeding. Black ice and slippery streets can instigate unwanted circumstances, especially on bridges.

Drive differently in the snow. Turn on those headlights, slow down at intersections, break slowly, and never use cruise control on a wet road.

Pack for peace. Kids need to be entertained 24/7 and that includes their car time. Keep a stash of drawing boards, books, and toys within easy reach of the young backseat riders. Always place sippy and snack cups in car seat cup holders so you don’t feel the need to ever reach back.

It’s okay to say no. When the kids start demanding your attention from the backseat with shouts of, “Look! Look!” there is nothing wrong with saying “not right now” with promises to give them your attention when the car stops at a red light. Simply setting the example of “safety first” when in the car will influence them to be better drivers when the time comes while keeping them safe now.

Received permission from the author to reproduce this article with attribution to

Managing Your $$$$, Post Holidays

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dieting, as well as reading a blog about managing your money after the holidays, renders more reasons to hibernate in January!! It’s a whole lot more fun to celebrate and spend than it is to exercise and save! Woohoo! All right, let’s get the pity party over, shall we? Having and saving money is important for the whole family!
So, let’s peruse a wonderful article I found on the web from Good Housekeeping. They offer a HUGE list of “125 Ways to Manage Your Money.” I’ll list my top picks, as well as add some of my own:

1. Stop buying water…it’s free at almost any faucet.

2. Unplug sockets that you are not really using. It still drains energy and costs money.

3. Watch the paper and pay attention to fliers for sales and giveaways and go to those places and stock up.

4. Buy holiday gifts throughout the year when you see things that are inexpensive. The best time to shop for the holidays is actually after the holidays.

5. Fill regular prescriptions at Internet stores. Check for legitimate businesses (National Association of Boards of Pharmacies).

6. Check out local dental schools and cosmetology schools to see about inexpensive dental services or haircuts.

7. Turn your unused items into cash! Examples might be: Plato’s closet for teen clothes; GameStop for video games; Play It Again Sports for used sporting goods; Online at, or

8. Check to see if your car needs an oil change at 3000, or 5000 or 7500 miles! Not all cars today need oil changes at 3,000 miles. On the other hand, maintain your car and get preventative work done so that it will last longer, e.g. tune-ups, washes, checking the fluids, etc.

9. Coupons, coupons, coupons. I keep a ziplock bag in the car for restaurants and another for groceries!

10. Another idea to save that’s been around for forever… bartering for goods and services. Your cherry pie might be just what someone else needs…unless of course they’re dieting after the holidays!

New Year's Resolutions

Monday, January 3, 2011

It’s that time of year again. New Year’s Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It’s a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. It’s a time when we make a commitment to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change which is generally interpreted as advantageous. The name comes from the fact that these commitments normally go into effect on New Year’s Day and remain until fulfilled or abandoned, and is one example of a rolling forecast-method of planning. According to this method, plans are established at regular short or medium-term time intervals, when only a rough long-term plan exists.

Top Ten Resolutions for 2011

Spend More Time with Family and Friends - 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with them.
Exercise More Consistently - Reduces stress, and risks to some deceases, increases longevity, helps maintain weight loss.
Tame the Bulge - Setting reasonable goals and staying focused are the two most important factors.
Quit Smoking - Smokers try about four times before they quit for good. So, don’t give up!
Enjoy Life More - Get a hobby, enjoy the theatre, or just try something new. Important step to a happier and healthier you!
Quit Drinking - Use New Year’s as an incentive – but quitting cold turkey Is hard to do. Taper off or use Alcoholic Anonymous or other programs for support or help.
Get out of Debt - Big source of stress, but it’s a promise that will repay itself many times over in the year ahead.
Learn Something New - Education is one of the easiest resolutions to keep.
Help Others- Popular, non-selfish resolution, volunteerism can take many forms, whether it’s helping, mentoring, building – there are many non-profits that can use your help.
Get Organized - Organization can be a very reasonable goal to simply reduce the clutter in your life and find peace in your home or office.

Recent research shows that whole 52% of participants in a resolution study were confident of success with their goals, only 12% actually achieved their goals. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, a system where small measurable goals are used (lose a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”) while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from friends.

We wish you the best in accomplishing your New Year’s Resolutions in 2010!!