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Did you know that you can help protect your child from the number one cause of death (heart disease) almost as soon as s/he is born? Getting your child started on the right foot with food choices, an active lifestyle and some hidden heart secrets will help protect against obesity, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease and cancer when your child reaches adulthood.
More Than One Reason to Brush Those Teeth Believe it or not, regular and thorough teeth brushing plays a significant role in heart health maintenance. Good oral hygiene prevents plaque build-up in both your child’s mouth and heart. Chronic mouth infections can be the cause of problems in other parts of the body — including the heart. >>> continues
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Gum disease and plaque can quickly and painlessly become severe with
obesity rate has more than tripled in There are many reasons kids miss or skip meals, according to the United States in the past three Dr. Washington. decades. Nearly 20 percent of adolescents were considered obese in 2008, One is cost — the family may not have the resources for three compared to only five percent in 1980. square meals a day. The rate of 6- to 11-year-olds considered obese has also skyrockAnother is a hectic bad hygiene, hurting eted, from 6.5 percent to family lifestyle. Many both your child’s almost 20 percent. families miss meals beheart and oral health. cause they simply don’t have the time Today, obesity is a to sit down together. Making sure your children get into problem for children as Whatever the reason, a habit of brushing regularly and tak- young as preschoolers. Dr. Washington noted ing them to get their teeth profession- Even toddlers and that when you miss a ally cleaned every six months can keep preschoolers can suffer meal, you will likely end their heart (and mouth) healthy and from this serious medical up hungrier later, and that condition that increases their risk decrease their risk of heart disease in can lead to overeating. factors for high blood pressure, high the future. cholesterol and bone and joint problems as well as other issues, including Find a Good Sleep The key to a healthy heart poor self-esteem. Routine Every child is different, but is good habits that start from preschool through lower early in life. These small and “The problem is these medical conelementary grades, children little-known habits can help ditions just don’t go away,” said Dr. lead to better heart health Reginald Washington, chief medical and reduce the risk of heart officer for the Rocky Mountain Hosdisease for your child — now pital for Children and a leading national expert on combating childand in the future. hood obesity. “Unless changes are made in their lifestyle and their diet, Making a Difference with they will deal with serious medical Healthy Habits issues for the rest of their lives.” If you’re like many parents, you struggle just to get your preschooler to Fortunately, according to Dr. Washeat a few bites at mealtime. When ington, you can play an active role and dealing with fussy eaters, heart health lower the risk of obesity for your preand proper weight is usually not top schooler by following three simple of mind. family routines. However, according to the Centers Plan Family Meals for Disease Control, the childhood Research shows that four-yearolds who eat dinner with their families have a lower rate of obesity than children who don’t.
need an average of 10 to 13 hours of sleep a day, whether they are napping or not. This is usually more than parents allow time for. If a child has poor sleep habits or refuses to go to bed, the parents often assume the child just doesn’t need the sleep. That’s usually not the case — in fact, it’s likely that the
HealthONE’s Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at Presbyterian/ St. Luke’s Medical Center, located at 19th Avenue and High Street is now accepting patients. Its 24/7 emergency department, like RMHC at Sky Ridge Medical Center, is staffed with pediatric emergency specialists.
child is sleep-deprived, hence the difficulty in getting to sleep at bedtime. Research confirms lack of sleep may alter hormones so that children end up consuming more food, as well as the wrong kinds of food. Sleepy children are also less physically active during their waking hours simply because they are tired.
Turn the TV Off
Preschool children aged two and older should spend no more than two hours each day watching television or using the computer, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Sadly, most American preschoolers exceed these recommendations and the extra time spent in sedentary activity may be linked to obesity. The most important thing you can do for your preschooler, Dr. Washington said, is to make heart-healthy living a priority for the whole family. “When we see an obese child, we obviously need to change the family behavior. It doesn’t work to tell your child to eat lots of vegetables
Dr. Reginald “Reggie” Washington recently co-authored a national study on childhood obesity, a cause close to his heart. Dr. Washington is a member of the American Medical Association’s Expert Committee on the Assessment & Prevention of Childhood Obesity and member of the Expert Panel on Cardiovascular Risk Reduction in Children, convened by the National Institutes for Health. He oversees enhancements of newborn and pediatric care across the HealthONE system of hospitals, incorporating the specialty emergency and pediatric services of Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Much of Dr. Washington’s time is spent consulting with parents and children on nutrition and exercise programs to help ward off obesity as well as the development of many related diseases
and fruit while you can keep eating potato chips and candy. It has to be a whole family adventure,” he said.
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and its family of locations in every HealthONE hospital brings trusted experience and proven care to you and your children. For information on parenting, health tips and more, visit www.RockyMountainHospitalForChildren.com.
Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children after-hours advice line
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First Call for Children ®
...Our nurse advice line has the answers to your after-hours questions
303.563.3300 (Out of Denver area call toll-free 1-877-647-7440)
For after-hours questions about your child’s health, there’s First Call for Children every night and every weekend and holiday:
FREE pediatric advice and information line Brought to you by Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, the pediatric services from HealthONE Staffed by specially trained pediatric nurses Based on national illnesses and injuries guidelines
For medical emergencies ALWAYS call 9-1-1 Open Mon-Fri 5:00 pm - 8:00 am | 24 hours weekends and holidays