The increasing number of children who are overweight or obese is a growing concern for parents and caretakers. While healthy eating and exercise has become a national topic of conversation, it’s important that the potential social and medical problems many of these children face be a part of that discussion as well.
More than “baby fat”
It’s a common assumption that heavier children might lose some of their roundness as they grow up, but many children do not outgrow their tendency to be overweight. Heavy kids generally grow up to be heavy adults and, more importantly, overweight children have many of the same health risks involved with extra weight that adults do, including:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which puts them at risk for cardiovascular disease
- Higher risk for diabetes, liver disease, gallstones and esophageal reflux
- Pain and other joint problems
- Decreased coordination/dexterity
- Higher risk for social and psychological problems due to bullying
A pediatrician can help determine a healthy weight for your child and advise you how to help your child meet that goal weight. Other goals may include increased strength, decreased percentage of body fat, reduced anxiety, and improved aerobic fitness and physical activity level. A physical therapist may be able to help with some of these goals as well. Continue Reading »
Stuttering is a communication disorder of which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak.
About five percent of all children will go through a stage of developmental stuttering. This period of stuttering consists of easy repetitions without tension or signs of struggling. Most dysfluencies are only two or three repetitions in length and most of the time the child will appear unaware of the stuttering and will continue talking without signs of distress.
75 percent of these children will begin to spontaneously recover from normal dysfluencies after approximately six months. At the six-month mark you will want to note if your child’s speech is improving, staying the same or getting more difficult for them.
If you are worried about your child’s dysfluency consider these factors when deciding if it is time to talk with your child’s doctor or a speech language pathologist:
- Is your child a boy? 4x more boys stutter than girls.
- Is there a family history of stuttering? If yes, it is more likely your child may need skilled intervention.
- Has the dysfluent speech lasted longer than six months? If your child’s speech has not improved or has become more dysfluent, your child may need skilled intervention.
- Is your child aware of the stuttering? A child who stops talking, avoids words, abandons a message or verbalizes talking being difficult is more likely to need skilled intervention.
- Do you see increased facial or body movements when your child is stuttering? If you are noticing increased eye blinking, head nodding, facial tension, hand or foot tapping it is more likely your child may need skilled intervention.
Answering “yes” to two or more of these questions indicates it is time to talk to your child’s pediatrician about next steps. Continue Reading »
At 18 months of age your toddler is exploring his/her world and learning so many new things. Here are some of the typical speech and language milestones that indicate your child is progressing in language development.
- Uses 10-15 different words
- Uses words to have needs met (“more, up, eat”)
- Understands and uses the names of five different familiar objects
- Imitates sounds and words spontaneously
- Starts to combine two words (“all done, up mama”)
- Uses real words intermixed with babbling
- Hums along with familiar children’s songs
- Imitates words and word combinations with a model
- Recognizes pictures of family members and familiar objects
- Points or uses gestures to get your attention or make requests for objects/actions
- Retrieves a known object from another room upon request (“go get your blanket”)
- Follows simple commands
- Points to body parts when asked
- Develops a play routine (baby doll, kitchen play, car play)
- Enjoys looking at books and will turn pages a few at a time
Continue Reading »
Mealtimes can be a battlefield for many families, leading to stress and impaired relationships between a child and food. If your child is struggling with eating habits, seeing a specialist could help. To determine if intervention is needed, answer the following questions:
Does your child:
- Have a history of failure to thrive or poor weight gain?
- Have a limited diet or struggle to add new foods to his or her diet?
- Refuse foods or food groups based on texture, color, temperature, smell or appearance?
- Need constant reinforcements or rewards to participate in mealtimes?
- Gag, cough or choke when eating?
- Require longer than 30 minutes to complete a meal or snack?
- Graze or snack all day?
- Get most of his or her nutrition from milk or supplements?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, your child might benefit from the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Feeding Group. The SOS group meets for one hour once a week for 12 consecutive weeks, and is designed to assess and treat all the factors involved with eating/feeding difficulties. This approach focuses on desensitization for increased food acceptance, which leads to increased food intake and improves oral motor skills to empower children to safely eat a variety of textures and foods. Continue Reading »
Finding a primary care clinician who you like and trust, and building a partnership with him or her over time is one of the best things you can do for your health. My goal as a connection specialist is to be the first step in navigating that process, taking the stress and anxiety out of finding a new primary care clinician, and talking through the process and answering any questions you may have so we can get you on the road to good health.
Research shows that people who have an ongoing relationship with a primary care clinician have better overall health outcomes and save money in the long run by doing yearly preventative visits. As you begin looking for a primary care clinician, consider the following:
- Are the office hours or location convenient?
Some patients want to have a clinician closer to their workplace versus their home, and Affinity Health System has several convenient locations to meet your health care needs. We offer same-day appointments, extended hours during the week and also weekend hours at some of our locations.
- What do you want in a clinician?
I often get asked how long a particular clinician has been practicing, or what their specialty is. If you have specific needs, like treating high cholesterol, or are interested in treatments such as integrative medicine or acupuncture, keep those in mind while you search.
Continue Reading »