Tag Archives: Archives of Disease in Childhood

Toolkit Helps Parents Recognize a Child’s Risk of Obesity

Some simple interventions used by pediatricians were enough to change a parent’s perspective about a child’s being overweight or obese, and change the parent’s behaviors at home to reduce those risks.
..
Researchers confirmed previous reports that parents of overweight or obese children do not recognize their child’s weight problem. But this time, by arming pediatricians with a “toolkit,” an easily used chart and a series of questions and suggestions, the researchers addressed several problems.

“Doctors often don’t have time to discuss overweight; they don’t have the tools to do it; and many aren’t confident that they’re going to make a difference in their patients’ lives,” said Eliana Perrin, lead author of the study.

“Also, parents don’t recognize weight problems or don’t know how to make things better, and even if they do, there are often barriers to healthier eating or more activity for these families,” says Perrin.

As First Lady Michelle Obama‘s “Let’s Move!” campaign aims to reduce childhood obesity – almost one-third of young people are overweight – two leading questions are how to affect that change and if it can be successful.

Perrin’s study is likely the first evidence that a parent’s assessment of their child’s weight can be changed. Her study also showed improved dietary behaviors in children and reduced time playing video games or watching television, called “screen time.”

“We found something we can do to help stem the obesity epidemic,” says Perrin, whose previous research in childhood obesity has shown that using a body mass index, or BMI, chart color-coded like a traffic light helps parents understand the often confounding measurement.

Perrin’s research group trained pediatric resident physicians on how to use the color-coded BMI chart and a revision of a questionnaire called “Starting the Conversation,” originally designed by Alice Ammerman, a co-author on the study. The STC gives health care providers a snapshot of potential red flags to help counsel patients as well as tips to implement change.

Parents were asked about their children’s weight status and discussions about weight in the doctor’s office. The Starting the Conversation form used in this study was revised by Perrin and asked parents about non-healthy eating habits – frequency of sugary snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages and eating out at restaurants, as well as activity and screen time. It also asked about the parent’s readiness to change. The pediatrics residents were instructed to show parents their children’s weight status in a color-coded BMI chart and were taught to use the parents’ responses to the questionnaire to engage the parents in discussions about healthier eating behaviors and activities.

Researchers enrolled 115 children ages 4 to 12 who were covered by Medicaid or the State Health Insurance Program and repeated the Starting the Conversation questionnaire as well as questions about weight status at one-month and three-month follow-up appointments.

The study showed the most significant improvement in dietary changes among children who were overweight. At follow up, they were more likely than healthy-weight children to drink lower-fat milk and showed the largest reduction in the frequency of eating out. But overall, children improved fruit and vegetable consumption, decreased sweetened beverages and unhealthy snacks, drank lower-fat milk more and reduced screen time.

In the initial visit, all of the parents of healthy-weight children accurately perceived their child’s weight. However, only 57 percent of overweight children’s parents did so at baseline. That improved significantly to 74 percent at three month follow up.

BMI was measured and tracked and a few children became more overweight, while more reached healthier weights but no significant improvements in weight status were noted in this short study, Perrin says. “The research has to be replicated and expanded, and it must determine if improvements in parental perception of children’s weight motivates families to improve behavior and, ultimately, leads to healthier weight over time,” she says.

“Everyone’s talking about BMI and we have a lot of studies to show that parents do not see their overweight children as overweight. That often does not sink in with parents,” Perrin says. “This is the first time we’ve seen a changed perspective from parents. We hope that parents who know their children are overweight will be empowered to help them achieve healthier lifestyles that can last a lifetime.”

Source: Elements4Health

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

How to Get Better Sleep

Do headaches keep you up at night? Well, here’s how to banish that ache

Sleeping poorly may only trigger more headaches

A good night’s sleep gives you energy to face the day ahead. But when you have headaches, sleep may be elusive. Headaches may keep you from falling asleep or awaken you at night. And sleeping poorly may only trigger more headaches.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep helps you fight fatigue and stress. When a headache strikes, sleep may help relieve the pain by changing the levels of serotonin and other chemicals in your brain.

If you don’t sleep well, you may feel irritable and cranky. You may lose your patience quickly and find it difficult to concentrate. You may struggle with headaches and other physical signs and symptoms. Perhaps ironically, sleeping too much can have the same effect. If you’re vulnerable to headaches, sleeping longer than usual may only aggravate head pain.

Promoting good sleep
Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Easier said than done? These strategies can help.

Establish regular sleep hours. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day — even on weekends and holidays. Getting about the same amount of sleep every night can help keep your headaches at bay.

Nap wisely
A nap can be refreshing, but it’s not a substitute for a full night’s sleep. If you nap during the day, keep it short  15 to 30 minutes. Longer naps may interfere with nighttime sleep.

Exercise regularly
Physical activity  especially aerobic exercise as well as regular sex  can help you fall asleep faster and make your sleep more restful. The key is to exercise often. Timing is important, too. Exercising too close to bedtime can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Do Yoga  daily  under the guidance of an expart

Unwind at the end of the day
Anything that helps you relax can promote better sleep. Listen to soothing music, soak in a warm bath or read a favourite book.

Watch what you eat and drink before bedtime

A light snack may help you relax before sleeping, but a heavy meal may cause heartburn. Alcohol can aggravate headaches and make it harder to stay asleep. Caffeine and nicotine can interfere with sleep as well.

Minimise distractions

Save your bedroom for sleep and intimacy. Don’t watch television or take work materials to bed. Close your bedroom door, and use a fan to muffle distracting noises. Drink less before bed to avoid nighttime trips to the toilet.

Keep the temperature comfortable

It may be difficult to sleep in a room that’s too warm or too cold.

Don’t try to sleep
The harder you try to sleep, the more awake you’ll feel. If you can’t fall asleep within 15 minutes, get up. Read or do another quiet activity until you become drowsy.

Source: The Times Of India