Doctor's Corner


Healthy Eating For Children

by Hae Kyong Nelson, MD

Staying healthy should be a life long goal, and it is important to put your child on the right path early on. It is easier to improve a child’s eating habits if changes are made before school-age. Gradual changes to improve eating and exercise habits can have a huge impact on your child’s health. Studies have also shown a direct correlation to the amount of TV viewing to obesity in children. Better results will be seen if the entire family participates in these healthy habits.

We encourage the following:
• Family participation
• Exercising daily (especially walking)
• Gradual change of eating habits
• Maintenance or gradual loss of weight
• Minimizing TV viewing to less than 2 hours a day

We do NOT recommend the following:
• Significant weight loss
• Diuretics, diet pills, or radical diets
• Punishment for weight gain or overeating
• Disparaging/negative remarks
• Skipping meals

Healthy eating includes:
• 3 meals a day
• 2-3 snacks a day
• Smaller portions
• Eating slowly
• Eating at the table with family
• Avoiding desserts

Foods and habits that should be avoided or gradually eliminated:
• Caffeine and sweetened beverages
• Deep fried foods/fast foods
• Chocolate/sweets
• Butter
• Eating out
• Eating when bored
• Eating in front of the TV
• Excess Snacks

General food recommendations:
• Baked, broiled, and grilled meats
• Steamed and heated vegetables
• Fruits
• Water, 2% milk or skim
• Wheat or rye bread
• Butter substitutions

Healthy snacks:
• Popcorn (no butter)
• Pretzels
• Raisins
• Fruits
• Carrot/celery sticks with low fat dressing
• Rice cakes (caramel ones are actually good)
• Jello cups
• Low-fat yogurt (great dessert substitute)

Healthy habits to prevent obesity:
• Family meals
• Breastfeeding
• 5 fruits/vegetables a day
• Low fat dairy products
• High fiber
• Eat breakfast
• Preparing food at home
• Drink water
• >30 minutes of physical activity everyday


Summer Safety Tips 

by Hae Kyong Nelson, MD

• Your child should always wear a helmet when riding a bike/scooter, skateboarding, rollerblading, etc.
• The helmet should meet CPSC safety standards (look for the label).
• Make sure their helmet fits securely and will not come off when fastened.
• You should never reuse a helmet after a serious fall but replace it with a new helmet.

Sun Safety
• All children should limit their exposure to the sun.
• The time of the day with the greatest amount of sunlight 10am-4pm.
• Children should always use sunscreen with UVB and UVA protection and make sure that it is greater than 15 SPF.
• Sunscreen should be used by all children over 6 months of age on all exposed parts of the body. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before exposure and reapplied every 2 hours.
• Any child under 6 months should stay out of direct sunlight. If your child is under 6 months of age, he/she should be covered in protective clothing and kept in the shade. The child may also have SMALL amounts of sunscreen applied to their face and the back of their hands and arms.

Insect Repellant
• If your child is over 2 months in age, you may apply insect repellant when outside.
• The repellant should be less than 30% DEET, and you should avoid reapplying unless necessary.
• A child should always wash the insect rep all off with soap and water after using the product.
• Always avoid spraying the repellant onto the face or areas with cuts or wounds.
• You should also avoid scented products or wearing bright colors. These things attract bugs!

Water Safety
• There should be a 4 foot tall fence around all pools.
• You should NEVER leave your child alone in the water, even for a brief moment.
• Learning to swim at a young age does not decrease the risk of drowning.
• All children on boats or water sports equipment MUST wear a life jacket.