New Insights About Obese Children (Pedcast)

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Introduction

I was lucky enough to be riding my bike on a beautiful fall day recently when my “Biking friends” and I passed a soccer field of one of the private schools in Charlotte. The school was at the top of a hill so we stopped for a moment to rest and watch the kids play on the playground.  Two things immediately struck me as we watched the children– first, the diversity of the racial backgrounds of the kids on that field. I think of the forty or so children out on the field running around, every ethnic group was represented, all playing with one another without any apparent animosity or segregation.  I found that very refreshing and encouraging.  The other thing I noticed was that there was not one child on the field who was overweight–not one!  This is not the norm in America these days where  35% of children are now overweight and 20% are obese. So in today’s pedcast, I thought we might do a thought experiment to see if we can explain why these children seem to be different than the average group of kids in America today; why weren’t there overweight and obese kids on that playground? Continue reading

Super Baby Food (Book Review Pedcast)

Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

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Voice introduction

Welcome. I’m your host Dr. Paul Smolen, a board certified pediatrician with 35 years of practice and a whole lot to say. I created Portable Practical Pediatrics to bring you good reliable information about things that I thought would help this generation of parents and grandparents raise healthy children. Reviewing and telling you about contemporary parenting books has become a big part of that mission. In that vein, I want to tell you about a book that you might find very useful when it comes time to feed your infants and toddlers, especially if you have never done this before. The whole process of directing your infant’s diet from milk to solid foods can be daunting. Read much about this subject and young parents can quickly become very confused. I think that is where the book Super Baby Food, by Ruth Yaron comes in.  In today’s pedcast, I am going to introduce you to this book and tell you how I think it might be a useful guide to help feed your infants and toddlers. So, let’s get started shall we? Continue reading

Computers Taking the Care Out of Healthcare? (Pedcast)

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Opinions expressed in this pedcast are solely my own!

Introduction

Ever wonder why so many doctors today have such negative attitudes about their jobs, why so many are retiring early, and why so many wouldn’t want their children becoming doctors. I thought becoming a doctor was synonymous with success? So why are these highly successful people, today’s doctors, not smiling? One word, computers.   Specifically, I am talking about the introduction of the electronic medical record, also called EMR, into their daily lives.  Say the letters EMR to most doctors today in the US, and stand back– you will get a very strong emotional response.  Today, a pediatrician’s day is spent almost entirely with a computer screen and keyboard. Because of this sad fact, I am going to do something that I have never done before in my six years of blogging, I am going to weigh in on some of the choices our governmental leaders, our computer scientists, our insurance executives, and our pharmaceutical executives have made in shaping today’s healthcare system. I want to pull back the curtain a little and let my listeners get a feel for what today’s pediatricians are up against as they go about their day to day jobs and maybe start a conversation about improving things. Continue reading

Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunization (Book Review Pedcast)

Parent’s Guide to Childhood Immunization

Written and Published by the US Department of Health and Human Services/ Center for Disease Control

August 2015

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Introduction

Interest in vaccine safety has been, and continues to be, a hot topic with parents and the media. Unfortunately, from where I sit, the AAP and others professional organizations have been missing in action when it comes to mounting an effective media campaign to educate parents and counter much of the misinformation parents are exposed to. I have been to professional meetings where my pediatrician colleagues have stood up and railed at our professional organization for not being very visible in this important debate. Given that as background, it was of great interest when I came across a new handbook, written and published by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC, laying out the facts including vaccine safety.  Maybe as the number of outbreaks of measles, whooping cough, and mumps continue to climb, organizations like these will put more effort toward countering the messaging from people and organizations that are opposed to vaccines.  I actually think this beginning to happen since many state legislatures, public health groups, and even the AAP have been becoming more public about their support for vaccines. My guess is that it will take at least five positive vaccine messages to counter the unrealistic fear that one negative message about vaccines can create. Multiple positive messages from multiple reliable sources, on an ongoing basis, are what are needed. That’s why is this handbook is significant in my opinion so let’s get into the details of my review. Continue reading