Tag Archives: nutrition

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

Fat Kids, Sick Hearts? (Article)

 

 

 

Information keeps rolling in from the medical community that being obese as a child is bad for a child’s health, especially their cardiovascular system. In fact, a recently published study from Germany documented that obese German children had, on average, have higher levels of blood pressure, more fats in their blood, higher blood sugar and insulin levels, and thicker heart muscles. None of this is good news for these children. Each of these parameters predicts future trouble.

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Probiotic Promises Deliver (Article)

For years, researchers have felt that some species of bacteria introduced into the stomachs of children make their immune systems stronger and better able to fend off illness. As a group, these microbes are termed probiotic. A few years ago, physicians in Israel put this theory to the test and found that, indeed, some types of bacteria (Lactobacillus Reuteri and Bifidobacterium lactis) did make young children more able to fight off gastrointestinal viral infections. Recently, in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics, we now have good evidence that children on this side of the Atlantic get benefit from the same type of healthy probiotic bacteria.


Dr. Pedro Gutierrez-Castrellon, MD, DSc studied 336 children attending daycare in Mexico City. The study was designed well, being randomly assigned, double blinded, and placebo controlled. Studies designed this way generally yield accurate results, and indeed, the results were dramatic. Children who received the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus Reuteri had very dramatic improvement in the following health measures: the number of days with diarrhea or respiratory illness was reduced among the treatment group by a whooping 66%; antibiotic use, days absent from daycare, and number of visits to a healthcare facility were also significantly reduced. What is not to love about probiotics for children?! We now have two well designed studies coming to the same conclusion: certain types of probiotics improve the health of young children.


Integrative pediatricians have been telling us for years that probiotics and cultured/fermented foods, loaded with bacteria and other microbes, improve the health of both children and adults. This latest study proves that they were right. It is time that we stop looking at all microbes as our enemies and learn how to harness the incredible power of some of earth’s smallest creatures. For more on this fascinating subject, take a few minutes and listen to integrative pediatrician Sheila Kilbane talk about the power of probiotics on an archived DocSmo.com:


http://www.docsmo.com/probiotics-update-with-dr-sheila-kilbane-pedcast/


Your comments are welcome!  Until next time.

Written by Paul Smolen M.D.


Smo Notes:

1. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/03/11/peds.2013-0652

2.   http://www.italchimici.net/Docs_library/Weizman%20probiot%20comparison_Lr%2005.pdf

Children: Eating Themselves Sick ? (Pedcast)

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Dr. Paul Smolen here. Welcome to this week’s edition of docsmo.com, a pediatric podcast dedicated to helping parents and children by bringing you timely accurate health information. Today we are going to talk about an emerging disease… not an emerging infectious disease but one that clearly comes back to lifestyle choices. A newly recognized, silent liver disease (hepatitis) is spreading across America among children that is called NASH or non alcoholic steatohepatitis. While the cause is not fully understood, the injury to these children’s livers seems to be associated with an excess intake of food, calories and high fructose corn syrup so common in our diets. Yes, these children seem to be literally eating themselves into a seriously poor health. Their excess consumption of food seems to cause the normal red brown healthy liver tissue to be replaced with yellow fatty sick liver tissue. Recent studies estimate that 1 out of every 10 children in the United States, or more than 7 million children, have fatty liver disease, the first step in the progression to the development of NASH and possibly irreversible cirrhosis or scarring of liver. A cirrhotic liver has had the healthy liver cells replaced with scar tissue…a liver that simply cannot keep a child growing and healthy. Unfortunately, once a liver has become cirrhotic, there is no going back to healthy.

Here is what experts are currently thinking is behind this newly recognized liver disease: a major excess intake of certain foods  first triggers the development of a fatty liver, followed by a type of hepatitis called NASH, and finally for some unfortunate children, cirrhosis. All of this can occur without symptoms. Currently about 40% of obese children (those with a BMI greater than 30) seem to be afflicted with fatty livers and possibly the more serious NASH or cirrhosis. Mexican-American children seem to be unusually susceptible, while interestingly, African American children seem to be more protected from the disease.

Based on current knowledge, many experts suggest the following:

1.  Children who are obese should have blood testing to check their liver function as well as the other related conditions such as diabetes, and elevated blood cholesterol.

2.  If a child is found to have abnormal liver function tests, weight loss through diet and exercise is imperative.

3.  Vitamin E supplement as well as a diet rich in green leafy vegetables seems to help reduce the liver inflammation.

4.  Elimination of foods produced with high fructose corn syrup may also help.

If your child struggles with their weight, the emergence of NASH is yet another reason to make some radical life changes for the sake of their health. Remember that DocSmo pearl, Grandma didn’t waste her time telling us things that weren’t important… eat your spinach!

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. From studio 1E, this is Doc Smo, hoping your family makes a quick DASH to avoid foods that might cause NASH. Until next time.

Smo Notes;

1.Wang,Shirley, Fatty Liver: More Prevalent in Children, Wall Street journal, September 9th, 2013 http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB1000142412788732454900457906490305169278 – See more at: http://www.docsmo.com/are-our-children-eating-themselves-to-poor-liver-health-article/#sthash.RVvP38sh.dpuf 

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