Nutrition

Why Vitamin K for Newborns You Ask? (Article)

 

Ask any mother or grandmother who was alive 1900, and they would tell you about a disorder that is rarely seen today, that of Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding (VKDB) in a newborn baby. A simple single dose of vitamin K, given to almost all babies born in the U.S., made this disease just a bad memory… until recently. Parents today just don’t worry about this disease anymore but imagine you were a mother who had a perfectly normal pregnancy and delivery, had a healthy infant who was thriving at home, and suddenly at about 2 months of age, they had a devastating bleeding event in their brain with seizure and other devastating effects or began bleeding to death from a gastrointestinal hemorrhage. Unfortunately, in today’s hyper informed world, many parents have become more worried about theoretical risks of harm to their newborn from a simple dose of vitamin K that is recommended for newborns at birth, than the known risk of hemorrhagic disease in a newborn who don’t receive this therapy.

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News; Cavities Rising among Children (Article)

 

For decades, the teeth of children in America have been getting stronger and more resistant to decay, until recently. Repairing dental decay in children was one of the mainstays of dentistry until the turn of the century. With the advent of fluoridated water and toothpaste, better dental care, and parents ensuring good dental hygiene, the age of cavities in children’s teeth was rapidly coming to a close. I remember just 20 years ago, hearing my pediatric dental colleagues complaining they had nothing to do without children getting cavities. They were either morphing into orthodontists or going out of business.

 

But here we go again. In the past ten years, dentists have begun to notice an uptick in the number of children with cavities, enough so, that the American Dental Association recently began recommending topical fluoride toothpaste be used in children under age three years of age. Prior to this new recommendation, fluoride toothpaste was forbidden for young children because of the fear that they would get too much fluoride in the enamel of their teeth, a condition known as fluorosis. Fluoride toothpastes have a lot of fluoride and if a young child eats the toothpaste, this can overload their teeth with this mineral, turning their teeth to a brown color. But experts have recently decided that a very small amount of fluoride toothpaste topically put on a young child’ s teeth is very unlikely to cause fluorosis and very likely to make dental decay more unlikely in children.

 

So the great fluoride debate continues, with the pendulum swinging back toward limited topical fluoride use as soon as a child’s teeth erupt.  But I have a better idea. I believe that if parents would eliminate almost all snacks, give their children water instead of any juices (even diluted) or sugary drinks, and stop giving them gummy and other sugar containing vitamins, dental decay would again, disappear. I believe if these things happened, we wouldn’t be having the need for this new ADA recommendation. But what do I know?

 

I welcome your comments on my blog, www.docsmo.com. If you have dental stories or other ideas how to improve our children’s dental health, fire away. Join the conversation. If you are a pediatric dentist, please give us your perspective. Until next time.

Childhood Nutrition Improving in U.S. (Article)

Finally some good news about childhood nutrition in the United States; children are eating more fruit! Recently published statistics from the Center for Disease Control show the daily intake of fruit by U.S. children has increased by 67% in the past 10 years. Even better, a drastic shift has occurred between the amount of fruit juice consumed and actual whole fruits. Fruit juice has seen a 30% decline in consumption, and whole fruit consumption increased proportionally. This is an important trend since dieticians and nutritionists strongly recommend a child consume whole fruit instead of fruit juices to lower the child’s sugar intake and afford them the full benefit of other nutrients found in whole fruit.

 

Other news in the same report is not as encouraging–even though fruit juice consumption is down and whole fruit consumption has risen among US children, diets among children remain critically deficient in both whole fruits and especially vegetables. The Vital Signs study, conducted by the CDC, revealed that children still aren’t reaching the ideal level of fruit intake, and vegetable intake is looking even more dismal. Though fruit intake doubled during the study period, only 40% of children were getting the recommended fruit intake and a dismal 7% were getting the recommended vegetable intake. Vegetables and fruits supply vital nutrients to a developing child, ensuring that they grow healthy and strong.

 

So how do we continue to improve healthy eating habits in today’s children? Since 60 million kids spend much of every day in schools and daycares, the CDC recommends that these institutions begin implementing healthier eating options as a force for change. The CDC suggests that school districts and childcare centers begin training their food preparation workers on ways to make fruits and vegetables more tasty, and provide educational nutritional programs that make fruits and vegetables fun. Ultimately, a child’s parents play the most critical role in encouraging the consumption of vegetables. If parents committed themselves to eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables themselves, involving their children in shopping for whole food, teaching their children how to cook, and involving them in growing their own produce, many of the problems we see with the terrible diet many American children eat would quickly become a bad memory. Let your kids get their hands in some dirt, learn to shop for fresh produce, and sauté some vegetables, so they can be healthy eaters!

Your comments are welcome at www.docsmo.com. Until next time.

 

Smo Notes:

1.http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/weeklyquestion/l/blask_050802.htm

  1. http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2014/p0805-fruits-vegetables.html

Written collaboratively by Keri Register and Paul Smolen M.D.

 

Sugar in Children’s Cereals (Article)

We all know that children love sugar. Children burn a lot of fuel because of their near-constant need to run around. Maybe sugar provides them with the necessary fuel to keep moving? Could this insatiable craving have biologic roots? Quite possibly, this the reason. Unfortunately in a culture like ours, where sugar is easy to get and plentiful, the rate of type 1 and 2 diabetes, obesity, and other metabolic disorders among children continues to rise. When a child’s craving for sugar coincides easy availability, trouble begins. Nowhere is that more evident than on the cereal aisle of any grocery store in the US.

Recently, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington DC health information non-profit, analysed 181 cereals marketed toward children and found them very high in sugar; on average, children’s cereals were more than 40% sweeter than adult cereals. The EWG estimates that if a child eats one serving of children’s cereal daily, they will eat 10 pounds of sugar annually. Ironically, they found that the cereal highest in sugar per serving was Kellogg’s Sugar Smacks. At least The Kellogg’s Company gave this cereal an accurate name.

As a society, we are finally beginning to realize just how destructive allowing children to consume large amounts of sugar is. Grandma instinctively new when sugar crept into the diet of Americans in the twentieth century that this would be harmful to children. Turns out she was right. Soda, candies, and sweetened cereals in large amounts lead to obesity and many other long-term health problems among children.

How do we promote healthier eating among today’s children? At a minimum, parents need to have access to non-deceptive food labels that give them accurate estimates of how much sugar their children will be getting from their children’s breakfast cereal. Telling parents that a box of cereal has 24 servings really doesn’t help them figure out how much sugar their child will be getting at breakfast, does it? Neither does not revealing how much extra added sugar has been put in a food during production. I think manufacturers of food marketed toward children should carefully study the history of tobacco marketing in the US. If they did, they would voluntarily stop the aggressive marketing of their product directly to children before society forces them to cease the practice.

As always, your comments are welcome on my blog, www.docsmo.com.  Until next time.

Smo Notes:

1.  http://www.ewg.org/research/childrens-cereals