Welcome to another installment of DocSmo.com, also known as Women and Children First podcast. I’ve taken a hiatus from weekly posts for the past year but I haven’t stopped exploring pediatrics and parenting. Today, I’m going to review a new book by Dr. Sheila Kilbane called “Healthy Kids, Happy Moms”. Those of you who are long time DocSmo.com followers will recognize Dr. Kilbane’s name as she has been a frequent guest on my podcast in the past. Her interviews have been very popular. Now, she has stepped up to being a published author/educator. If after reading my comments you are interested in getting a copy of her book, buy it with the link provided in this post and help support DocSmo.com. You will get Amazon’s best price and a they will throw a few cents to support my blog.
Purpose of Book
Dr. Kilbane has told me numerous times in the past that she is trying to change American pediatric healthcare. After reading Healthy Kids, Happy Moms, I now understand what she meant; a new paradigm to providing health guidance for children with common chronic medical problems. Dr. Kilbane seems to be getting in on the ground level of change by adopting a wider view of disease in children. A quick Amazon book search only revealed two other books with an “Integrative” approach to pediatric medicine. Readers with children suffering from various chronic diseases will benefit most from her writing, introducing the basic concepts of integrative medicine to readers and providing parents with a roadmap to recovery. The topics most discussed are ones all too familiar to parents of young children; chronic constipation, eczema, asthma, food allergies, and recurring ear infections. As she points out, the percentage of children suffering from one of these disorders has been steadily increasing. HKHM says it’s time to try a new approach and presents a clear roadmap to doing so.
Characteristics of Book
Dr. Kilbane has done her homework not only in the research she presents in her book, but also in its presentation. I found the graphics easily understandable and pleasing to the eye. By using the same color scheme throughout the book, the reader is gently introduced to a lot of material in a cohesive way. As I read HKHM, I never felt overwhelmed. Dr. Kilbane’s storytelling ability and her revelations about her own health struggles during childhood, add a pleasing intimacy to her book. The strongest adjectives I can use to describe HKHMs are informative, practical, and well presented.
Providers of healthcare are in the business of offering advice and treatments that is intended to help mitigate or prevent disease. This is our core mission. Pediatricians, whether integrative like Dr. Kilbane or traditionally trained like myself, come at children’s health problems with a set of beliefs and assumptions that evolve and change over time. Take for instance the recent revelation that the treating of young children’s ear infections with antibiotics may have long term negative consequence for the health. Similarly, could today’s anti-inflammatory diet become tomorrow’s nutrient deficient one? I don’t know. While I believe that integrative medicine has moved healthcare advice in the right direction and that much of what they advocate has proven correct, ten years from now we may look back at some of today’s recommendations and see that such advice was shortsighted or not appropriate for all children.
HKHM presents a number of emerging theories as if they are facts, specifically inflammation underpinning all chronic disease, process foods causing leaky gut, and processed food being the proximate cause of damaging inflammation in a child’s body. While these theories may hold up to the test of time, there is a chance that they may not. I feel like this is important for parents to keep in mind as they make decisions about their children’s diet.
And finally, like so much of healthcare, I think its practitioners often over promise results of their advice and under estimate the expense and time commitment required for families to adopt a new lifestyle. Additionally, the natural history of many of the chronic conditions Dr. Kilbane focuses on is improvement and disappearance with time, making it all the more difficult to determine whether it’s the integrative approach is actually working or simply the tincture of time.
HKHM is a well written, engaging book for parents who are looking for an integrative health approach (primarily dietary) to their children’s well-being. For those parents looking for an alternative approach to many of pediatrics most common chronic health problems, this is a valuable and practical resource. I hope it is well read by today’s parents. The science and recommendations are presented in a clear and understandable fashion. In summary, parents who have children with many chronic common health problems and who are willing to embark on a course of elimination diets and supplements, will derive great benefit from this book. I give it 5/5 Doc Smo stars.
Dr. Paul Smolen “Docsmo”
Link to Book: Healthy Kids, Happy Moms