Setting Goals with Your Kids for a Healthy 2018

Why should you set goals with your kids for a healthy 2018? What does “healthy 2018” even mean? This article will open your eyes to stuff you either were oblivious to or nonchalant about. Childhood obesity rates increase every year in the United States. Despite all the government programs and media efforts to push weight loss for kids, this problem is getting larger and larger.

What many haven’t figured out is that you can’t push the responsibility onto the government, schools or the fast food industry. Responsibility starts at home, with parents – with you!

It’s evident that as a parent, you love your kids and you want what’s best for them. But in many cases, parents just don’t know how to give them the best. Weight loss, even for kids, is a step by step process.

It can be done, but not overnight. If you are serious about helping your kids to be healthier, then you must be willing to make lifestyle changes for the whole family. So how do you make lifestyle changes for your family? By setting goals! Here are ways you can set goals with your kid for a healthy 2018.

Setting Goals with your Kids for a Healthy 2018

Setting Goals with your Kids for a Healthy 2018


Consult Your Pediatrician

The first thing you should do is consult your pediatrician and let them know you want to make a lifestyle change for your kids. Seek advice and information about how to live a healthy life. Your Doctor should have practical and important tips to get you started.


Come up with a Realistic Plan

After getting professional advice from your pediatrician, you must come up with a plan. It is best to write it down, with perhaps some goals, study after study show that written goals increase chances for success dramatically.


Research the Best Foods and Exercises for Your Kids

It is good to do your own research as well. Find out what foods are necessary and beneficial for your kids. Find out how many calories they should be consuming every day. Learn about the ingredients in the foods you eat. Are they healthy or harmful? Search for a list of fun kids exercises to keep them active. It doesn’t take that long to find out this information.


Change Yourself

The hardest thing for parents to come to terms with is that for their child to be healthy, they will also need to be healthy too. Parents are a child’s number one role model. They will eat what you eat and do what you do.

It’s not fair for parents to eat a bag of M&M’s and not offer any to their children. The same is true for exercise. For them to want to change they will have to see a change in you.


Have Health-Related Discussions with Your Kids

Sitting down with your children and talking about health is very beneficial. Explain the wrong food choices you’ve made and let them know that for you all to live long, healthy lives you must make different decisions. Together, come up with a Healthy Habits Goal Sheet. Create a chart to record your progress. Encourage your child along the way.


Employ the Reward System

Whenever you do make your goals, celebrate them. Celebrating with a dessert or a fattening dinner is typical. Instead, celebrate with a fun day trip or take them somewhere they’ve wanted to go. Express to them how proud you are, and they will feel good about their progress.


Healthy Habits for kids is possible and will benefit them the rest of their lives. Childhood obesity doesn’t have to continue growing. If you are willing to take charge, make changes, and enjoy a healthy 2018 with your kids, following the tips above is all you need to do.

How to Keep Your Kids Healthy this Flu Season

As flu season is steadily approaching, many parents are particularly concerned about the wellbeing of their children. Kids, in particular, are quite vulnerable to flu because their immune system can get weaker as we face often drastic weather changes from summer to the fall. If you live in a big city, exposure to flu contaminants and other people can even further increase the risk.

If you are looking for the best way to protect your kids, read on to find out more about how you can keep your kids as healthy as possible during the flue season!

Prompt them to wash their hands.

Hygiene is the most important step to fight the flu or other illnesses. Encourage your children to wash their hands as often as they can throughout the day, particularly if they have been on public transportation or while at school.

Eat plenty of fruit and veggies.

Good nutrition and a balanced diet will help fortify the immune system and prevent the flu. Get your kids to eat plenty of fruits, particularly anything with plenty of vitamin C, such as grapefruit or oranges! Bananas, which are rich in potassium and fiber, will also offer a lot of beneficial nutrients!

Get your kids vaccinated

If possible, get your child vaccinated for this season’s flu. This will give your child the immune boost needed to help fight off the disease. Flu shots are a yearly habit for many people, and they’re a safe way to get rid of seasonal bugs.

Watch that cough!

A single cough could release thousands of bacteria and germs in the air, some of which might be able to spread the flu to people nearby. Always make sure you teach your child about proper cough etiquette, and tell them to keep a certain distance from people who seem to be coughing or ill.

Follow these tips and good luck navigating Flu Season!

Creative ways to keep your kids hydrated this summer

Summer is a truly amazing time. It allows children to experience the outdoors and parents to spend a little more time playing with them, helping them grow and discover the world. However, the summer heat also brings forth an unsuspecting danger than many people overestimate:


Especially when they are really young, children can be affected by the symptoms of dehydration very quickly. Just a couple of hours of play time under the hot sun could indeed already produce dangerous effects, such as a general sense of weakness, dizziness or headaches, among other signs that your kids might be exposed to too much heat and too little water.

In order to understand how to prevent dehydration, it might be useful for you to gain a clearer understanding of what it actually really is. Essentially, this is what happens when a human body doesn’t have as much water as it needs. About 60% of the human body actually consists of water, and when we are not able to stay consistently hydrated, some issues might arise. Naturally, we lose liquids every single day through a wide variety of process, ranging from peeing to secreting tears and even saliva and sweat. The weather will have a really significant impact on the amount of water we lose, with heat causing us to dehydrate much faster. For children, keeping their liquid intake consistent is even more important, since their constitution relies on it even more so than a fully developed adult.

How can you keep your kids hydrated? The obvious solutions are to give them enough to drink and make sure they don’t spend a lot of time directly exposed to the heat of the sun without any proper protection or time to chill in the shade. However, there are many other fun ways and strategies that will help you keep your kids hydrated, without making them feel like you are constantly worried, hovering over them and watching their every step. The trick is to turn hydration into a game, or in some cases, into a fun treat!

– A fun alternative to water: Water is a great and primary source of hydration, but sometimes, you could spice it up by offering your kids a nice, healthy treat. Coconut water is a particularly great alternative. It makes for a sweet, refreshing drink that also has the extra bonus of being full of electrolytes, particularly calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Think of it as nature’s sports drink! 

-Coconut water is not your only healthy, natural alternative to offer something nutritious to your kids: make them a nice fruit juice or smoothie, which will help keep them hydrated, with the extra benefit of giving them all those vitamins and fiber that make fruit and veggies really important for any kid’s (or anyone else’s) diet.  If you want to up the ante a little bit, make the drinking more fun with some cool straws or mini cocktail umbrellas! Kids will look forward to enjoying their hydrating treat even more.

– Fresh Fruit is a great everday hydrator! Fruit like watermelon, apples and grapes are made of mostly water, not to mention the healthy benefit of eating fresh whole foods!

– Feeling a little extra indulgent and in the mood for something sweet? Even an icicle, a slush or a snow-cone helps hydration, Just keep the sweets as special treat rather than an option to use on a regular basis.

If you see your kids energy level or their lips chapping then you know your starting to lose the hydration battle.  Stay ahead of the game by using these suggestions  – your kids will feel great all day!

Can Sugar in a Child’s Diet Trigger Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease?

One of the things, I truly love about becoming a nurse and working in the healthcare profession, is that it is constantly evolving and researching ways to improve the health of people like you and me.  We that are your healthcare professionals are constantly challenging conventional wisdom and thinking, as well as, reevaluating traditional treatment modalities.

This type of thinking can result in some fantastic discoveries, which can alter how diseases are treated and managed. A recent example to this is the research that has taken place with gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as, GERD. For years (approximately 80 to be exact) the healthcare community have been lead to believe that this digestive disorder was caused by stomach acids backing up into the esophagus. This can result in burning, irritation and even damage to your esophagus. However, a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) appears to be questioning this line of thinking. The research from this study seems to suggest that the damage caused by GERD is not the result of stomach acid entering the esophagus. The study proposes that the damage caused by GERD is a result of an inflammatory response prompted by cytokines, which are inflammatory messenger proteins.

The researchers took a group of 12 men who were on proton pump inhibitors to use as their sample group. Proton Pump inhibitors, otherwise known as PPI’s, is a medication that reduces the amount of acids produced in the stomach.  When you have less acids produced in the stomach you diminish the harmful effects (the burning, the irritation, and the damage). 

The men were asked to stop taking their PPI’s for 2 weeks. The researchers expected to see a resumption in the symptoms.  What the researchers did find, however, is that in 11 of the 12 men, there was changes in the esophagus. The change in the lining of the esophagus was not indicative of burns (which is what the researchers expected).  What they discovered is that the esophagus was stimulated by the stomach acid, to produce cytokines. This led to the beginning of a cascade of inflammatory processes which led back to the disease.

Their research concluded that it is not the stomach acid that is causing the problem but rather it is the cytokine messengers. They believe that the development of GERD is cytokine-mediated and not the result of chemical injury.

So now, you might be asking the question, “why is this finding and change in thinking so important?” Well, the answer is that it tells the medical community that we might be placing our focus in the wrong area.  When you consider that this is a disease that affects millions of people, this could be huge.  Perhaps, we need to place our focus on cytokine blockers and inflammation since this appears to be the catalyst to the development of this disease.

Why should we reduce cytokines?

The problem with cytokines is that when activated, they drives chronic, low-grade inflammation process. This type of inflammation is linked to certain diseases such as Diabetes,

Cancer ‘and Heart Disease.  In regards to the link between cytokines and GE Reflux Disease, we certainly need to see more research, to justify changing our treatment modalities but it does sound promising.

So, the question you might ask at this point is, what if additional research does prove that cytokines are the cause of the damaging effects of GERD?  What would be the next step? The next step would probably be to find ways to lower their presence in your body. And that would not be hard to do, considering there are cytokine blockers currently in use to treat some of our most formidable inflammatory diseases, such as, Arthritis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s) and Psoriasis. Some clinical trial leaning in that direction might prove them to be effective against GERD. To the medical community and sufferers of this disease, this is exciting news! 

So, what could you do in the meantime? Well, your healthcare professionals at have several suggestions to offer. One way you can help your child is by lowering their intake of sugar.  It is sugar that triggers the release of cytokines.  You can also increase your intake of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. If taking omega-3 supplements aggravates your child’s reflux (which has been known to happen in some cases) you can always eat foods rich in omega-3. Meals containing salmon, mackerel, trout, albacore tuna, and sardines two or three times a week would be adequate. And, of course, with GERD you want to avoid highly acid foods (oranges, lemons, tomatoes, etc.) and spicy foods.


Dunbar KB, et al. JAMA. 2016;315(19):2104-112.

Five Best Foods to Give Children Before they Exercise

Physical exercise is very important for children. It helps them develop their body-motion coordination and their physical strength. In addition to that, exercising can also have positive mental effects on kids. Sports and other forms of training have indeed been found to increase positivity and self-esteem, as well as help children develop their intellect and cognitive skills. As they say, “a healthy mind in a healthy body!”

Even though exercise is obviously very important, the right nutrition is absolutely vital. In some cases, physical activity without good nutrition can actually produce adverse effects and cause problems that can lead to dangerous health issues. For instance, dehydration is a very common problem among kids who practice sports and fail to drink plenty of water. Diets that are low in iron can also cause energy drops and a general sense of weakness. In this article, we will explore 5 different foods that are particularly great for children, before they exercise!


This fruit is easy to find and inexpensive, but it packs a lot of amazing nutrients and health benefits. A banana is a full of minerals, such as potassium, which has a really positive effect on the body. Electrolytes and vitamins also aid to the energy-efficiency and nutritional perks of the banana! This fruit is also sweet and tasty, which makes it easy for most children to quickly eat it without complaining!


Oats are absolutely perfect to add some fiber to any diet. They are a slow-release source of carbs, which means they deliver some energy that doesn’t “burn out” quickly and suddenly, but provides more overtime fuel! Besides the ability to provide consistent energy levels, oats are also rich in B vitamins!

Wholegrain Bread:

Wholegrain bread is excellent as a source of carbs, and it can easily be turned into delicious and healthy sandwiches. Eating a huge sub before a workout might not be the best idea, especially for a child, but a small to medium-sized sandwich can actually offer a lot of nutrients and energy. For instance, wholegrain slices can be enjoyed with peanut butter, which is a source of protein, as well as hard-boiled eggs and even turkey (for some lean, high-energy protein) and cheese.


High quality, sugar-free (if possible) yogurt is a great pre-work out food, especially for kids. Yogurt features active bacterial cultures, which are highly beneficial for the body. In addition to that, yogurt is also a great source of protein, and it can be paired up with other ingredients for maximum nutritious punch…and improved taste! For instance, you can add a generous serving of blueberries and add some honey to boost the amount of vitamins and anti-oxidants. You could even sprinkle some whole-grain cereals. This will not only augment the yogurt pre-workout snack with a delicious crunch, but it will also add a nice amount of carbs and fiber! The dream combo? Greek yogurt with whole-wheat flakes, blueberries and honey!

Water and lemon:

Drinking water is very, very important, because children should always stay hydrated before and after workouts. Add some lemon juice to improve the quenching effect and the intake of vitamins!
Take these tips with you on your next trip to the store and your kids will feel, perform and recover at a higher level.

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Youth Football

Participating in sports is an amazing experience for children and young people. Sports engage the body as well as the mind in a very comprehensive way. However, there might be certain risks involved, including injuries and in some cases, even stress and depression. A sport such as football is extremely popular, but are the benefits truly worth facing the risks?

Parents are often fearful or hesitant when their kids express a desire to play contact sports: concussions and accidents are every mom and dad’s nightmare! Sport-related injuries are indeed a focus of ongoing debate in the healthcare industry, and effort are consistently being made in order to help people get familiar with issues commonly associated with concussions.  It is also important to recognize the amazing advancements that have been made with equipment and even artificial surfaces designed to reduce impact injuries without compromising performance.

However, although concussions might be dangerous, they are easy to manage and prevent with the proper precautions, including utilizing proper sportswear, as well as simply raising awareness on the issue.

Don’t let the headlines scare you: the risk of injuries is inherent with being a child.  Regardless of what they do, children can get hurt, as its in their nature to explore their own limits and the world around them. Sometimes, they are bound to take some missteps! The world of youth football and other contact sports is no more or less dangerous than any other sport or outdoors activities, and there are many incredible benefits in playing youth football.Such benefits include improved coordination, mobility and fitness, but also other perks on a personal and educational level. Being a part of a team, or a social group is a great life lesson, as well as remaining focused on the game’s development and rules! 

Talk with your doctor, friends who have kids in football and other trusted sources to make a decision that is right for your family!

How to Keep Your Kids Safe from the Zika Virus US Outbreak!

Zika virus!  Zika virus! All this fuss about the Zika virus.  You hear it on the news shows, hospitals are screening incoming patients about their recent travel destinations and on and on.  So, this blog is an attempt to inform you of what you need to know about this virus.  Zika virus is a member of the Flaviviridae and is transmitted by a daytime- active mosquitos.  It originated from the Zika Forest of Uganda were the virus was first isolated in 1947. Since the 1950’s, there had been evidence of its presence along a narrow equatorial belt stretching from Africa to Asia. Sometime between 2013 and 2014, the virus spread across the Pacific Ocean. In 2015, Zika outbreaks had reached pandemic proportions in South America, Central America and Mexico.

Zika fever, which is the disease caused by this virus, is primarily contracted through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito that spread this virus will bite either daytime or night.  They will typically bite someone who is infected with the virus and then bite someone who has not been infected.  The virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her fetus during pregnancy.

Fever, rash, conjunctivitis (redness to the eyes) and joint pain are the common symptoms. These symptoms can last up to a week in duration and are mild in severity. Statistically, 1 in 5 persons infected with this virus will become sick. And because the symptoms are so mild, many that are infected will not realize they have been infected. Most recently, however (February 2016), there appears to be evidence that this virus in pregnant mothers can cause abnormal brain development in their fetuses which can result in miscarriages and microcephaly (small, underdeveloped brain).

As of 2016, there are no drugs or vaccine to treat this disease. Treating the symptoms and rest is the course of action you should take if you find yourself infected by this virus. Since there are no drugs or vaccines to treat this disease, prevention is the best defense and there are several steps that can be implemented.  

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. This spray can be applied on the clothing, as well as, the skin.  However, do not place the repellent on the skin and cover it with clothing.  Always follow the product’s label instructions.

Wear long sleeve shirts and pants.

If you are wearing a sunscreen, apply it first, and then the repellent.

  • Stay in areas that have air conditioning, windows and door screens.
  • If you have a baby or child, do not use insect repellent on babies less than 2 months of age.
  • Cover cribs, baby carriers and strollers with mosquito netting.
  • Repellent should not be applied onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
  • The repellent can be sprayed into an adult’s hands and then applied to the child’s face.
  • Wear permethrin treated clothing, which offers protection even after several washings.
  • Avoid traveling to areas that has a Zika virus outbreak.

In January 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued travel guidance and enhanced precautions for those considering a trip to affected countries. Your healthcare professionals at  are recommending that you visit their website if you are considering a trip to one of these countries in the near future.



The Dangers of Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go has been downloaded over 10 million times to Android phones. On the surface, it seems like a game that brings people together, encourages exercise, and in general makes for a good alternative to sitting on the couch. However, there is more to this game than meets the eye. It presents very real dangers to children, teenagers and anyone who plays it.

Since the game’s launch early last week, there have been countless stories regarding accidents and real life dangers.  

Because of the virtual reality nature of Pokemon Go, people are now wandering the streets trying to track down ‘Pokemon’ and capture them to attain new levels in the game. Gamers have to use their camera phone to spot creatures, and everyone knows how dangerous that can be.

Here are a few ways players are putting themselves in harm’s way by playing the game.

Car Accidents

People are now not only texting while driving, but some have even been caught “Pokemoning” and driving. The game uses distance as a variable, which means the more ground you cover, the more creatures you can catch. Players have caught on to this and are using their vehicles to win the game and level up. Clearly, driving while playing is illegal (in most states) so not only is this dangerous it’s also criminal. A few accidents have even been reported and linked to the game.

Physical Harm

Some people have even ran into lampposts and trees. One Redditor even admitted to having fractured a bone in their foot within just thirty minutes of playing the game—the Redditor lied to ER staff and told them they had been walking their dog.

The issue has gotten so bad that the Austin, Texas, police department even issued a statement this week regarding the game asking citizens to “Stay aware, and watch out for trees.”


Besides broken bones, players are also facing robbers. Criminals in St. Louis recently lured a gamer to an isolated location and robbed him. A similar incident happened in Austin, when a player was robbed at gunpoint. It’s easy to see why the Austin Police Department felt the need to issue a warning.

Losing Your Way

Others have gotten lost while playing the game, simply because they weren’t paying attention to their surroundings. Wandering off into the countryside isn’t exactly a good idea, especially since you likely won’t have a map to find your way back!

Staying Safe

If you do play Pokemon Go, or allow your children to, make awareness a top priority. If your kids are playing it, ask them to always go out as a group, and make sure they turn the game off while in the car. Stress the issue strongly, as it could keep them out of harm’s way.  Ask your kids to ask themselves if a Pokemon creature is worth losing their life over. We certainly don’t think so, and we’re confident you don’t either.

Know the risks of Dry Drowning before your next family pool trip!

Dry Drowning and also called Delayed Drowning

Most parents stay on guard when their child goes swimming. Playing lifeguard pool or shore side is just one more duty parents have to handle. By the time the kiddos are toweled off, most parents think their lifeguard duties are over. Not so fast.

The dangers of drowning, unfortunately, do not end after your child leaves the water. They are still at risk. Doctors call this condition ‘dry drowning,’ or ‘delayed drowning’. Let’s define what dry drowning is and how you can be on the lookout for it.

What is Dry Drowning?

The name ‘dry drowning’ can be confusing. Put simply, dry drowning is the same thing that comes to mind when you think of drowning except it happens outside of the water.

Dry drowning can also happen up to 24 hours after your child has left the water. Accidental consumption of an extreme amount of water can lead to drowning from the inside, rather than being physically drowned from the outside. When a child inhales water into their lungs, their vocal cords begin to spasm. This can cause death if left untreated.

Delayed drowning is a bit different in that water gets into the lungs where it prevents oxygen from making it to the blood. Your child will start to have difficulty breathing over the course of a few hours thereafter if they’re delayed drowning.

Red Flags to Look For

Unfortunately, since you likely can’t keep your eyes on your child every second, it’s important to know what the warning signs are. It’s difficult to know if your child has inhaled or swallowed water, but if they have there are a few symptoms to keep in mind. These include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coughing
  • Chest Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Major Fatigue
  • Blue Lips & Pale Skin
  • Changes in Mood

Seek Medical Attention

If you notice any of the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately. The hospital will perform an X-Ray and will also start an IV if necessary. The sooner you recognize these symptoms the better chance your child has of survival.

Don’t Panic!

While this condition is very serious, it only happens in about 2% of drowning cases. Most drowning incidents occur in the water, and as long as you watch your children while they play most problems can be avoided.

The only real way to protect your child from dry drowning is to get in the water with them. Staying within arm’s reach prevents any serious incidents from occurring. It’s also a good idea to get your child into swim lessons so they can safely enjoy the water.

Don’t let your child become a victim. Stay alert and know the signs of dry drowning to prevent your child from getting hurt.


Health Risks from buying goods from China?

I have always been a proponent of purchasing products that are “Made in the U.S.A.” The rationale behind that advocacy is that it provides jobs for Americans, it stimulates the economy, and it facilitates the industrious “American Way of Life.”  With that thought in mind, I was not surprise to discover another reason to be wary of purchasing imported products.

What I discovered is that certain imported products may be hazardous to your health. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has released a consumer warning against certain hair ties that were manufactured in China. It has been discovered that these hair bands are being produced with (get this) used condoms.  Have you ever heard of anything so ridiculous and not to mention, so unsanitary.

The warning issued by the CDC read:

“The amount of bacteria and potential viruses on these hair ties and rubber bands, which are made from used unsanitary condoms, has 4 times the bacteria found on a public restroom toilet.  Consumers could potentially be infected with AIDS, warts, herpes and other venereal diseases if they hold the rubber bands on hair ties in their mouths while setting their hair.  We warn against consumers purchasing these products if they were made in China.”

Your healthcare professionals at “” strongly suggest that you heed this warning to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Can you imagine your teen-age daughter or son (male buns are in vogue these days) contracting a venereal disease when there is evidence to support abstinence from sexual activity?   Try explaining that one to your church friends. The moral to this story, “don’t buy hair bands made in China.”


Tony L. Wallace, RN, BSN