An idea from a Parent and Guest

by on October 29, 2011

in Uncategorized

 As a pediatrician I often get suggestions from parents. I welcome those very much. At times a parent will ask me to allow them to share their thoughts on this site. Until I get my own radio show where a parent can be a guest I at times will post a blog written by a parent.

My hope in doing this is that it will prompt other parents to leave comments or start a discussion on the Facebook pages og

This is a piece a guest sent me a while back. Please leave comments!

Thanks as always for supporting this website.

Dr Peter Nieman (Pediatrician, Calgary, Canada)


Children are the most precious commodities on earth and time needs to be invested into them to help them flourish and grow. Keeping children healthy is one of the most important aspects of parenting, as not only do child hood habits have major impacts on adult hood, but healthy children are likely to have a much better quality of life.

As child hood obesity reaches an all time high, keeping an eye on your child`s diet takes first place in any healthy guide. Children have notoriously sweet teeth and this can stem from baby hood, when sweet drinks are used as pacifiers and little treats as rewards and bribes. Attempt to curb your child`s love of sugar at an early age by never offering confectionary; instead use naturally sweet carrot sticks and fresh fruit as reward.

Focus on vegetables, quality protein, dairy and fruit at meal times and prepare as much as possible from scratch. Ready meals are often high in additives, salt and fat and are an unhealthy option long term, as are fried foods. Use them as an occasional treat, not as an ever day occurrence.

Children are notoriously fussy with their food, so get them involved with shopping and preparation as much as possible, inventing games to encourage them to experiment with different flavours and combinations. Be creative with presentation, making faces and animal designs out of the vegetables and supervise children cooking in order to help them appreciate the art of cuisine. In short, make healthy food fun from an early age.

As well as a good diet, exercise is of paramount importance in the fight against child obesity. The invention of computers and games consoles may have made many rich, but it has also encouraged inactivity in children. Manufacturers have attempted to reduce the problem by introducing exercise based games, which have proved very popular when children have friends over, but are no substitute for outdoor play and sports.

Work with your school to encourage children to become involved in team based games, such as football and netball and during the holidays look for sport courses at your local centre. These are often run by the council and are generally reasonably priced. Some councils offer free swimming incentives for anyone under the age of 16, so it is worth checking with your local pool. Allow your child to try as many different activities as possible to discover which they find the most enjoyable. During the holidays, have friends over and turn the electronic gear off, ensuring they play in the garden or go for bikes rides if it is safe to do so. Make a family walk with the dog an evening ritual, which is also an ideal time for the family to bond and chat.

Finally ensure your child receives quality sleep, to wake up refreshed and raring to go the following day. Make bed time a pleasant experience, not a chore and buy the best bed  that you can, in a design that your child loves and can`t wait to get into.( See Combining diet, exercise and sleep is definitely the recipe to keeping children healthy.

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