Posts made in January, 2014

Fighting Childhood Obesity with Healthy Snacks

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Grocery healthyThe term “obesity” refers to having too much fat while overweight means having excess body weight. Childhood obesity has increased significantly in the last three decades in the United States and it is becoming more of a medical condition rather than just a social aspect. Majority of the time, childhood obesity is due to overconsumption of foods and lack of physical activity. Genetic factors and hormonal imbalance may contribute to childhood obesity but those are not common causes.

Childhood obesity places children at greater risks for developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep disorder, bone and joint problems. It also affects psychological factors such as having low self-esteem, poor self-image and being bullied at school. These problems can be lead to depression and suicide later in life.

Many of the weight loss diets recommend smaller, more frequent meals than having one large meal a day while watching out the calories you eat. Researchers found that children today eat on average of three snacks per day compared to one snack per day three decades ago. Meanwhile, children consume more sugar-sweetened beverages, high calorie, non-nutritious snacks nowadays. One study showed that kid’s meals today have very high content of salt. In addition, children spend more time in front of TV and play video games in today society than in the past decades.

To fully understand the underlying problems in childhood obesity, researchers conducted a study where they analyzed different types of snack and measured the satiety in children after the snacks. The study group consists of 183 children and average age is around eight. BMI on each child were recorded and 38 of those children are considered overweight while 43 were considered obese. BMI measurement for children (2-20 years old) is different from adults. Please refer to CDC (The Centers for Disease Control) for standard BMI calculator for children.

In this study, children were randomly placed into four different groups where different snacks were given while watching TV for 45 minutes. One group was given potato chips and the second group was given only vegetables. The third group was given cheese and the fourth was given combination of cheese and vegetables. Researchers used three questions on nine points scale to measure the satiety. Furthermore, the parents of the study group children filled out 20 questionnaires regarding mealtime habits and family involvement in mealtime activities. The children were questioned before the snack, immediately after the snack and 20 minutes after the snacks.

The cheese group and vegetable group were considered control groups and researchers compared the satiety measurements from the other groups to these. The average of 620 calories was consumed in the potato chips group and 200 calories in the cheese group. The vegetables group consumed about 60 calories on average and 170 calories in the combination group. The study showed that combination of cheese and vegetables fulfilled satiety faster than the potato chips with fewer calories. Often times, obesity results from calorie imbalance (more intake than you use for energy). In conclusion, healthier snacks can meet satiety with lesser amount while getting fewer calories. Furthermore, replacing junk foods with healthier snacks may be more reasonable approach than eliminating junk foods all together in children’s diet.

Contributed by Patricia Hsiao M.D.
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Home Remedies for Canker Sore

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in News | 0 comments

Mouth painCanker sore or aphthous ulcer is a small, painful lesion in the mouth. It is the most common open sore in the mouth and it is non-contagious. Keep in mind that it is not the same as cold sore, which tends to be on the lips. Canker sore usually occurs on the soft tissues inside the mouth and it is either white or yellow with red border. Majority of the time, no treatment is required and it resolves on its own in 7-10 days. More than 20 percent of people in the U.S have canker sore in their lifetime and some people may have more than one episode. It can occur at any age but more commonly seen among teenagers and young adults.

Canker sore does not need any treatments but there are a few home remedies you can try to relieve pain and to heal faster. You can put half a teaspoon of salt into a glass of water and rinse your mouth with it. You can also mix up half water and half hydrogen peroxide, and dab the mixture directly on the sore with a cotton swab. Then, dab small amount of Milk of Magnesia on the canker sore. You can repeat this process 3-4 times a day.

Another easy remedy you can try is to make the mixture, which contains one teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia and one teaspoon of Benadryl (diphenhydramine). This time you swish the mixture in your mouth for about 60 seconds and spit it out. You can do this process for 2-3 times a day.

There are a few pastes you can apply directly to the canker sore. They contain a numbing ingredient such as benzocaine (Anbesol, Orabase, Orajel and Zilactin), fluocinonide (Vanos) and amelxanox (Aphthasol). Some are over-the-counter while others require prescription. Always check the direction on the box to see how many times you can apply in one day.

If you have severe sores, you might want to make an appointment with your doctor. He or she can prescribe you steroid mouth rinse to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. But you will be at a greater risk for fungal infection or oral thrush with steroid mouth rinse. Another mouth rinse which contains tetracycline (antibiotic) can be given for severe canker sores.

Contributed by Patricia Hsiao M.D.

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