July 27, 2015
Like everyone else, I like making resolutions from time to time. While some goals have been easier to attain than others, one resolution that has been frustratingly difficult to achieve has been “digital disconnection.” Especially in today’s hyper-connected world, it is almost impossible to “unplug.” While it may be desirable, and even necessary to be proficient at computers and technology, it is equally important that we also learn to be healthy “netizens”, and serve as smart examples for our kids. Children, even infants, are being exposed to a barrage of electronic devices. If smart phones, tablets, computers, televisions and video games weren’t enough, we now have toy versions of the same! In fact, the iPad has even become the go-to baby sitter for a lot of families. The negative effects of such unrestricted and early exposure are very wide ranging, and only of late has science been able to shed light on some of these.
What can we do to mitigate this epidemic? There is no one-size guidance for all, but here are some suggestions. Like anything else in life, common sense should be our guiding light.
March 14, 2014
We all know that as a nation, we are getting bigger and heavier. Worse still, our future - our children- are becoming obese and unhealthy at increasingly younger ages. For decades, the scourge of obesity was blamed on a high calorie, high fat diet. Turns out, we have probably been doing it wrong all these years and our bulging waistline attests to this colossal failure. Research and the medical community now have increasing evidence that the real villain of the story is a very sweet little molecule called fructose. Fructose is what gives us the sweetness in table sugar (sucrose)…also in brown sugar, honey, agave, and of course, high fructose corn syrup. Call it by any name, but sugars are dangerous to our health. Fructose is addictive, much in the same way as alcohol and illicit drugs are. In fact, sugar (fructose) metabolism closely replicates alcohol metabolism except for the acute effects on brain. Sugar has been likened to alcohol without the buzz! You may already have heard abo...
March 15, 2013
I am a pediatric hospitalist. That is, I am a pediatrician who takes care of children sick enough to be hospitalized. So my writing about the importance of children spending time outdoors and enjoying nature might be surprising. Even though I may only take care of a child for the worst few days of their life, I am still quite passionate about the fundamental role of outdoor play in a child’s health and well-being. Even during acute illness, I find that children often heal faster when they are given more opportunities to be playful and (illness-allowing) go outdoors to allow Mother Nature to heal them from within. So needless to say, I am often amazed at how little exposure many of these children have had, even prior to becoming ill, to spend time playing outdoors and getting to know their environment. Now especially, as the days begin to get longer, and the refreshing spring air returns to our beautiful Pacific Northwest, I start thinking about all the wonderful outdoor fun I us...