When parents smoke, their kids may face a higher risk of a common heart rhythm problem decades later, a new study suggests.

Researchers found that adults who grew up with smokers were more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, versus those with nonsmoking parents.

Atrial fibrillation (or “a-fib”) is a heart arrhythmia in which the atria — the heart’s upper chambers — periodically quiver instead of contracting normally.

A-fib episodes are not immediately life-threatening, but over time they can lead to a stroke or heart failure.

“It’s pretty well-established now that smoking is a risk factor for atrial fibrillation,” said Dr. Gregory Marcus, the senior researcher on the new study.

Much less is known about whether secondhand smoke can raise the risk. But in an earlier study, Marcus and his team found hints that childhood exposure to secondhand smoke might contribute to a-fib.

The new study bolsters that evidence. It was published online Sept. 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The researchers used data from two large health studies that followed families over two generations. That, Marcus said, gave them reliable information about parents’ smoking habits — and their adult children’s exposure to secondhand smoke when they were growing up.

Of more than 2,800 adult offspring, about 14% were diagnosed with a-fib over 40 years. That risk, the study found, rose in tandem with their childhood exposure to parents’ smoking.

For every pack of cigarettes parents smoked per day, their children’s risk of eventually developing a-fib rose by 18%, the investigators found.

Of course, parents who smoke may also have kids who smoke, Marcus noted. And that was often true in this study. Those smokers, in turn, had a 32% higher risk of a-fib than nonsmokers.

Still, that appeared to explain only part of the link between parents’ smoking and their kids’ a-fib risk.

“That suggests there may be something about secondhand smoke exposure, itself, that contributes to atrial fibrillation,” said Marcus, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, San Francisco.

via wonderbaby: Raising a blind baby may seem hopelessly difficult at first. For most parents, this isn’t something they expected or were prepared for.

At this point, you’re most likely searching for answers and preparing for what feels like an endless journey. Questions and emotions are running through your mind and you may feel like you’re in a rush to figure things out…

What do I do?

How can I cope?

How can I help my child?

Does it ever get easier?

What you need is support, understanding, and resources. I began this website as a means to provide all three to other parents of blind and disabled children, but as the site has grown I worry that the information may have become overwhelming. Where do you start?

I decided that it was time to put together a step-by-step resource guide, picking out the most pertinent articles and resources for parents with babies and young children searching for help.

Let’s get started!


The most important thing to do at this stage is find someone who understands what you are going through and can offer relevant advice. Whether you find a support group in your area through Early Intervention or join an online group (Yahoo Groups is a good place to start looking), the important thing is to connect with other parents.

Here is some advice from real parents of kids with special needs:

  • Enjoy every minute, no matter what!
  • Relax; Never forget you know your child best; Ask yourself if your concern now is going to matter when your child is an adult.
  • It’s going to be ok…
  • Don’t try to “fix” every problem. Take life one day at a time and enjoy every minute. Give yourself a break now and then.
  • A sense of humor is a must!
  • It’s amazing how this experience allows you to grow. I think I like myself better now, than I did years ago.
  • What seemed to break our hearts at the beginning, was truly a blessing. Enjoy every precious moment.
  • Don’t fret so much about what your baby can or can’t see; In the long run, it’s not really as important as you think.
  • Don’t worry so much about “development” and throw the development charts out the window. Your child will grow up to be who he is going to be.
  • Social workers are your friends. If you ever have a problem or a question, call your social worker or case manager first. If they don’t have the answer they can give you the number of someone who does.


There’s so much information out there vying for your attention right now, from medical journals discussing genetic therapy to all the flyers and handouts your therapists have brought with them on home visits. Here’s a good thing to remember: You don’t have to read everything!

I’ve chosen a few articles here to cover some of the basic questions you may have right now. Browse through this list and see what grabs you.

Feel free to print these articles or share them with others. If you are a social worker organizing a support group for parents of visually impaired children, these articles might make good handouts.

Try a Little Tenderness: Sorting through the Grieving Process
This article describes what it’s like when you first learn your baby has a vision impairment and helps you sort through your emotions.

Help! My Baby Won’t Sleep!
A common complaint I hear from parents of blind children is that they don’t sleep well. This article provides ideas to help get kids to sleep.

From Cracks to Chasms: Maintaining Your Relationship When You Have a Disabled Child
This article gives practical advice on how to keep your relationship in tact while raising a special needs child.

Yes You Can!
This is one of my favorite articles that I have written about how to help and encourage your child without pushing too hard.


There are many private and government-run organizations out there designed to help you and your baby. Some organizations charge a small membership fee, but many are free. When you join you’ll receive an introductory package full of information and resources. This can be a great way to connect with other parents as well.

A good place to start is to locate and contact your state’s Commission for the Blind. Not all states have one, but most do. Find out what you need to do to get registered and meet with a case manager as soon as you can. They’ll be able to tell you about all the resources in your area and what services you’re eligible for. Of course, you should also register with your local Early Intervention office and meet them, as well.

Here are a few of our favorite organizations…

  • American Foundation for the Blind: AFB provides support and services for the blind and visually impaired. Their web site offers a Services Locator and a great Bookstore. Some books published through AFB press can only be found here.
  • National Federation for the Blind: NFB produces the often quoted publication Future Reflections, a magazine for parents and teachers of blind children. You can download the magazine directly to your computer for free.
  • National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI): NAPVI helps you help your child learn and grow. It’s a very encouraging organization. They also have a wonderful website, FamilyConnect, where you can find information about your child’s eye condition and connect with other parents. They also provide local state chapters that organize events and support groups.
  • Foundation Fighting Blindness: FFB raises money to help fund research that will provide preventions, treatments and cures for people with vision loss. They’re a great organization to go to if you’re looking for more information about your child’s condition.
  • National Organization of Parents of Blind Children: NOPBC, a division of NFB, supports, encourages, and shares information with parents of blind children. They’re great at connecting you with people and resources in your area.


Your extended family and friends no doubt want to help, but may feel uneasy if they don’t understand what’s going on. A great way to begin educating your family is to print up some easy-to-read fact sheets and hand them out to any one who’s interested.

All of these fact sheets are from the Blind Babies Foundation and are in .pdf format. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them on your computer, or you can learn more about Adobe Accessibility and using screen readers to read .pdf files.

  • Introduction
  • Introducción (Español)
  • Eye Specialists
  • Especialistas en los Ojos (Español)
  • How the Eye and Brain Work Together
  • Como Funcionan Juntos el Cerebro y los Ojos (Español)
  • Cortical Visual Impairment
  • Impedimento Visual Cortical (Español)
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
  • Hipoplasia del Nervio Óptico (Español)
  • Albinism
  • Albinismo (Español)
  • Optic Nerve Atrophy
  • Atrofia del Nervio Óptico (Español)
  • Retinal Diseases
  • Enfermedades de la Retina (Español)
  • Vision Assessment
  • Evaluación de la Visión (Español)


You’ve been working so hard trying to inform yourself about your new baby and what’s going on. It’s perfectly resaonable to feel overwhelmed and exhausted and more than sensible to stop and just enjoy yourself and your baby.

Don’t forget to slow down and just be you!

via MHA: Children’s mental health problems are real, common and treatable. Although one in five children has a diagnosable mental health problem, nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help.

Untreated mental health problems can disrupt children’s functioning at home, school and in the community. Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk of school failure, contact with the criminal justice system, dependence on social services, and even suicide.

Parents and family members are usually the first to notice if a child has problems with emotions or behavior. Your observations, along with those of teachers and other caregivers, can help determine whether you need to seek help for your child.

The following signs may indicate the need for professional help:

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Constant worry or anxiety
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability

Early identification, diagnosis and treatment can help children reach their full potential. A first step may be to have your child complete our youth screening which is intended for young people (age 11-17) who are concerned that their emotions, attention, or behaviors might be signs of a problem. A complementary parent screening is also available for your use.

The information from the completed screenings can be helpful in starting a conversation with your child about their mental health, and may be useful when talking with your child’s pediatrician or a mental health professional.

An evaluation may include consultation with a child psychiatrist, psychological testing and medical tests to rule out any physical condition that could be causing the symptoms. Childen also must be carefully evaluated to distinguish possible mental health conditions from learning disabilities or developmental delays.

If your child is diagnosed with a mental health problem, a comprehensive treatment plan should include psychotherapy and, in some cases, may include medication. The plan should be developed with the family. Whenever possible, the child should be involved in treatment decisions.

via healthlineHeart disease in children

Heart disease is difficult enough when it strikes adults, but it can be especially tragic in children.

Many different types of heart problems can affect children. They include congenital heart defects, viral infections that affect the heart, and even heart disease acquired later in childhood due to illnesses or genetic syndromes.

The good news is that with advances in medicine and technology, many children with heart disease go on to live active, full lives.

Congenital heart disease

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is a type of heart disease that children are born with, usually caused by heart defects that are present at birth. In the U.S., an estimated 1 percent of babies born each year have CHD.

CHDs that affect children include:

  • heart valve disorders like a narrowing of the aortic valve, which restricts blood flow
  • hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where the left side of the heart is underdeveloped
  • disorders involving holes in the heart, typically in the walls between the chambers and between major blood vessels leaving the heart, including:
    • ventricular septal defects
    • atrial septal defects
    • patent ductus arteriosus
  • tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of four defects, including:
    • a hole in the ventricular septum
    • a narrowed passage between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery
    • a thickened right side of the heart
    • a displaced aorta
  • Congenital heart defects may have long-term effects on a child’s health. They’re usually treated with surgery, catheter procedures, medications, and in severe cases, heart transplants.

Some children will require lifelong monitoring and treatment.


Atherosclerosis is the term used to describe the buildup of fat and cholesterol-filled plaques inside arteries. As the buildup increases, arteries become stiffened and narrowed, which increases the risk of blood clots and heart attacks. It typically takes many years for atherosclerosis to develop. It’s unusual for children or teenagers to suffer from it.

However, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and other health issues put children at higher risk. Doctors recommend screening for high cholesterol and high blood pressure in children who have risk factors like family history of heart disease or diabetes and are overweight or obese.

Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes like increased exercise and dietary modifications.


An arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. This can cause the heart to pump less efficiently.

Many different types of arrhythmias may occur in children, including:

  • a fast heart rate (tachycardia), the most common type found in children being supraventricular tachycardia
  • a slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • long Q-T Syndrome (LQTS)
  • Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW syndrome)

Symptoms may include:

  • weakness
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • fainting
  • difficulty feeding

Treatments depend on the type of arrhythmia and how it’s affecting the child’s health.

Kawasaki disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare disease that primarily affects children and can cause inflammation in the blood vessels in their hands, feet, mouth, lips, and throat. It also produces a fever and swelling in the lymph nodes. Researchers aren’t sure yet what causes it.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the illness is a major cause of heart conditions in as many as 1 in 4 children. Most are under the age of 5.

Treatment depends on the extent of the disease, but often involves prompt treatment with intravenous gamma globulin or aspirin (Bufferin). Corticosteroids can sometimes reduce future complications. Children who suffer from this disease often require lifelong follow-up appointments to keep an eye on heart health.

Heart murmurs

A heart murmur is a “whooshing” sound made by blood circulating through the heart’s chambers or valves, or through blood vessels near the heart. Often it’s harmless. Other times it may signal an underlying cardiovascular problem.

Heart murmurs may be caused by CHDs, fever, or anemia. If a doctor hears an abnormal heart murmur in a child, they’ll perform additional tests to be sure the heart is healthy. “Innocent” heart murmurs usually resolve by themselves, but if the heart murmur is caused by a problem with the heart, it may require additional treatment.


This condition occurs when the thin sac or membrane that surrounds the heart (pericardium) becomes inflamed or infected. The amount of fluid between its two layers increases, impairing the heart’s ability to pump blood like it should.

Pericarditis may occur after surgery to repair a CHD, or it may be caused by bacterial infections, chest traumas, or connective tissue disorders like lupus. Treatments depend on the severity of the disease, the child’s age, and their overall health.

Rheumatic heart disease

When left untreated, the streptococcus bacteria that cause strep throat and scarlet fever can also cause rheumatic heart disease.

This disease can seriously and permanently damage the heart valves and the heart muscle (by causing heart muscle inflammation, known as myocarditis). According to Seattle Children’s Hospital, rheumatic fever typically occurs in children ages 5 to 15, but usually the symptoms of rheumatic heart disease don’t show up for 10 to 20 years after the original illness. Rheumatic fever and subsequent rheumatic heart disease are now uncommon in the U.S.

This disease can be prevented by promptly treating strep throat with antibiotics.

Viral infections

Viruses, in addition to causing respiratory illness or the flu, can also affect heart health. Viral infections can cause myocarditis, which may affect the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body.

Viral infections of the heart are rare and may show few symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they’re similar to flu-like symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest discomfort. Treatment involves medications and treatments for the symptoms of myocarditis.

As Eid al-Fitr (the festival of breaking fast) for all Muslims starts tomorrow, let us look at some useful tips to celebrate Eid for kids healthily.

Eid for kids is an extremely exciting time as it is celebrated with the abundance of kids’ favorite sweet dishes such as halva and baklava.

During Eid al-Fitr, kids are usually the ones who indulge in the sweet treats the most as chocolate and candies are some of the popular gifts to be given to kids during Eid al-Fitr.

It is important for parents to be more concern about their kids’ unhealthy diet during this period and to fight the risk of their kids from getting childhood obesity.

Check out this article now for what you need to know about fighting obesity in kids during Eid.

Via About Islam: This Eid, Begin Fighting Childhood Obesity

After a month of abstinence and self-restraint, `Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated with festivities of food.

Sweet dishes frequently play a central role in these feasts with hours of preparation going into the making of creamy halva, crispy baklava drizzled with honey syrup, and other delectable pastries.

Adults are not the only ones who enjoy such treats, and it is often the children who indulge in them the most. Popular gifts for children are chocolates, candy, and other sweets.

Therefore, it is not surprising that many youngsters gain excess weight during this blessed holiday in particular.

Worldwide Epidemic

According to the reports of the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, childhood obesity is on the rise worldwide. The percentage of overweight children is due to increase dramatically in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.

A child is considered obese when he or she is well-above the recommended weight for his or her height and age (USA Today).

Overweight children are at risk for and susceptible to diseases that were once only limited to adults (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and other ailments). They are also more likely to be overweight through their adult years.

Obesity Contributors

Although genetics may play a part in contributing to childhood obesity, most children are overweight because they eat in excess and exercise too little (Mayo Clinic).

Growing up in the midst of a fast-food culture, where one-third of children in the US on any given day eat fast food, has contributed to this phenomenon. The high fat, salt, and sugar content in fast food add on unnecessary and mainly empty calories.

With the advent of unlimited refills of soft drinks, which fast-food chains promote, children are consuming a huge excess of sugary liquids, which are detrimental to their health.

Children who are regular consumers of fast foods fail to make healthy food choices and end up eating far less fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk than they ought to (Davis).

Leading a sedentary lifestyle is another factor that contributes to childhood obesity. As watching TV shows and playing video games increasingly replace outdoor play, children are becoming less and less active and thus are not able to burn off all the extra calories they consume.

Lack of direction and interest from parents is another important factor that causes unhealthy eating patterns in children.

Treatment and Prevention

Instilling healthy eating habits and encouraging exercise is the best way to combat obesity in children and adults alike.

It is up to the parents to regulate what their children consume, and it is their responsibility to promote healthy food choices from a tender age for their young ones.

Children should be taught that their body is a very valuable thing that has been entrusted to their care and that it is their obligation to look after and care for it.

Making a trip to the grocery store together is an effective way to teach children how to choose and recognize healthier food options.

Remind them that Almighty Allah mentions in the Qur’an, “Eat of the good things We have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein.” (Suart Taha: 20:81).

Encourage them to read the nutrition label and to look out for ingredients they should avoid such as high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, and artificial colorings.

Talk to them about the importance of eating raw fruits and vegetables, and select healthier snack alternatives (such as nuts and whole-grain crackers) to chips and candy.

Limit your trips to fast-food restaurants and make an effort to eat home-cooked, nutritious meals instead. Teach your children the hadith in which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) explained that if one is to fill his stomach, then only a third should be filled with food, a third for drink, and a third should be left empty (At-Tirmidhi).

Do not encourage your children to eat till they are full, which many parents forget to do. Children should be encouraged to stop eating when they are satisfied, not satiated.

Eat together as a family, and make mealtimes enjoyable. Do not waste this special bonding opportunity by eating in front of the TV or individually.

Encourage your children to play outside and engage in physical activity instead of sitting at home and watching TV or playing video games.

Go on nature walks together, and make it an opportunity to both get some exercise and talk about Allah’s creation and His signs.

Enroll them for extracurricular activities such as sports and crafts. Make these endeavors fun, and your children will not only thoroughly enjoy themselves but will also get some much-needed exercise.

New Beginning

Make this `Eid the start of a new healthy lifestyle for you and your children. Instead of gifting your children chocolates and video games, gift them with your time instead and go out and do fun family-oriented activities together.

Other good gift choices are sports equipment such as tennis rackets, basketballs, footballs, and roller blades, which will encourage them to engage in physical activity. A membership to a local fitness center is a good idea, and many offer classes specifically for children.

After a long Ramadan, we deserve to treat ourselves. Every `Eid celebration calls for sweets and desserts. However, you can limit their fatty content by cutting down on sugar and butter, and by using low-fat versions of milk and cheese while preparing them.

Reducing the serving sizes and limiting the quantity you make will also prevent overindulgence. Adding fresh fruits to your desserts and as a garnishing will provide nutritional benefit.

Low-Fat Recipes

A healthier alternative to commonly prepared `Eid desserts that allows you to use all the leftover dates you may have from Ramadan is the following:

Date Treats


  • 20 dates (pitted)
  • 2 tbsp. of butter
  • ¼ cup of milk (reduced fat-condensed)
  • ¼ cup of milk (low fat)
  • 10 tea biscuits (crushed)
  • ½ cup of nuts (chopped)
  • ¼ cup of coconut (desiccated)
  • 2 tsp. of sesame seeds (optional)
  • Coconut powder (for garnishing


In saucepan, melt butter. Add dates, and soften. Add condensed milk and low-fat milk, and continue to soften dates on low flame. Turn off flame, and add crushed tea biscuits, coconut, nuts, and the (optional) sesame seeds.

Mix into a dough. Spread mixture onto a tray to cool. Roll into 1-inch-diameter balls. Coat with coconut powder. Refrigerate immediately.


Baklava is a staple at every `Eid dinner and the following is a low-calorie, yet just as delicious, version of this rich dessert:


  • ½ lb. of pistachio nuts (ground)
  • 3 tbsp. of sugar
  • ¾ tsp. of cinnamon (ground)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. of rose water
  • ½ lb. of phyllo dough
  • ½ cup of margarine (low-calorie, melted)
  • Rose water syrup


Combine pistachio nuts, sugar, cinnamon, and rose water in a small bowl. Using half of phyllo sheets, place three sheets in bottom of lightly greased 13×9-inch baking sheet. Brush with some of the margarine.

Sprinkle evenly with nut mixture. Place remaining sheets over nut filling, brushing after every third sheet and top sheet.

Cut baklava at 1-1/2-inch intervals diagonally to form pattern of about 35 diamond shapes. Bake at 400°F/200°C for 25 minutes or until golden. Place on wire rack to cool. Drizzle rose water syrup evenly over top, and allow to soak several hours.

Each piece of baklava contains 85 calories and 5 grams fat. (Orchekowski)

During Ramadan, we were given the opportunity to cleanse and renew ourselves, both spiritually and physically, thus there is no better time than now to embark upon a healthier future for you and your family.

Diaries such as cheese for kids are amazing sources of protein, calcium and energy for growing kids. They are needed to

As the quote by Ray Bradbury goes “Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone”, it is important for parents to learn about the right amount of cheese for kids per day and to not exceed the limits.

In order for your kids to enjoy the maximum benefits of cheese, check out the following article now for the ultimate guide to feed your kids with cheese.

Do you agree with the following article? Comment below to share you point of view with us today!

Via Childrensfood: How much cheese should children have

A new survey out this week highlighted that cheese can often contain more salt than you might think. Read a good summary of the response in the Guardian. Most kids love cheese, so what’s the best way to use it in a healthy diet for them?

Here are my top facts and tips:

For 1-5 year olds:

  • Cheese and other dairy foods are a good source of energy, protein, calcium and Vitamin A. A portion of cheese can be one of the three portions of milk and other dairy foods that children of this age should have every day
  • You’ll find pictures of healthy cheese portion sizes for under-fives on P23 of our guidelines for nurseries, children’s centres and childminders here. It’s easiest to see with the pictures but as a guide, a good portion size for hard cheese is about 15-20g grated (that’s about 1-2 tablespoons of grated cheese). For soft cheese, it’s about 20-25g
  • Don’t forget – cheese can be high in saturated fat, which is why you need to watch portion sizes carefully
  • For under-fives, it’s best not to give them unpasturised cheese, mould-ripened cheeses like brie or camembert and soft blue-veined cheeses like Danish blue or gorgonzola – they can cause food poisoning in very little ones
  • It’s recommended that 1-3 year olds don’t have more than 2g of salt a day. This rises to 3g for 4-6 year olds.

For school-aged children:

  • Cheese is still a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamin A, and school cooks meeting the national school food standards use it carefully to help children get enough of these nutrients
  • Children of this age start to need less of their energy from fat (it’s the same for us as adults). So it’s really important to keep an eye on portion sizes, use lower fat versions of dairy products where you can, and to look at how much salt they contain by reading the nutrition information on the food label
  • It’s recommended that children from 7-10 years old don’t have more than 5g of salt a day. This rises to 6g for 11 year olds and over. There are good tips on reading salt information on food labels here
  • Cheese sandwiches are often a bit of a staple in children’s lunchboxes. But variety’s the trick for making sure kids are getting a healthy diet with all of the nutrients they need – so you might want to try some of our packed lunch menu ideas or these ones from Change4Life.

MAma speaks: I was literally carrying hand sanitizers in my pocket when I had my first born, suffice to say she gets sick easier compared to my second born when I was more relaxed!

via treehugger: Science is telling parents that keeping kids clean is not the best thing for them.

Kids are fabulous, but they can be pretty gross, too. Not only does having a baby mean you’ll get up to your elbows in poopy diapers on a daily basis, but it also means having to remove countless nasty things from kids’ mouths, such as old dried pieces of chewing gum or the cleaning toothbrush that my one-year-old found under a friend’s kitchen sink.

If Canadian microbiologist B. Brett Finlay had been in the room, he would tell us parents to relax. Finlay is a professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Oversanitized World, along with Marie-Claire Arrieta. Finlay was recently interviewed by Anna Maria Tremonti on CBC Radio, and I listened to the segment with great interest, as grubby little kids are a-plenty in my home.

Finlay’s fundamental message is that kids must be allowed to get dirty. Parents and teachers need to stop slathering their kids with hand sanitizer because it actually does more harm than good, killing off the good (of which there are many), along with the relatively few bad ones. The microbes found in dirt and dirty things play a crucial role in training a child’s immune system to respond correctly, and to populate the good microflora in their gut.

“If you look at … Western society diseases — I’m including things like asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, stress, anxiety, autism — these things actually all have microbial links.”

Finlay says studies have shown that kids who grow up on farms or have dogs at home are 20 percent less likely to develop asthma, the reason being that they’re always in contact with a greater number of microbes, often feces, which Finlay doesn’t see as a bad thing. Fecal transplants are being used successfully to repopulate good microflora in some patients whose intestinal microbes have been wiped out by antibiotic treatments. It’s the same idea behind swabbing C-section babies with their mother’s vaginal microbes, in order to populate their intestinal tract with the right microbes from the beginning.

“The science is now telling us that [keeping kids clean] is actually not the best thing to do. These [germophobe] mothers need to ease off a bit and get over the ‘ew’ factor, and realize that kids are going to be kids, that they are going to put a lot of strange things in their mouth, and this is part of them experiencing the world, tasting the world we live in, as well as replenishing these microbes they need to develop.”

Parents should adjust their perspective on what constitutes good hygiene for kids. If a little one fights bath time, let it go. In fact, aim for a ring of dirt around the tub; that’s when you’ll know it was really time for a bath!

Finlay says that diet is very important, since refined carbs leave little for the lower intestine to digest, which in turn does not feed its microbes sufficiently. Make it work by eating whole grains, fibrous fruits and vegetables, and nuts.

The immune system comprises of a unique group of proteins, cells, tissues and organs that work together to defend us from infectious microorganisms. It serves as a protection mechanism to help us fight against harmful germs, bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other parasites. Hence, keeping us healthy and free from illness.

A strong immune system is especially important to kids who are constantly exposed to pathogens as they explore and play with their peers all day. Kids with weaker immune system will be vulnerable to illnesses such as cold and flu.

To strengthen your kids’ immune system, it is best to start provide them with appropriate amount of nutrients and vitamins in their diet.

In this video Dr. Sears explains on how to boost your kids’ immune system by serving them a healthy diet. Watch it now!

A healthy, balanced diet regimen is very important to fulfill a satisfied and healthy life. Did you know that the right diet is also an effective element to help ease some signs and symptoms of ADHD in kids?

In this video clip, Dr. Robert Olivardia, a Clinical Psychologist and Clinical Instructor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School discusses just what people with ADHD could do to enhance their eating behaviors.

Via Today’s Parent: Here’s the formula for how to raise a healthy kid

Ever wished there was a formula for raising a healthy kid? It finally exists. A new set of guidelines plot out exactly how long young kids should be active, sleeping and sedentary for optimal healthy development. What could be easier, right? Well, there’s still the matter of getting your kid to comply, but here’s the rundown on the goals you should be aiming for, according to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years.

If your kid is under a year, they should be:

  • Active several times through the day, with 30 minutes of tummy time before they’re mobile.
  • Sleeping 14 to 17 hours (when they’re zero to three months) or 12 to 16 hours (when they’re four to 11 months).
  • Restrained in a stroller or high chair for no more than an hour at a time. (It’s hard to qualify what time is spent being sedentary for babies, especially because they spend so much time fading in and out of sleep at the start, but screens should generally be off limits at this age.)

If your kid is one to two years old, they should be:

  • Active for three hours throughout the day (whether climbing a jungle gym at the park, toddling behind you as you do laundry or chasing a pet around the house).
  • Sleeping for 11 to 14 hours, including naps. And by now, they should have a fairly consistent bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Restrained in their car seat or stroller for no more than an hour at a time. Kids at this age should still not be having sedentary time with screens, but if they do, keep it under an hour. Toddlers shouldn’t be sitting for long stretches, but when they are, make the time interactive by reading a story or playing a game together.

If your kid is three to four years old, they should be:

  • Active for three hours throughout the day—and at least an hour of that should be energetic play.
  • Sleeping for 10 to 13 hours, with a regular bedtime and wake-up. For some kids, this may include a nap.
  • Restrained for no more than an hour at a time, and watching screens for no more than an hour total. Preschoolers really shouldn’t be sitting still for extended periods, so try to keep them busy and engage with them by doing something interactive during those times that they are sedentary.

Have an older kid? Check out the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, which came out last year.

If your kid’s day doesn’t quite measure up, you’re not alone: Only about 13 percent of preschoolers’ days follow this pattern.

Just who’s behind these new rules? The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology teamed up with the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta, the Public Health Agency of Canada and ParticipACTION to create the guidelines, which aim to bring a lot of existing data and guidelines on sleep, screen time and physical activity together. It makes sense, because all of these activities are connected. For instance, research shows that extra screen time, particularly before bed, can interfere with kids’ sleep.

The good news is that this means making small changes—like replacing a bit of their sedentary time with active play—can go further because there are indirect effects. Exercising more through the day will help them sleep better at night. And who knows, that additional sleep might give them the extra energy they need to run around outside longer the next day. So if you haven’t nailed the formula yet, just take it one step at a time.