I am pleased to say we had a very successful first shared medical appointment at the West Roxbury site. Congratulations to all of our super-star patients and their families for coming, participating, and most importantly – for working so well together to come up with some fabulous ideas about how to be healthy!
Thank you to Fernanda, our nutritionist, for giving the group some excellent education about lipid (cholesterol) levels and how these are affected by the foods that we eat. We learned about the different types of cholesterol and that it’s important to maintain our cholesterol levels within certain goal ranges in order to protect cardiovascular health. Many of our participants had abnormalities in their lipid levels, and we had a good discussion about what the results mean and what we can do about them, as childhood health can have an impact on our health as adolescents and as adults.
At the beginning of a SMArt Kids program, we screen for diabetes and the function of the liver. We had great results for our participants, but both the ability to metabolize sugars and the function of the liver can be affected by excess weight, and this is why we monitor these functions closely.
We also spent some time talking about vitamin D. We discussed how important vitamin D is for our bones and overall health, and that in the winter time, our levels tend to particularly low. Many kids test low for vitamin D (as did most of our SMArt Kids) so it’s a good idea to check with your pediatrician about taking a vitamin D supplement for the remainder of our winter and spring months.
Together our SMArt Kids and their parents chose goals to work on over the next month. Many kids and parents were interested in starting by increasing physical activity level. Together we brainstormed about how to stay active during the winter months, when the cold, ice and dark skies pose challenges to keeping our bodies active. I was very impressed at the way our SMArt Kids helped each other to think of ideas – from climbing up & down stairs in the house, to using hoola hoops, jump ropes and Wii fit programs.
The kids did a great job trying to create a “healthy breakfast” from our selection of food cards. We learned that a healthy breakfast is one that includes a protein (such as egg, milk or yogurt), a whole grain (such as whole wheat toast, granola or oatmeal) and a fruit. For those who were not fruit lovers, they got to try clementines and realized that fruit is not so bad after all!
There were some fantastic ideas about healthy snacks for our next session – grapes, strawberries, carrots and celery sticks, to name a few! We are discovering how some of the healthiest foods can be delicious and satisfying!
Keep up the great work, West Roxbury SMArt Kids!! You guys rock! See you all again on March 16th.
Shira Brown, MD