Summer, the SMArt Kids way

| Posted On Jul 24, 2015 | By:

SMArt Kids active summerYou may have heard about or even read the recent (published June 29, 2015) American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) updated recommendations regarding pediatric obesity prevention. It affirms the message we have been consistently teaching at our SMArt Kids Shared Medical Appointments over the last four years – that children and families should embrace healthy habits each and every day, including eating a well-balanced diet, increasing physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviors.

The recommendation goes on to explicitly state that pediatricians should echo this message and help families find ways to adopt these healthy behaviors. This support should begin in infancy and continue through young adulthood. We’ve understood that families need help, and our SMArt Kids’ program is here to support them as they work to be healthier.

An excerpt from the AAP release summarizes this well:

“Even when families have knowledge of healthy behaviors, they may need help from pediatricians to motivate them to implement behavior changes,” said Stephen Daniels, MD, FAAP, chair of the AAP Committee on Nutrition. “Parents and other family members are strongly encouraged to adopt the same fitness and lifestyle changes as the child. Pediatricians can educate families, provide support, and help them stay on track.”

The following points, also taken directly from the AAP report, are supported by currently available evidence and are simple changes that families can implement now that can make a big difference:

This summer, while away on a family vacation or at the neighborhood cookout, I recommend that the SMArt Kids and their families remember our basic goals:

  1. Five servings of fruits and vegetables per day (try berries on your waffle for breakfast)
  2. Less than two hours of screen time (get the kids in the neighborhood to play capture the flag)
  3. One hour of active play per day (No excuses, get outside – summer is here!)
  4. Less than 4 ounces of sugared beverages per day (skip the sports drinks – most kids only need water for their athletic practices and games)
  5. Fast food less than once per week (Ask mom or dad to grill tonight)
  6. Get enough sleep! 10 hours is the goal. (No school means you can sleep in!)

SMArt Kids MyPlateIn addition, keep portion sizes and food types in check this summer by referring to the plate. Need seconds? Fill up the fruit and vegetable half of your plate instead of the other areas.

We look forward to seeing the SMArt kids in September, as they are always engaged, energized and enthusiastic – attributes that will enable them to work on our goals and return in the fall with more confidence and momentum. Thank you again – you inspire us all.

A big thank you as well to our SMArt Kids’ team. Thank you Diane Gaudette, Deb LeMaitre, Kristen Beninati, Chip Wilder and Linda Germaine-Miller. Have a safe and healthy summer! Keep up the SMArt work!

If you are interested in attending a SMArt Kids shared medical appointment (SMA), we would love it if you could join us. We meet once per month at the Harvard Vanguard Burlington Department of Pediatrics. Children ages 8-12 years are welcome to attend with a parent. Please call us at 781-221-2800 for more information or to enroll.

Resources for families:

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About Dr. Brittanny Boulanger

Joined Harvard Vanguard: 2005 Undergraduate School: Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH Medical School: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA Internship: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Residency: Golisano Children's Hospital, Rochester, NY Board Certification: Pediatrics Hospital Affiliations: Children's Hospital, Boston, MA; Winchester Hospital, Winchester, MA Clinical Interests: Newborn medicine and adolescent medicine Personal Interests: Running, soccer, hiking, skiing, travel and spending time with her two young children.

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