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Tag: Pediatric Associates Phoenix


The Importance of Sleep

Children need a good night’s rest in order to properly grow and develop. While sleeping may seem like an easy enough activity to fit into a child’s day, our family practice specialists in Phoenix find that it is often overlooked. Families have busy schedules with school, after school programs, and one or more parents working. For a majority of families in Arizona, mornings start early and nights run late. Due to this schedule, children and adults alike are often sleep deprived. While it is important for adults to rest in order to function properly, sleep is even more crucial for children.

Mental and physical development depends directly on the amount and quality of sleep a child receives on a regular basis. When a child doesn’t receive enough sleep, our pediatricians at Pediatrix notice higher incidences of delayed physical development, higher risk of developing anxiety and depression, and an increase in behavioral problems such as ADHD.

The pediatricians at Pediatrix in Phoenix offer the following guide to help you determine how much sleep is essential for your child to properly grow and develop, according to your child’s age:

1 – 4 Weeks: 15 – 18 hours recommended. Newborns sleep a majority of the day, but in short periods usually lasting between two and four hours. At this stage, newborns have not yet developed an internal biological clock; therefore, they sleep without differentiating between night and day.

1 – 4 Months: 14 – 15 hours recommended. Babies at this age slowly begin to develop more regularity when it comes to their sleep patterns. They also sleep for longer periods at a time, usually between four and six hours.

4 – 12 Months: 14 – 15 hours recommended. At this age, 15 hours of sleep is the absolute ideal. Three naps are about average throughout the course of the day: the midmorning nap around 9 AM, the early afternoon nap between 12 and 2 PM and the late afternoon nap between 3 and 5 PM. At around 6 months of age, the number of naps can be reduced to two and babies gain the ability to sleep throughout the entire night.

1 – 3 Years: 12 – 14 hours recommended. Between one and three years of age, toddlers begin to nap only once a day, typically sometime in the early or late afternoon. They start to establish a more regular sleep routine, usually going to bed between 7 and 9 PM and waking between 6 and 8 AM.

3 – 6 Years: 10 -12 hours recommended. Children at this stage tend to keep the same sleep routine, but there is a slow reduction of napping. At three years old, the majority of children are still napping. By five years of age, very few children require a nap each day to function.

7 – 12 Years: 10 – 11 hours recommended. Children start to become very involved with school, homework, activities and friends, meaning there is less time available in the day for sleeping.  On average, children of this age only receive about nine hours of sleep per night, slightly below the recommended amount.

12 – 18 Years: 8 – 9 hours recommended. As teenagers, the combination of homework, activities and managing an active social life can become overwhelming.  Teenagers have difficulty finding the time for adequate sleep, which is essential to proper function of the body.

As a parent, it is important that you establish sound sleep patterns for your children. Children should be provided with an environment for quality sleep to ensure that they are getting the recommended amount of sleep for their age. By doing this, you will help your children to mentally and physically develop at a normal, healthy rate. Speak with family practice specialists in Phoenix for some helpful sleep tips.

If you are interested in learning more about child development, make an appointment with one of Pediatrix’s friendly, knowledgeable pediatricians in Phoenix. Our experienced pediatricians are well versed in child wellness, performing necessary examinations and checkups to sustain a child’s health. Visit our family practice specialists in Phoenix today. Call Pediatrix at (602) 866-0550 or contact us online with any comments, questions or concerns. Our Phoenix pediatric specialists would be more than happy to help.

Sincerely,

Subir K. Mitra, MD FAAP

Posted in Blog on January 17th, 2013

Influenza Vaccines

Every year in the United States, seasonal flu kills 24,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000. Infants and young children, especially under the age of five, make up a significant percentage of this statistic as they are a high risk group for developing flu complications, which typically require hospitalization. It’s best to get your child vaccinated as soon as the vaccine becomes available in your area so that your child will be protected once flu season hits. Keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after receiving the shot, so keep in contact with Phoenix pediatricians to find out vaccine distribution dates.

In children, the following individuals will be most at risk for severe flu complications:

  • Children under the age of five, and especially under the age of two. Those under two typically experience the most severe flu complications.
  • Children with chronic health problems such as asthma or diabetes.
  • Children under 6 months of age. Children should not be vaccinated until they are at least 6 months old, so the best way to protect your baby is to make sure everyone around them has been vaccinated.

Getting a flu shot is the first step in prevention of the flu, which could be potentially life threatening to a child. Last year, 52% of children under the age of 17 received the flu vaccination with a large percentage of children under two making up this statistic. Of the babies and toddlers, aged 6 to 23 months, 75% were vaccinated.

In addition to the vaccine, you and your family should also practice good hygiene to avoid spread of the flu. Don’t cough or sneeze into your hand, but rather into your arm or shirt. Make sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day using an anti-viral soap. Also, taking antiviral medications can help treat and prevent influenza for those more susceptible to complications.

Flu seasons are unpredictable; they can turn out to be fairly mild to very extreme, so it’s important to prepare your children by getting a flu vaccine prior to the start of the season. The knowledgeable and friendly Phoenix doctors at Pediatrix pride themselves on treating children with only the best care to ensure that they grow happily and healthily. In order to keep your children protected, our Phoenix pediatricians would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about this upcoming flu season. At Pediatrix, our Phoenix doctors strive for excellence and provide the most specialized care for each child. Please give us a call at (602) 866-0550 or visit us online today.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on October 5th, 2012

The Case for Eating Healthy

This is Part 1 in a 3-part series of eating healthy to prevent obesity and related health problems.

As a society, we are constantly trying to improve our health and the health of our children by making and encouraging healthier food choices and exercising to maintain or lose weight. Despite our best intentions, the rates of childhood and adult obesity have skyrocketed over the last 20 years.  To put this into perspective, Arizona’s obesity rates have gone from 10-14% in 1992 to well over 25% in 2012.  That is astounding.  We all hear about eating right and the importance of exercising; in fact, I have this conversation with my patients several times each day.   Unfortunately, no matter how much information I give, patients’ success rates for weight reduction are very low.  I have heard all the excuses:  “We try to eat healthy, but it’s too expensive”, “I exercise a lot without any results”, “We don’t have time to cook our own meals”, “We’ve tried a high protein diet or a low fat diet and to limit calories”. None of these excuses works to help patients permanently lose weight and the excuses only perpetuate the obesity problem.

 

While it may surprise you, I do not think portion size, lack of exercise, fast food and soda are the only culprits to blame in the obesity epidemic.  This summer I researched this topic further and have discovered that as our consumption of meat and dairy products has risen, so has our nation’s obesity level.  While some studies may be tedious for parents to read, there are a variety of easy to view documentaries on the subject.  My favorite is the documentary Forks Over Knives.  This is a game changer.  The researchers in this movie advocate a whole food, plant based diet—that is, a vegan diet.  I must admit, the very word “vegan” scared me.  With a vegan diet, individuals do not consume any animal products, which means no meat, fish, eggs or dairy.  What?  Give up meat, milk and my most beloved cheese?  How could I do that, much less ask my patients to do it?  After looking further into the issue and trying the vegan diet for myself, I have to say it makes a lot of sense.  All of the cholesterol and bad fats we consume are from animal products and processed foods.  Meat, including poultry, contains cholesterol.  When we eat meat, we also eat this cholesterol, which becomes a part of our bloodstream.  You may hope to avoid this by switching to fish, but this leads to other concerns, as many types of fish contain dangerously high levels of mercury.  Moreover, research is showing that meat and dairy products contain antibiotics and growth hormones, which are directly absorbed by those who consume these foods: us and our children.

 

But what about protein?  Don’t we, and our children, need protein?   We hear a lot about the need for protein from meat and dairy products.  While we do need this nutrient, the truth is that we don’t need nearly as much protein as we as a society presently consume.  Our consumption of meat per capita has increased dramatically in just the past 20-25 years.  Yet, our high protein meat based diets have not succeeded in improving obesity rates.  Substituting plant-based proteins for meat can still give us the nutrition our bodies need, with less health risk.  For instance, cultures with low consumption of meat and high consumption of plant-based foods typically have very low obesity rates.  Even if you do not want to become completely vegan, moving to a vegan diet 2 days, 3 days or even 6 days a week can help achieve weight loss and overall health.   Remember that this dietary change is a lifestyle change.   A plant-based diet can lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and risk for type II diabetes.  As a pediatrician, I am starting to see children with these issues.  The last thing I would ever want to do is put any of my patients on anti-hypertensive drugs and cholesterol reducing medications or have to treat them for type II diabetes.  Instead of prescribing medications for conditions related to unhealthy eating, I would rather prescribe healthy eating to prevent illness and obesity.

 

Part 2 of this series will discuss what to eat and the surprisingly low cost of eating healthy.

 

If you have a child with weight problems or would like to learn more about healthy eating, schedule an obesity or nutrition consultation with me at pediatrixmd.com or call for an appointment.

 

Sincerely,

 

Subir K. Mitra, MD, FAAP

Posted in Blog on August 31st, 2012