Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

26 Shevat 5763 - January 29, 2003 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Diplomate, Board Certification of Emergency Medicine

Chairman, Department of Emergency Medicine Ma'ayenei Hayeshua Hospital

One more column on children's problems, based on new information I have received through my medical reading. The American Heart Association has recently released guidelines to prevent heart disease from an early age. I will summarize the findings.

Obesity is a rampant problem in our kids. Eating habits are established early, and are hard to break. A fat kid at age 8 will remain so for life. Chubby people have significantly increased risks of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. This translates to high rates of heart disease, stroke and complications of diabetes.

Consider these dietary changes: lowering egg, red meat, bread, and pasta consumption. Commercial snacks are tasty -- and dangerous. Encourage fruit and find a vegetable that your kids like. This will prevent colon cancer as well. Borekas, pizza and malawach should never be in your house. I haven't bought soup croutons in years. Want some low fat recipes that your kids will like? Write me.

The AHA recommends first cholesterol screening at age 2. Children over ten with high cholesterol -- specifically the bad LDL type -- and who are obese, and don't exercise, are now treated with medications to lower the cholesterol. I hate repeating myself, but if you exercise your kids will be encouraged to. Have the money? Buy a treadmill or exercise bike. Don't have the money? Jump rope (yes men can jump rope too -- I do), go up the stairs in your building or town a few times, or walk outside briskly.

They are starting to measure blood pressure at age 3! Those with higher blood pressures are to receive blood pressure medications. Diabetes screening is beginning earlier as well. More and more kids are going to be taking medications to preserve their future.

Two last points on this subject. If anyone in the house smokes, your child has high risk of smoking as well. Same goes for drinking. Also, girls especially will help prevent future problems with osteoporosis by exercising at an early age and staying at it, and by making sure they always get enough calcium. There are some calcium supplements that come from oysters, so make sure that your vitamin comes with good rabbinical supervision or just make sure you eat the right foods.

Some news on weight loss. A new pill used by gynecologists for hormone control has been reported to cause weight loss. However, it really does so through its diuretic effects. That is, it causes fluid to leave the body. This isn't really lowering your fat levels, and this is indeed how many weight loss pills work: through causing fluid loss. There is an anti- epilepsy drug that does cause weight loss, but it has many side effects. Recognize there is no magic pill. Lots of self discipline can work with diet and exercise, and recent advances in surgery also work in healthy people. Write me in care of the Yated.

A message from Glaxo, sponsor of this column. An observational study in the UK sponsored by Glaxo showed that when using their drug Seretide, people with emphysema lived longer. Benefits for this drug combination are already known for asthma. If you have breathing problems -- this may be your solution.


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