Childhood obesity is a serious public health issue that compromises the wellness of the next generation. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, which takes place in September, strives to raise awareness about the epidemic of obesity among U.S. children. At Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our specialists in pediatrics encourage our neighbors throughout Las Vegas to become informed of the solutions for preventing and treating childhood obesity.
The Facts and Stats About Childhood Obesity
During the past three decades, the incidence of obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in teens. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seven percent of children ages six through 11 in the U.S. were obese in 1980. By 2012, that statistic had risen to almost 18%. Adolescents have been similarly affected. In 1980, the percentage of adolescents aged 12 through 19 years was at just five percent; by 2012, that statistic had risen to 21%. Children who are overweight or obese are at a significantly higher risk of short-term and long-term health consequences. In childhood and adolescence, these individuals may be diagnosed with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, prediabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and psychological issues. Later in life, these individuals display a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, osteoarthritis, and type 2 diabetes.
The Role of Parents in Preventing Obesity
Parents play an integral role in preventing childhood obesity, since parents are typically responsible for purchasing groceries, preparing meals, and setting house rules. Parents also set an example for their children. Kids who see their parents making healthy lifestyle choices are more likely to follow suit and vice versa.
The Responsibilities of Communities
The bulk of the work of preventing childhood obesity is done at home, but communities also play a role. Community leaders can advocate for “walkable” neighborhoods and work to eliminate food deserts, which limit families’ abilities to obtain fresh, healthy foods. Similarly, schools can implement nutrition education programs and offer healthy choices in cafeterias.
Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital , our pediatric clinical dietitians are available to provide nutritional information and wellness education for families in the greater Las Vegas area. Our children’s hospital is also a leading provider of high-risk pregnancy care and children’s emergency care. You can reach a registered nurse by calling (702) 233-5437.
As children grow older, it’s important that they begin to learn how to navigate the healthcare system. Handing over certain healthcare responsibilities to your daughter and acknowledging that she has a confidential relationship with her pediatrician are essential steps to raising a young adult with healthcare literacy . When it’s time for your daughter’s first gynecologic visit, you can put your trust in Sunrise Children’s Hospital in Las Vegas.
Explain what your teen can expect at the appointment.
It’s perfectly normal for teens to experience a little anxiety before going to the children’s hospital for a first gynecologic appointment. Often, this anxiety is attributable to a lack of understanding about what to expect. Explain to your daughter that the initial visit primarily consists of a discussion between her and her doctor. Her doctor will ask lots of questions about her health history and family health history, including questions about her typical menstrual period and sexual activity. Your daughter can also expect to receive a general physical exam, which includes a check of her vital signs and an evaluation of any symptoms she’s experiencing. Sometimes, an external genital exam is included at the first gynecologic visit, although pelvic exams are usually not performed at this time unless atypical symptoms are present.
Help your teen feel at ease.
At this stage in your daughter’s life, it’s quite possible that she’s experiencing heightened self-consciousness about her body. Reassure your daughter that doctors are respectful, compassionate professionals who have already seen everything there is to see about the human body. Remind your daughter that the patient-doctor relationship is strictly confidential and that the most important thing is for her to be completely honest with her doctor about her health, including sexual activity.
Make suggestions for what she might want to discuss.
Your teen’s first gynecologic appointment is a good opportunity for her to get the answers to the questions that she may be too embarrassed to ask you about. Let your daughter know that she can ask the doctor about anything —from mood swings to acne to weight.
Sunrise Children’s Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of families in Las Vegas for more than three decades. At our children’s hospital, you’ll find a comprehensive range of care-from high-risk pregnancy prenatal care to preventive pediatrics to children’s emergency care. If you have a general healthcare question, you can speak with a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.
Pediatric cancer is often very different from cancer in adults. However, the primary treatment modalities remain the same. A pediatric oncologist at Sunrise Children’s Hospital will carefully evaluate the stage and type of cancer in each patient to develop an appropriate treatment plan. For many young patients at our children’s hospital in Las Vegas, this treatment plan will include multiple types of treatment as well as support services.
Watch this featured video to hear a pediatric surgeon at Sunrise Children’s Hospital discuss the role of surgery in oncology cases. He explains that the surgical removal of the tumor is often an appropriate option for children with solid mass tumors. During cancer surgery, the goal is to remove all of the tumor or as much of it as possible, while preserving the normal function of the affected body part. In some cases, pediatric patients may later undergo reconstructive surgeries.
Compared to cancer in adults, cancer in children tends to grow rapidly. While this sounds alarming, it actually means that pediatric oncology patients tend to respond very well to chemotherapy because these anti-cancer drugs tend to target rapidly growing cells. Chemotherapy is often recommended in combination with cancer surgery if the cancer has formed a solid mass tumor. When chemotherapy is administered after the surgery, it serves to destroy any lingering cancer cells in the body.
Like chemotherapy, radiation therapy may be performed along with cancer surgery and/or chemotherapy. When performed before surgery, radiation therapy serves to shrink the size of the tumor. Radiation therapy can even be performed during surgery to target the cancer directly and bypass the skin. This is known as intraoperative radiation.
Regardless of the types of treatment that were used for a child, he or she will require long-term follow-up care. Certain types of cancer treatment may increase the likelihood of developing other cancers later on. The patient’s lifetime of follow-up care includes regular blood tests and check-ups.
Pediatric Oncology and Special Services at Sunrise Children’s Hospital encompasses a continuum of care for young patients and their families. The multidisciplinary team at our children’s hospital in Las Vegas treats the majority of all pediatric oncology cases in Southern Nevada. You can call our Consult-A-Nurse line at (702) 233-5437 if you have a general question about the services available at our children’s hospital or if you would like to request a referral to a specialist in pediatrics.
Millions of children in the U.S. have at least one food allergy. Some of the most common are eggs, fish, shellfish, milk, and peanut allergies . Sometimes, kids can outgrow certain food allergies, while other food allergies last for a lifetime. Since the exposure to an allergen has the potential to trigger anaphylaxis—a life-threatening reaction—practicing strict avoidance of the allergen is crucial. And because accidents can happen at any time, it’s a good idea to know the location of the nearest children’s emergency care department in Las Vegas. Here at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, our specialists in pediatrics can help your family learn how to safely manage your child’s food allergies.
Using age-appropriate language, teach your child about the importance of avoiding “unsafe food” and eating only “safe food.” Try not to scare your child, but do emphasize that unsafe food can make him or her very sick. For optimum management of food allergies , it may be necessary for everyone in the family to follow a modified diet and avoid bringing the allergen into the home. While grocery shopping, you should check food labels carefully. Manufacturers are required to inform consumers if the food product contains an allergen or may have been cross-contaminated during manufacturing. If your child has multiple food allergies, preparing healthy meals can be challenging. Consider working with a pediatric nutritionist.
Your child’s school should be informed of the food allergy. The school should establish a written emergency action plan for the prevention, recognition, and management of food allergies. This includes having at least two units of auto-injector epinephrine on hand for every child with a food allergy.
Your child will need to have access to an auto-injector of epinephrine everywhere he or she goes, including to friends’ houses. When your child meets a new friend, be sure to contact the parents and explain your child’s food allergy. Emphasize the importance of keeping the allergen away from your child and preventing cross-contamination. The friend’s parents should also be given a demonstration of how to use an auto-injector if a serious allergic reaction occurs.
If your child does suffer an adverse reaction to food, the children’s emergency care team is always available at Sunrise Children’s Hospital . Families in the Las Vegas area are urged to call 911 in the event of a serious medical emergency. For non-emergent inquiries about our children’s hospital, you can speak with a registered nurse at (702) 233-5437.