July 16, 2015

What To Do If Your Child Has ADHD

Your child is struggling in school. According to his teacher, he is hyperactive, has trouble paying attention and can’t control his behavior. What’s going on?

ADHDThose symptoms may be caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a condition that affects many children. It is also one that is easily misunderstood and sometimes written off as bad behavior. As a result, children with undiagnosed ADHD may experience academic and social problems that follow them into adolescence and adulthood. But when identified and treated early, ADHD can be managed.

“Once we achieve some control of ADHD symptoms through medication, I work with parents to determine whether the child has issues that we often see together with ADHD, such as depression, anxiety or others,” said Neal Spears, M.D., F.A.A.P., pediatrician with St. Joseph. “Studies show that early treatment of kids with ADHD significantly improves their long-term socioeconomic outcomes and reduces their risk of substance abuse and legal trouble, compared to untreated children with ADHD.”

Know the Signs

If you have noticed that any of the following habits or behaviors interfere with your child’s daily life, it may be time to talk to your pediatrician about the possibility of ADHD:

  • Boredom after spending only a few minutes on a task
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme impatience
  • Forgetfulness
  • Nonstop talking
  • Trouble following instructions

Your doctor will work with you, your child’s teachers and any other recommended consultants to help determine whether your child would benefit from medication or other forms of therapy. Standardized tests are often utilized in making this diagnosis.

Dealing with ADHD

It’s also important to help your child deal with ADHD by sticking to a daily routine, scheduling wake-up time, homework, playtime and bedtime.

“It helps for parents to teach a child with ADHD how to be very organized,” Dr. Spears said. “Part of their routine should be writing down everything they need to do, getting their backpacks ready for the next day before bed time, having a dedicated place in the home for doing homework and completing homework as soon as possible after school.”

To make an appointment with Dr. Neal Spears at St. Joseph Pediatrics, click here.

July 13, 2015

The Importance of Your BMI

iStock_00001125599-for-webYour Body Mass Index takes your weight and height and converts it to a score to tell you if you are at a healthy weight, underweight, overweight or obese. If you are overweight or obese, you could be at increased risk for several chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and some forms of cancer. It is important to monitor this number if you are overweight or obese and work with your physician to lower your BMI.

According to the National Institute of Health’s Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults, adults who have a BMI of 25 or more are considered at risk for premature death and disability as a consequence of overweight and obesity. These health risks increase even more as the severity of an individual’s obesity increases.

“BMI is used for screening and research purposes. Many people become upset when told they are overweight or obese,” reports Eric South D.O. “It is helpful to remember this does not take into account your body composition but is a strictly a measurement just like your blood pressure. We use this to open communication about ways to improve your lifestyle and prevent problems in the future.”

The NIH has set these standards for BMI. A BMI of 25 to 29 means you’re overweight; a BMI of 30 or more indicates obesity. But Body Mass Index as a measurement tool isn’t right for everyone. The measurement is based on your height and weight. It is an indirect measurement of fat, so it doesn’t differentiate pounds of fat from pounds of muscle and bone. That being said, it can still be helpful in determining if steps need to be taken to create a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of being diagnosed with a chronic disease.

BMI for Kids

As children grow and their bodies change, it can be difficult for parents to determine if their child is in a healthy weight range. Your child’s BMI can also help you determine if he is at risk for health problems based on his weight.

The CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend BMI screenings for all kids age 2 and older. Here’s what you need to know about checking on your child’s BMI and what to do with the info once you have it.

“Calculating a child’s BMI number starts out just like calculating an adult’s BMI. The measurements are based on height and weight,” says Dr. South. “But for kids, height and weight alone aren’t as accurate as they are for adults. This is because kids’ body fat percentages adjust as they grow. Kids’ BMIs can vary based on their age and gender.”

That’s why when healthcare providers talk about a child’s BMI; you usually hear a BMI percentile, like 75th. These BMI percentiles show how a child’s BMI compares to other children of the same age and gender. To calculate the BMI percentile — which is also called “BMI for age” — a healthcare provider will take a child’s BMI, age and gender and compare it on a pediatric growth curve. This gives the child’s BMI percentile.

BMI percentiles are grouped into weight categories:

Underweight: below the 5th percentile

Healthy Weight: 5th percentile up to the 85th percentile

Overweight: 85th percentile up to the 95th percentile

Obese: 95th percentile or higher

Eric South, D.O. is a family medicine physician with St. Joseph Family Medicine – Austin’s Colony. If you would like to make an appointment with him, click here or call 979-774-2121.




June 8, 2015

Healthy Swaps Made Simple

It is not easy to understand the best daily dietary choices you should make. Applying important nutrition lessons is even more difficult once you get to the supermarket or restaurant. That’s why the Best Bets Program was created!

Crafted by St. Joseph Regional Health Center and registered dietitian Linda Kapusniak, this program is designed to help you find the most heart healthy foods at your local Kroger while providing you with easy-to-follow tips that can make choosing healthy-nutrient-rich foods at the grocery store a cinch!

Selecting nourishing foods for your family can be a challenge. The St. Joseph Best Bets program makes it easy to choose heart-healthy options while grocery shopping or dining out. At Kroger stores in Bryan and College Station, look for foods with the St. Joseph heart label—which have lower amounts of sodium, sugar and fat—especially when shopping for these kid-approved favorites:

Breakfast cereals. “One bowl of many kid-branded cereals contains as much sugar as three cookies,” said Nanette Dacumos, M.D., physician with St. Joseph
Family Medicine. “Cereals that are Best Bets labeled are low in sugar and contain 100 percent whole grains.”

Whole grains. Not all whole-grain products live up to advertisers’ claims. Look for foods boasting the pink Best Bets label, which contain 100 percent whole grains.

Yogurt. One popular yogurt contains more saturated fat than a large order of fries. Choose yogurt high in calcium and low in fat and sugar.

For more information, visit http://www.st-joseph.org/bestbets.


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