Let the Summer Fun Begin
Summer has officially arrived! And Kaiser Permanente wants to encourage you to take advantage of the long days, warm weather, open pools, and the many local outdoor activities, to get fit, stay healthy and have a safe summer break.
“When we think of summer, we automatically think vacation, sleeping in, eating tasty (and often not so healthy) treats and keeping cool! While all this should be part of the summer experience, we need to remember that three months of unhealthy habits, can take a major toll,” says Robert Riewerts, MD, Chief of Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park Medical Center. “Studies have found that children are more vulnerable to sudden weight gain and accidents during the summer. With a little preparation, safety rules in place, parental monitoring, and an array of nutritious treats, we can do our best to ensure our children’s well-being during this fun time of the year,” added Dr. Riewerts.
Safety first! We encourage children to be active and spend time outdoors, but we also want them to take the necessary safety precautions! Make sure kids are wearing helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and appropriate shoes; remind them to look both ways before they cross; always use the sidewalk; and cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
Water safety… It’s of extreme importance! Whether it be a pool, lake, ocean or river, never leave a child unattended near or in the water and make sure the child is wearing a flotation device (Coast Guard approved). Install and use barriers around your home pool or hot tub. If you have an inflatable pool, remove the water whenever the pool is not in use. And most importantly, learn to swim and teach your children to swim too.
Be safe in the sun. Avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV light is strongest; generously apply a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher and remember to reapply; both children and adults should wear protective gear such as a hat, long-sleeve shirt and sunglasses. Babies should be kept completely out of the sun as much as possible before 6 months of age.
Think fresh and load up on the good stuff! Frozen fruit chunks, fruit infused water and crispy veggies are all great summer snacks. Remember to also load up on protein rich snacks such as unsalted nuts, dried soy beans, skim-milk cheese and low-fat yogurt.
Don’t buy what you don’t want them to eat! Processed, high-calorie, high-fat, high sodium snacks provide no nutritional value. With the summer heat, these snacks do little to increase a child’s energy level.
Make it a family affair! Go for an evening walk, ride or swim! Take advantage of the summer light. Participate in community summer activities. Visit your local park, recreation center, library or museum and find out what programs they are offering.
Set screen time limits! Children (3 years – pre-teen) should spend no more than one hour a day in front of a TV, computer, video game console, or handheld device; teens, no more than two hours.
Rethink your drink! Drinks provide more calories than most people realize. A 20 oz. soda contains 240 calories plus 16-18 teaspoons of sugar. Cut out sugary drinks and fill up on water. Remember that summer heat calls for extra hydration.
Lastly, and most importantly, laugh a lot, spend time with your loved ones and have yourself a great summer!