Let the Summer Fun Begin!

Kaiser Permanente Southern California Pediatrician Provides Tips for a Safe and Healthy Summer Season

Friday, June 21, 2013 | 11:40 am

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,” said David Cuan, MD, pediatrician, Kaiser Permanente Riverside Medical Center and regional pediatric obesity champion, Southern California Permanente Medical Group. “Studies have found that children are more vulnerable to accidents and sudden weight gain 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” added Dr. Cuan.

His recommendations:

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 10am and 4pm 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 should spend no more than two hours a day in front of a TV, computer, video game console, or handheld device.

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!

About Kaiser Permanente Southern California

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 3.6 million members in Southern California. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.

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