Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Lauren Falini

POSTED: Wednesday, February 26, 2014, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini
For many of us, teasing by children while participating in physical activity may not seem like a big deal. Most of us have memories of being teased in gym class because of the way we ran, missed a catch, or being unable to climb the rope. Perhaps you were the last one picked for a team or didn’t make it through tryouts to be on a team. Is being teased sometimes during gym, recess, sports, or dance classes just part of growing up?

A recent study in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology suggests that teasing during physical activity is not that innocent and causes lasting effects on children. The study gave three questionnaires to 108 fourth and fifth grade students and then followed up with another questionnaire one year later. The questionnaires measured physical activity, teasing during the activity, and health-related quality of life.

The results of the study showed that overweight and obese children who were teased during physical activity had lower scores of health-related quality of life one year later. Even more interesting was that the study showed that ALL children who were teased during physical activity were at increased risk of being less active one year later. Simply put, if your child is teased while being physically active, it may decrease their quality of life and decrease their physical activity one year later.

POSTED: Thursday, December 19, 2013, 5:30 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini

Lots of children are asking for video games this Christmas, and parents are faced with question of whether or not to buy them. Will I have to fight with my children to get them to stop playing? Are they going be sitting on the couch with a controller in their hands, and eyes fixed on the TV screen all day and night? Will I have to force my child to do their homework and be active?

For many parents, the compromise is to buy their children “active” video games instead of sitting down games. At least they are getting some exercise, right?

Well, recent studies have shown that active video games are not as active as they claim.

POSTED: Wednesday, December 4, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Tips

It seems like 2-years-olds are always on the move. A typical day for a toddler might involve running around the house as your chasing him, wearing himself out at the playground, and racing around on a ride on toy.

But is this enough physical activity? What kind of exercise does a toddler need? The National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) recommends that toddlers 12 to 36 months old should get at least 30 minutes of structured adult led physical activity, and at least 60 minutes of unstructured physical activity or free play. It is also recommended that toddlers should not spend more than one hour being inactive except when they are sleeping.

These are important guidelines. Studies have found that active children sleep better, maintain healthier weight and remain active through childhood. Being active also helps prevent diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.

POSTED: Thursday, October 31, 2013, 9:49 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Obesity

What does your child say when someone asks about his or her favorite subject? Does your child usually say recess or gym? Do you cringe wishing that reading, math, or science was the answer? Actually, it’s not wrong to love recess or gym class, and recent studies show that recess and gym class are just as important as reading, math, and science for your child’s overall development.

With budgets being cut and pressure on academic performance increasing, it is no surprise that recess and gym class are being sacrificed. Research is showing that this is a big mistake and children need both recess and gym class.


POSTED: Wednesday, September 25, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Obesity | Tips

Could the childhood Obesity Epidemic really be improving? A recent study published in Pediatrics showed improving trends in physical activity, sedentary behavior, diet, and Body Mass Index in sixth to tenth grade students in the United States from 2001 to 2010. Researchers found an increase in the number of days a week children participated in at least 60 minutes of physical activity along with an increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and eating breakfast. They also found decreases in television viewing, eating sweets and drinking sugared beverages.

This is great news and shows significant improvements in teenagers doing healthy behaviors. Hopefully, this improvement reflects the education parents and children are receiving in schools, the community and doctors offices.

Another recent study showed that obesity rates have slightly decreased in preschool aged children in 18 different U.S. states. This also shows that we are successfully addressing childhood obesity in both preschool aged children and teenagers. This does not mean the epidemic is over. We still have a distance to go to reverse this epidemic, but we are moving forward. We can continue the fight by bringing healthy behaviors into our homes.

POSTED: Friday, August 2, 2013, 6:05 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Tips

Have you ever gone outside with your excited child ready to play and not sure what to do, or did your child start out excited to play basketball with you and complained after 10 minutes that it was no fun?

As you probably know, children need at least one hour of physical activity a day, and parents should play with their children to spend quality time bonding. It’s also important for a child’s health to be active and parents to be role models of physical activity. These are all great goals for families to strive for, but may not always be easy to achieve.

Here are 5 steps to make playing outside with your child easier, fun and effective. 

POSTED: Tuesday, July 16, 2013, 5:25 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Obesity | Tips

Are you tired of hearing, “I am bored, there’s nothing to do?” Are you getting frustrated that your kids are sleeping in late, watching TV, playing video games, or on the computer all day? Does your child look and act like they have no energy?

Are you worried your child is going to gain weight this summer, from all the extra snacking and screen time (TV, computer, video games, and cell phones), or your child is going to forget a good part of the lessons they learned last school year?

When children are in school, they follow a schedule: wake up at the same time every day, go to school, have class, eat lunch, and then have classes in the afternoon. They have a schedule after school they follow as well: after school activities, homework, dinner, and bedtime. Now that your child has gone from a schedule to what may seem like endless free time, it is no surprise that they are bored or spending their days reclining on the couch.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Fitness | Lauren Falini | Tips

With the summer months approaching, children and their parents are looking forward to long warm days playing in the sun. There are a myriad of outdoor activities that can keep kids busy such as sports in the backyard, summer camps, the pool, and long bike rides.

A recent article by the American Academy of Pediatrics addresses concerns that we should have about outside activities for children during the warmest time of the year. It is very important for children to play outside and be physically active throughout the summer, and you can do this by planning your child’s day to keep them safe from the sun and heat.

Here are five easy steps for safe and fun play in the sun:

  1. Prevent sunburn: The best form of protection against sunburn is to cover up as much as possible, wear a hat to shade your face and sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection. Stay in the shade when possible especially between 10 am to 4 pm when the sun is at its brightest. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. Sun screen must be SPF 15 or greater and reapplied every two hour.
  2. Dress for the sun: Wear light weight clothes that are light colors. This will help your child stay cool. Your child should only be dressed in one layer, so if they sweat the sweat can evaporate. Moisture wicking clothes are a great choice.
  3. Prevent dehydration: Let your child drink as much water as they want before you go outside. They should not go outside thirsty or begin any physical activity in the heat when they are thirsty. Make sure they take a water bottle with them when they go outside.
  4. Take breaks: Tell your child to take a break every 20 minutes. It does not have to be a long break, but a few minutes to get a drink and catch their breath. If it is really hot out or they are really sweating, take a break every 15-20 minutes.
  5. Watch for signs of overheating or dehydration: If your child complains of stomach or head pains, it could be a sign that your child is too hot or dehydrated. You should take your child to a cool place indoors with air conditioning if possible. Find some shade if that is not possible. Then give your child water to drink, and take some time to cool down.
About this blog
The Healthy Kids blog is your window into the latest news, research and advice around children's health. Learn more about our growing list of contributors here.

If you have questions about your child's health, ask them here.

Anna Nguyen Healthy Kids blog Editor
Stephen Aronoff, M.D., M.B.A. Temple University Hospital
Christopher C. Chang, M.D., Ph.D Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Mario Cruz, M.D St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children, Drexel University College of Medicine
Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D. Lead Psychologist - The Anxiety Behaviors Clinic, CHOP
Gary A. Emmett, M.D. Director of Hospital Pediatrics at TJU Hospital & Pediatrics Professor at Thomas Jefferson Univ.
Lauren Falini Bariatric exercise physiologist, Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
Hazel Guinto-Ocampo, M.D. Nemours duPont Pediatrics/Bryn Mawr Hospital
Rima Himelstein, M.D. Crozer-Keystone Health System
Anita Kulick President & CEO, Educating Communities for Parenting
Janet Rosenzweig, MS, PhD, MPA VP for Programs & Research for Prevent Child Abuse America
Beth Wallace Smith, RD Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
W. Douglas Tynan, Ph.D. Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Jefferson Medical Colg
Flaura Koplin Winston, MD, PhD Scientific Director of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Center for Injury Research and Prevention
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