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Active Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
A Healthy Balance
Ankle Sprains
Active Kids, Healthy Kids
Active Kids in Winter
Athletic Skin Infections
Children, Nutrition & Exercise
Beat the Heat!
Cold Weather Workouts
Concussions
Core Stability
Cross Country Skiing
Exercise and Disabilities
Exercise and Menstrual Irregularities
Exercise in the Cold
Exercise in the Heat
Exercise is Medicine
Exercise Options
Exercising in Pregnancy
Female Athletes
FITT Prescription
Footwear for Running
From Surviving to Thriving
Flexibility
Gadgets & Gizmos
Get Moving!
Get Motivated
Golf Exercises
Golf Injury Prevention
Head Injuries
Hockey Injuries
Home Gyms
Immunization
Jump Start Weight Loss
Knee Cap Pain
Knee Ligament Injuries
Live Actively
Low Back Pain
Osteoporosis & Exercise
Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis of the Knee
Plantar Fasciitis
Prehistoric Workout
Prevention of Sports Injury
Proprioception
Recreational Safety Equipment
Running
Safe Snow Shovelling
Shin Splints
Ski Conditioning
Shoes & Fit
Sore Elbow
Sore Shoulder
Spinal Cord Injuries
Staying Active
Staying Fit in the Cold
Sports Nutrition & Supplements
Strength Training
Swimming Injuries
Teen Sports Injuries
Walking
Water and Exercise
Weight Training
7 Wonders of Walking
Adolescent Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Acne
Adolescent Behaviour Problems
Adolescent Growth & Development
Body Image
Body Piercing
Bullying
Chronic Diseases in Teens
Communications Skills
Concussion in Sport
Cosmetics & Skincare
Dangers of Artificial Tanning
Depression
Depression - Causes
Drug Use
Female Physical Exam
First Period
Internet Safety
Junior High
Mentoring to Quit Smoking
Mononucleosis
Parent-Teen Communication
Parent -Teen Interaction Patterns
Personal Care
Psychological Assessment
School Problems
Self Esteem
Self Esteem & Body Image
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Talking About Sex
Taking Chances
Tattoos
Teaching Respect
Teens & Smoking
Teenage Blues
Teen Bedwetting
Teen Drivers
Teen Girls
Teen Health
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Teen Rebellion
Teens & Divorce
Teenagers and Sexual Issues
Teens & Exercise
A Woman's Physical
Your First Job
Youth Violence
Childbirth
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advice from the Maternity Clinic
Advice from the Maternity Clinic (Part 2)
Alcohol in Pregnancy
Building a Better Baby
Birthing Etiquette
Birth Plans
Birthing Procedure Trends
Bleeding in Pregnancy
Breastfeeding Benefits
Caesarean Section by Request
Care for the New Mother
Cord Blood Banking
Delaying Motherhood
Blue after Baby or Postpartum Depression
Diabetes in Pregnancy
Eating Well for Pregnancy
Evolving Ideas about Pregnancy and Birth
Exercise in Pregnancy
Flying During Pregnancy
Folic Acid in Pregnancy
High Blood Pressure in Pregnancy
Getting a latch on breastfeeding
Group B Streptococcus
Induction of Labour
Infections During Pregnancy
Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR)
In-Vitro Fertilization
Low Birth Weight Babies
Medication & Pregnancy
Miscarriage
Managing Your Own Labour
Monitoring Your Labour
Nausea & Vomiting in Pregnancy
Pain Relief in Labour
Prenatal Classes
Preterm Labour
Planning a Pregnancy
Pregnancy Weight
Prenatal Care Providers
Postpartum Repetitive Strain Injuries
RH Disease
Rupture of Membranes Before Labour
Sex During Pregnancy
Skin Changes in Pregnancy
Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
Ultrasound for Fun & Photos
Natural Remedies in Pregnancy
Vaccinations During Pregnancy
Vacuum & Forceps for Delivery
Vaginal Birth After Caesarean
When Baby Comes Home
Childhood
Full Listing with story descriptions
Asthma in Children
Attention Deficit Disorder
Babysitter
Bed Wetting
Chickenpox
Childcare Options
Children's Headaches
Childhood Obesity
Choosing A Babysitter
Circumcision
Colds & Flu
Common Childhood Skin Infections
Croup
Developmental Milestones
Diaper Rash
Daytime Wetting
Introducing Solid Foods
Developmental Co-ordination Disorder
Diarrhea
Discipline
Earache
Eczema
Feeding Your Baby
Feeding Your Toddler
Fever
Head Lice
Hearing
How Children Grow
Hearing Loss
Hearing Issues in Newborns
Heart Murmers
Hip Clicks
Influenza
Iron
Is it an Emergency?
Children and Sports Injuries
Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)
Learning Disabilities
Leg Problems
Not Just Baby Fat
Orthodontics
Preparing for Lab Tests
Recognizing Learning Disabilities
Red Rashes
RSV-Childhood Respiratory Virus
Safe Summer Fun
School
Scoliosis
Sick Toddler
Sleep Struggles
Sniffles, Fevers, Rashes & Coughs
Sore Throats
Speech Problems
Strep Throat
Toddler Safety
Thumbsucking
Tooth Injuries
Tummyache
Urinary Tract Infections
Vaccinations
Vaccination and Autism
When to go to the Doctor
Whooping Cough
Worried Sick
Yeast Infections in Children
Chronic Pain
Full Listing with story descriptions
Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
Moving Forward
Nutrition
Opioids
Pacing
Pain Medications
Prevention
Returning to Work
Understanding and Goal Setting
When Pain Doesn't End
Dental Health
Full Listing with story descriptions
Antibiotics and Dental Surgery
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Baby Teeth
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Children's Dental Injuries
Choosing a Dentist
Cosmetic Dentistry
Mouth Guards
Dental Exam
Dental Care Devices
Dental Caries
Dental Care Offshore
Dental Implants
Dental X-Rays
Dentures and Healthy Jaw
Esthetic Dentistry
Fluoride
Fluoride Findings
First Dental Visit
Headaches
A Healthy Mouth
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body
Jaw Joint and Muscle Problems
Keeping it Clean
Laser Use in Dentistry
Mouth Protection Equipment
Oral Cancer Screening
Oral Healthcare
Oral health and long term care
Oral Health Care Products
Orthodontics
Orthodontist First Visit
Painless Dentistry
Periodontal Disease
Removable Dentures
Root Canal
Seniors Oral Care
Sensitive Teeth
The Smile You Want
Sore Mouth, Aching Jaw
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
Tongue Piercing
Tooth Whitening
Travel Dentistry
Water Fluoridation
Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
Full Listing with story descriptions
10,000 Steps
A1C Test
Accurate Blood Glucose Testing
Alchohol and Diabetes
A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
Artery Health
ASA Therapy
Benefits of Insulin
Benefits of Breakfast
Blood Glucose Medications
Blood Glucose Myths
Blood Glucose Testing
Blood Glucose Testing Tips
Blood Sugar Lows
Blood Glucose Monitors
C-Peptide Testing
Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
Colds and Diabetes
Constipation
Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
Diabetes Etiquette
Diabetes and Oral Health
Diabetes and Thyroid Disease
Diabetes and Your Mouth
Diabetes and Your Eyes
Diabetes in Cats
Diabetes in Dogs
Diabetes Management ABCs
Diabetes Meter Technicians
Diabetes Myths
Diabetic Ketoacidosis
Diabetic Retinopathy
Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
Drinking and Diabetes
The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
Exercise Excuses
Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Financial Support for Diabetes
Food Temptation
Foot Care
Footwear and Foot Health
Fruits and Veggies
Gastroparesis
Gestational Diabetes
Get Active
Get Physical
Gift Ideas
Glycemic Index and Glycemic Loads
The Glycemic Index
Going Green in the Kitchen
Grocery Shopping Tips
Guidelines for Diabetes Management
Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
Healthy Beverage Choices
Health Benefits of Soy
Healthy Restaurant Meals
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
HbA1c Test
Healthy Eating for Active People
High Blood Lipids
Home from the Hospital
Home Alone and Sick
Hypoglycemic Unawareness
Impaired Glucose Tolerance
Immunization & Diabetes
Incretins-a Hormone Treatment
Injecting Insulin
Insulin Discovery-The Story
Insulin
Insulin Handling
Insulin - the Key to Energy Management
Insulin Pumps
Insulin Pen Needles
Insulin Pump Infusion Sets
Insulin Pump Therapy
Immunization and Diabetes
Internet Health Sites
Islet Cell Transplantation
Insurance
Ketones
Kidney Disease - Reducing the Risk
Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
Living Powerfully with Diabetes
Low Blood Glucose
Managing Diabetes
Managing Blood Glucose
Metformin
Nutrition Food Labels
Meal Planning
Your Medication Expert
Medication Research Studies
Metabolic Syndrome
Microalbuminuria
New Diabetes Technologies
Natural Medicines and Diabetes
No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
Over-the-Counter Medications
Oral Health and Diabetes
Osteoporosis and Diabetes
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Pedicure Precautions
Peripheral Arterial Disease
Pet Diabetes
Planning for Pregnancy
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Preparing for Activity
Putting off Insulin
Reducing Stress of Surgery
Safe and Successful Travel
Schizophrenia and Diabetes
Sensible Snacking
Setting Health Goals
Setting Goals for Physical Activity
Sharps Disposal
Shorter Insulin Needles
Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
Snacking with Diabetes
Sodium
Social Media & Diabetes
Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
Supplements
Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
Sweeteners
Sugar, Carbs and Blood Glucose Control
Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Traveling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes Medications
Understanding Ketones
Used Sharps
Urinary Incontinence
Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
Vitamin D
Walking
Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
Wonderful Water
Natural Medicines & Diabetes
World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
Full Listing with story descriptions
ADHD in Children
Allergic Rhinitis
Allergies
Antibiotic Use
Arthritis
Aspirin Every Day?
Asthma
Back Pain
Back Pain Myths
Back Pain - Lower
Birth Control
Bladder Problems
Blood Transfusions
Breaast and Prostate Cancer Screening
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Check-Up
Colon Cancer Screening
Contact Lenses
Contraception
COPD
Cost of Doctor's Visit
Diabetes Management
Diarrhea
Diagnostic Tests
Do I Need a Bone Density Test?
Doctor Visit
Driving Vision
Dizziness
Dealing with Dry Eyes
Does My Sore Knee Require an MRI?
Do I Need an Annual Physical?
Eczema
Electronic Medical Records
Epilepsy
Eye Exam
Family Doctor
Fibromyalgia
Floaters and Flashes
Food Poisoning
5 Ways to Stay Healthy
Gallbladder
Get Active!
Glare
Headaches
Healthcare Teams
Heart Health
Hemorrhoids
Hepatitis C
Human Papilloma Virus
High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure Risks
How to Talk to Your Doctor
Hypothyroidism
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Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Joint Replacement Surgery
Kidney Disease
Lazy Eye Blindness (Amblyopia)
Medical Digital Technology
Migraine
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Obesity
Opioid Myths
Primary Healthcare Reform
Prostate Problems
Quitting Smoking
Red Eyes
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Restore Your Core
Rosacea
Screening Tests
Shingles
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Special Diagnostic Tests
Stopping Stroke
Stroke
Superbugs
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Vaccination Controversies (ask the doctor)
Win by Losing
Urinary Tract Infections
Vision Flickers
First Aid
Full Listing with story descriptions
Bites and Stings
Burns
Choking
Cuts and Scrapes
Eye Injuries
Fainting and Convulsions
First Aid Travel Kit
Hypothermia and Frostbite
Nosebleeds
Poisoning - Household
Emergency Care Guidelines
Sunburn
Growing Older
Full Listing with story descriptions
Advance Care Plans
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Alzheimer Disease
Avoiding Memory Loss
Building Strength
Dementia and Agitation
Cataracts
Can I see Well Enough to Drive?
Cholesterol
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Coping with Dementia
Constipation
Controlling Medications
C.O.P.D.
Delirium
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Eating Well
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Exercise Benefits
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Eye Care
Eyesight and Driving
Feet
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Fungal Nail Infections
Get Active!
Glaucoma
Grief
Have Health, Will Travel
Health Tips for Seniors
Hearing
Incontinence
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Lab Tests
Living Longer With Diabetes
Macular Degeneration
Male Menopause (Andropause)
Maintaining Quality of Life as You Age
Memory Loss
New Corneal Treatments
Nutrition for Seniors
Osteoarthritis
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Retirement
Seniors and Medications
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Screening Tests
Seniors and Driving
Sleeplessness
Skin Structure
Skin Protection
Skin Over 50
Solving Sleep Issues
Staying Healthy
Stroke Prevention
Travel Tips for Snowbirds
Wills and Personal Directives
Modern Living
Full Listing with story descriptions
Abuse
Acupuncture
Adult ADHD
Aging and Memory
Alcohol and Your Health
Anger Management
Antidepressants
Barbecue Basics
Bathtub Safety
Binge Drinking
Bisphenol A
Canada's New Blood System
Caring for a Loved One Dying at Home
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Computer Stress
Coping With Change
Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic Pesticides
Depression
Diabetes Epidemic
Discipline
Diseases from Pets
Downsizing
Dying at Home
Erectile Dysfunction New Treatments
Exotic Travel
Fertility Issues
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Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
Grief
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Healing Through Music
Healthy Computing
Humidex
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Indoor Air Quality
Lymphedema
Mature Student
Melamine in Food
Middle Age Health
Mind-Body Connection
Mom Time
Money Matters
Outdoor Workers and Sun Safety
Patient Safety in the Hospital
Pets and Health Benefits
Pet Therapy
Physiotherapy Visit
Planning for End of LIfe
Reproductive Freedom
Safe Drinking Water
Schizophrenia
Smokeless Tobacco
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Soy
Stigma of Mental Illness
Street Drugs
Stressed or Depressed?
Stress in the Workplace
Stress Leave
Swim to Survive
Sunburn
Time Management
Travel Health Protection
Travel Comfort Tips
Travel Immunization
Understanding Change
Unplugging
Whiplash
Wind Chill Index
Workplace Drug Testing
Workplace Health
Nutrition
Full Listing with story descriptions
5 Tips to Manage Weight
10 Ways to Cut Down on Fat
Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
Body Image
Breakfast is Important
Bowel Health
Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
Food Allergies
Food for Active Kids
Fast Food
Food Labels
Giving Up Gluten
Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
Fat Phobias
Fats & Cholesterol
Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
Healthy Habits
Herbal Medicine and Nutrition
New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
Kid's Food
Liquid Candy
Meal Planning with Planned Overs
Mercury Levels in Fish
Night Snacking
Night Shift Eating
Nutrition on the Net
Nutrition Myths Busted
Nutrition Questions Top 5
Nutrition for Menopause
Essential Omega-3
Preventing Cancer Through Nutrition
Picky Eaters
Power of Fruits & Veggies
Portion Control
Power Lunch
PMS and Nutrition
Preparing for Surgery
Probiotics
Reducing High Blood Pressure
Replacement Meals
Sensible Snacking
Sodium
Sodium and Blood Pressure
Sports-Minded Nutrition
Sugar Substitutes
Survive and Thrive
Teen Nutrition
Tips for a SuperDiet
Understanding Food Biotechnology
Vacation Eating
Vitamins D
Vitamins and Minerals
Vegetarian Diet
Weight Loss
Weight Wise Tips
Pharmacy Care
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After a Heart Attack
Adverse Drug Reactions
Adult Vaccinations
Allergy Attack
Antibiotic Overuse
New Anticoagulant Medications
Inhaled Asthma medications
Arthritis Medications
Biologics
Biological Response Modifiers
Blood Pressure Monitoring
Blood Thinners
Calcium and Iron Supplements
Changing Role of the Pharmacist
Children's Cold Remedies
Child's Fever
Choosing Sunscreens
Cold Relief
Cold Sores
Constipation and Haemorrhoids
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Drug Recalls and Withdrawals
Drug Interactions
Emergency Contraception
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Expanding Role of Pharmacies
Eye Protection - Sunglasses
Feminine Hygiene
Generic or Name Brand?
Heartburn
Heart Health
Insomnia
Kids and Cold Medications
Medication Questions?
Metabolic Syndrome
Natural Medicines
New Blood Thinners
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Obesity Medication
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Over-the-Counter Drugs and Pregnancy
OTC Pain Relief
Packing Medications for Travel
Pharmaceutical Studies
Preventing Summer Hazards
Research Studies
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Sports & Nutrition Supplements
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Take as Directed
Using Antibiotics Wisely
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Your Best Shot
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Prevention
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Antibiotic Resistance
Backpack Pain
Bacteria Fight Back
Bedbugs
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Caffeine
Cell Phones and Driving
Childhood Obesity
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Cold and Flu Season
Disaster Planning
Diseases from Pets
Distracted Driving
Farm Safety for City Kids
Foodborne Illness
Flu Pandemic
The Flu and You
Heading Home for a Visit
Health Tips for Snowbirds
Hearing Loss and Music Players
H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
Household Mould
Infection Control
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Live Actively!
Insect Repellant
Keys to Preventing Cancer
Kids' Mental Health
Live Actively!
Low Birth Weight
Meningitis
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Are Pesticides Safe?
Preventing Burns and Scalds
Preventing Cancer through Nutrition
Quit Smoking 101
Respiratory Infections
Seniors and STIs
Should You Immunize?
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Surviving Disaster
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Teens, Drugs and Driving
Travel Health Considerations
Travel Medicine 101
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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
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15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
Anemia
Approaching Menopause
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Breast Cancer - Genetic Risks
Breast Cancer Self-Exam
Breast Cancer Screening Guidelines Changes
Breast Health
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Contraception for Mature Women
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Estrogen's Effect on the Brain
Fear of Fracture
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Hirsutism - Unwanted Hair
Hormone Replacement Therapy
The IUD
Menopause - What Men Should Know
Menstrual Bleeding - Abnormal
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Menopause
Menstruation Myths
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Third Generation Birth Control Pills
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Sexually Transmitted Infections
Urinary Incontinence
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Viagra for Women
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Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
All Words Any Words Phrase
Family Health Magazine - PREVENTION

Growing Too Big
What parents should know about childhood obesity

Almost every day, you can find news stories about the epidemic of obesity in North America and the health consequences of expanding waistlines. While the media often focus on adults, our children are following the same path. Many ‘adult’ chronic diseases are now being diagnosed in overweight children. Advice on dealing with obesity is plentiful – but often conflicting. Parents are confused about how to recognize or prevent extra weight in their kids. It can be difficult to know how to help.

Children constantly change – in size, eating habits and physical abilities. Height and weight gains can reassure parents that a child is healthy and has enough to eat. It can be very challenging to know how much weight gain in childhood and adolescence is too much! Thankfully, there are tools that help tell the difference between a child growing normally and one whose weight indicates a risk of health problems.
BMI = weight(kg)
  height (m)2
One such tool is the body mass index (BMI). The BMI compares the weight and height of an individual child, and is calculated as follows:Once the BMI is calculated, it can be plotted on a BMI growth chart. As with familiar weight and height charts, the chart provides a BMI percentile. The growth of the individual child can be compared to the range of normal BMI for that age group. For instance, a BMI at the fifth percentile indicates only five per cent of children have a BMI less than that value. A BMI at the 85th percentile indicates that 85 per cent of children have a lower BMI.

What is a healthy BMI?

Children growing normally tend to stay on a similar percentile line throughout childhood. In general, values between the fifth and 85th percentiles are considered to be within the normal range. When a BMI value is between the 85th and 95th percentiles, the child is at risk of being overweight. A value above the 95th percentile indicates too much weight. If a BMI percentile continually moves upward, that child’s eating and physical activity habits may lead to excess weight even if the range is below the 85th percentile.

Are there really more overweight children now than in the past?

Using the BMI as a guide, we can compare children from the last several decades to today’s children.

The graph here shows the percentage of children at risk of excess weight (with a BMI in the 85th to 95th percentile) and overweight (greater than 95th percentile). Over a 30-year period, the at-risk group rose from about 15 to about 23 per cent, while the overweight group rose from five to 10 per cent. In 2004, 30 to 40 per cent of children are estimated to be at risk while 15 per cent are overweight. This is a significant increase from 1991. While it took over 30 years for the rate of overweight to double from five to ten percent, the increase from 10 to 15 per cent took less than 15 years. This data leaves no doubt that the number of overweight children is increasing quickly!

Why are weights increasing?

For anyone, adult or child, weight is the result of an energy balance equation:

Calories
-
Calories
=
Body
In
Out
Weight

All of our calorie intake comes from food and can be changed by eating more or less. Calorie output maintains body functions including breathing, digesting food, growth, and physical activity. Since calorie output needed for body functions and growth remains fairly constant, the only way to change energy output is by changing physical activity.

Modern society has had a major impact on both the amount we are eating and the physical activity we do. High-calorie foods are readily available, convenient and fairly inexpensive. We are able to live comfortably without doing as much. TV, computers and other inactive pursuits have replaced leisure-time physical activity. The result is a society of adults and children who are gaining too much weight.

Are children affected by being overweight?

Yes, excess weight affects children in many ways. Diseases previously seen only in adults are showing up in astonishing numbers in our children.

Heart disease: Overweight children are more at risk of coronary (heart) artery disease that can lead to heart attacks. High blood pressure is 2.4 to seven times more common among overweight children, while high cholesterol levels are three times more common. A study was done of overweight adolescent boys (15 to 19 years) who died of causes not related to being overweight. It showed that some had developed advanced coronary artery disease before reaching their 20th birthday.

Diabetes: In 1982, only four per cent of children newly diagnosed with diabetes had type 2 diabetes. This type develops with excess weight as the body becomes resistant to its own insulin. Today, some clinics have found that up to 45 per cent of kids newly diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes; many of these boys and girls are overweight. Overweight children have a high risk of developing the insulin resistance that can lead to diabetes. The risk can be 12.5 times more than that of a normal-weight child.

Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea, where breathing stops during sleep due to obstruction of the airways, may occur in 25 to 30 per cent of overweight children. It can lead to physical problems as well as difficulty with behaviour and school due to lack of sleep.

Bone problems: The bones and joints of an overweight child undergo extra stress and wear. Several bone and joint problems happen only (or much more frequently) in overweight children.

Liver disease: In recent years, a condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has been recognized among overweight people. In NASH, an accumulation of fat leads to inflammation in the liver. This uncommon problem has been increasingly seen in overweight children, and can lead to permanent liver damage.

Quality of life: Convincing evidence shows that overweight kids feel that they have a poorer quality of life compared to their peers of normal weight. If the child has medical complications, the difference is even greater.

What can parents do?

The solution begins at home. Diet and physical activity are key to body weight, and patterns of eating and activity are usually established within in the family. Since many overweight children have at least one overweight parent, developing a healthier lifestyle is good for everyone in the family!

Diet

Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating (www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hpfb-dgpsa/onppbppn/food_guide_
rainbow_e.html
) is an excellent tool to help on the road to healthier eating. Since eating habits are established over a lifetime, be patient in making changes. Making a small change that becomes a permanent habit is more valuable than a complete dietary overhaul that only lasts a week. Look for ways to make change easier, such as planning meals and buying and preparing foods ahead of time. Work together as a family. Here are a few ways to work toward healthier eating.

Increase fruits and vegetables. Most people – adults and children alike – don’t consistently meet the recommendations for this food group. Rather than focusing on what you or your child can’t eat, try to increase the amount of fruits and vegetables.

Check on dairy. As children get older, dairy intake often decreases. It is the most important source of calcium in the diet, so growing children should eat (but not exceed) the recommended intake. This may be another area where intake can be increased.

Check portion sizes. The food guide shows the amount of food that counts as a portion. It is often much less than you think! It is easy to underestimate how many portions you are eating unless you actually measure, especially with the grains food group.

Dine in. It can be hard to make healthy choices when dining out. Food prepared at home is often healthier and served in more reasonable portions than restaurant fare.

Treats – what to do? Most of us enjoy a special treat now and then. High-calorie treats tend to be low in nutrients and often take the place of healthier foods. Start by gradually decreasing the size and frequency of treats. Consider replacing food treats with rewarding or special activities.

Physical activity

Everyone thinks that kids are always on the go – and for some this is true. However, many kids spend free time watching TV or playing video games, often for hours at a time. Increasing physical activity also requires a gradual approach.

Decrease screen time. The Canadian Pediatric Society recommends that kids spend no more than two hours a day watching TV or playing a video game. Gradually reducing the time spent at these activities will not decrease weight on its own, but it will give kids a chance to become more active.

Make it fun. A child who is bored walking on a treadmill or pedalling a stationary bike will stick with activities that are fun. Although organized sports activities are one option, a short but intense game of tag can have the same effect as a soccer game spent mostly on the sidelines.

Be a role model. Your kids take their cues from you. By concentrating on getting more active, you send a powerful message about the value of physical activity. Do it together and cheer each other on. It is not easy to change habits. Let your child support you as much as you support your child. Any challenge is more manageable when you face it together.

A final word

Habits usually develop because they make a situation easier. It is worth looking not only at what you do about diet and physical activity, but also why you do things that way. Finding a way to make healthy choices easy will increase your chances of success. Each new healthy habit is a success in itself and should be celebrated! The reward is a lifetime of good health for you and your child.

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FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physican promptly. Copyright 2012, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6  [PR_FHa05]
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