Local Pediatrician Discusses Recent School Lunch Study and Tips to Help Your Child Pack a Healthier Lunch

Sanjeev Vasishtha, MD

Sanjeev Vasishtha, MD
Watch a video to learn more about him.

On any given day of the school year, 41 percent of elementary school children bring their lunch to school. This summer, a group of physicians performed an analysis on data provided by GREEN (Growing Right: Eco-friendly Eating and Nutrition) to learn more about the food children bring to school and compared it to the five standards of National School Lunch Program (NSLP). These standards call for a half-cup of fruit (excluding juice), 3/4 cup of vegetables, 1 ounce of grains, 1 ounce of meat/protein and 1 cup of milk.

The study found that only 27 percent of lunches studied met three of the five NSLP standards. Of all the lunches, only one third included fruit, and only 11 percent included vegetables. This compares to 23 percent of lunches containing sugar-sweetened beverages and 42 percent with snack foods like chips, cookies and candy.

“It is not surprising that parents are making the wrong choices in packing a school lunch,” says pediatrician Sanjeev Vasishtha, MD, with ABC Family Pediatricians, affiliated with Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital. “They are being bombarded by advertisements selling quick-fix lunches, which are well displayed in grocery stores.”

When 30 percent of children in the U.S. are overweight, making small changes in your child’s lunch box could have a big effect on their overall health. “Obesity puts children at risk for several diseases,” Vasishtha says. Read More »

Category: Wellness

Pablove Shutterbugs Photography Program Coming to LVHN

pablove shutterbugChildren’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital’s pediatric hematology/oncology department is one of 13 health and community groups nationwide to be awarded a grant to implement a photography program for children and teenagers battling cancer.

Children’s Hospital earned the $12,595 grant by securing enough online votes to be selected as a LIVESTRONG Foundation Community Impact Project winner. Since 2010, LIVESTRONG has conducted voting for organizations looking to employ programming that supports people affected by cancer. These organizations present proposals touting their cancer efforts to LIVESTRONG, and those approved get on the Community Impact Project ballot, which is open to the public.

Of the three programs funded this year through LIVESTRONG’s E. Lee Walker Award for national expansion, Children’s Hospital’s pediatric hematology/oncology program is among the 13 organizations chosen to participate in the Pablove Foundation Shutterbugs photography program.  It’s conducted through a California foundation established in honor of Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz, who lost his battle with kidney cancer at age 6.

“It’s really a hat’s off to our community for supporting us so well in the voting process,” says Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital pediatric hematologist/oncologist Philip Monteleone, MD. “This program is a great way to help kids learn to handle their cancer socially and emotionally. We’re honored to be part of this initiative.” Read More »

Category: Uncategorized

Let Experts Check Your Child’s Car Seat; Thursday Appointments Available

Infant in rear-facing safety seat

Make sure baby’s safe in the car with a free car seat safety check.

Properly installing a child passenger safety seat can be difficult and a bit confusing. Is it facing the right way for your child? Should it be tilted or parallel to the ground? Should it wiggle that much? Where does the harness belong? Are the straps too tight?

You don’t want to second-guess whether your child is safe in the car. And you don’t need to. Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), in partnership with the Cetronia EMS crew, offers free car seat safety checks to ensure they’re installed correctly. The LVHN team and several Cetronia colleagues are nationally certified child passenger safety technicians, so you can trust them as experts.

Appointments are still available for Thursday’s event, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Cetronia EMS Joint Operations Center, 4300 Broadway in Allentown, Pa.

Call 610-402-CARE (2273) to register for an appointment, which is preferred, or just stop by.

Category: Services

Lactation Consultant Discusses Benefits of Breastfeeding for New Moms

Jolie Maeher

Jolie Maeher, RN

Board-certified lactation consultant Jolie Maehrer, RN, works with new moms inside Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital. In this blog post, she answers many questions parents have about breastfeeding.

Q: What are the current breastfeeding recommendations?

A: The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommends that moms exclusively breastfeed for six months, then breastfeed in combination with solid foods for the following six months. Breastfeeding for 12 months, or as long as mutually desired by mom and baby, is recommended by the AAP. Others such as the U.S. Surgeon General and World Health Organization (WHO) make similar recommendations based on research that shows breastfeeding makes babies and mothers healthier.

Q: Why is breast milk preferred over formula in the first 12 months of a baby’s life?

A: The nutrients in mother’s milk are perfect for every stage of development. As babies grow, their nutritional needs change. And unlike formula, the nutritional quality of a mother’s milk changes along with her baby’s needs. In addition to being easily digestible, mother’s milk contains antibodies babies need to protect against asthma, allergies, ear infections, gastrointestinal disturbances and a host of other ailments. Breast-fed babies have a lower incidence for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Evidence suggests breastfeeding reduces a child’s incidence of diabetes and obesity and lowers the risk for certain childhood cancers. Read More »

5 Reasons to Have Family Dinners

Set Time for Supper Healthy You TipToday’s family is busier than ever. School work, sports practices, dance recitals and guitar lessons leave little time for regular family meals. However, Lehigh Valley Health Network pediatrician Becky Thomas-Creskoff, MD, with ABC Family Pediatricians – Trexlertown, an affiliate of Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital, encourages you to make time.

A mother of two children, Thomas-Creskoff knows how busy family life can be. “My kids take over my life, but I love it,” she says. “Parenthood gives you a different outlook.” Despite the demands of her professional and personal life, she makes sure to carve out time for family meals because they are so important for a child’s development. “It doesn’t have to be fancy or what’s considered a traditional family meal,” Thomas-Creskoff says. “It can be a picnic in the car before your daughter goes into dance class.”

Here are five reasons Thomas-Creskoff says you should have regular family dinners. Read More »