The Woodlands Clinic physician unveils list of healthy habits for children
The Woodlands Clinic physician Asma N. Siddiqui is helping parents keep their children healthy.
Parents are the primary role model for their children. This emphasizes the importance of practicing healthy habits and setting good examples. Children who are healthy miss fewer days of school and reduce the chance of falling behind. When parents are involved in creating a healthy lifestyle for the whole family, children will participate.
Siddiqui joined Kelsey-Seybold in August 1995 and is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics. Her specialty is pediatrics and nutrition, which she has practiced for more than 19 years. During that time she has developed a list of suggestions for parents that she shares with her patients.
Her first suggestion is developing a plan for healthy eating, which is a first line of defense against illness. Planning meals ahead of time makes it easier to face the kitchen and skip the drive-thru, according to Siddiqui. Packing lunches is also healthier than buying them at school.
Parents are also encouraged to limit television and computer time. Computers and TV can be great learning tools, but contribute to childhood obesity. Siddiqui recommends parents develop family activities, such as a walk after dinner, riding bikes or other exercise. Children who are involved in extracurricular activities have less free time to engage in unhealthy activities. Parents should get involved whenever possible as coaches and mentors and encourage activities that develop a child's talents and skills.
Making sure everyone gets enough sleep is also very important, Siddiqui said. Studies show a good portion of brain development happens during sleep, especially for younger children. Proper sleep is also important for optimal memory and learning.
Frequent hand washing should always be encouraged, not just during flu season, according to Siddiqui. Schools are breeding grounds for illnesses and frequent hand washing is one of the best ways to limit spreading of germs. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are great germ-killers that don't require water.
Finally, with everyone's busy schedules, family time doesn't just happen; it must be planned. Siddiqui suggest parents pick a time every week and fill it with meaningful activities, including visiting relatives, working on photo albums, planning the next vacation, having a picnic, going to church, visiting a museum or helping those who are less fortunate.
The Woodlands Clinic is located at 17350 St. Luke's Way, The Woodlands. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more tips, or to schedule an appointment with Siddiqui, call 713-442-1800.
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