Should Kids Have Their Cholesterol Checked?

Three Girls

Three GirlsWhen we think of cholesterol screening, we think in terms of ourselves – not our nine-year-old son or daughter. But new recommendations from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) are suggesting children between the ages of 9 and 11 should have their cholesterol checked, and again between ages 17 and 21, regardless of their risk.

Previously, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised screening children with a family history of early heart disease or high cholesterol, or those children who are obese, have diabetes or high blood pressure. But those guidelines may have resulted in some children with high cholesterol going undiagnosed.

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The Most Important Meal of the Day

Berries and Oatmeal

Berries and OatmealThere’s no doubt that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And this is especially true for kids.  Growing bodies rely on regular food intake. And studies have shown kids who don’t eat breakfast can experience behavior problems and have difficulty in school.

Don’t think you have time with the busy morning routine? Try something as simple as a peanut butter sandwich on whole grain bread. Healthy doesn’t mean complex. A few suggestions include:

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Tips for Introducing Kids to Sports

Girl Playing Tennis

Girl Playing TennisUW Health Sports Psychologist Dr. Shilagh Mirgain explains that sports provide a learning platform for life, and help kids develop a sense of self and positive self-esteem. Kids also learn valuable life lessons — learning to work collaboratively, goal setting and perseverance are just a few.

But, with so much benefit to be gained, how do you get kids involved in sports?

The number one reason kids participate in sports is because it’s fun.

Some strategies for introducing kids to sports include:

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Help for Swimmer’s Ear

Whether it is during gym class or in an after-school program, swimming can be a fun form of exercise. While kids are working on their form, they also need to watch out for “swimmer’s ear.” Dr. Diane Heatley, a UW Health otolaryngologist, explains what swimmer’s ear is, and how it can be treated.

Swimmer’s ear, or “otitis externa”, is a bacterial or fungal infection of the skin of the ear canal.

The ear canal is the skin-lined opening from the side of the head that ends at the ear drum. The skin of the ear canal includes specialized glands that produce cerumen, or ear wax. Ear wax provides some protection to the ear canal skin against infections.

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Wood Burning Stoves, Air Pollution, and Asthma: How You Can Make a Difference

Wood stove by Daniel Morrison, on Flickr

Wood stove by Daniel Morrison, on Flickr Autumn’s cooler temperatures have arrived and many Dane County residents will be preparing to keep the home fires burning in a wood stove. While burning wood for home heat can be cozy and warm, wood smoke from old stoves and fireplace inserts pollutes the air. This polluted air makes it especially tough to breathe for kids, adults and older people living with asthma.

Wood smoke contains carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and fine particle pollutants that aren’t healthy to breathe either indoors or outside.  Smoke from old wood stoves and old fireplace inserts can affect your family, as well as neighbors downwind of the smoke, polluting the air we all breathe and making asthma symptoms worse.

The Dane County Wood Stove Changeout Rebate Program is helping Dane County residents reduce the amount of harmful emissions from older, non-certified wood stoves and improve air quality at home and throughout Dane County.

Program Details: From August 1 through September 30, 2011, Dane County residents interested in replacing their old wood stoves or inserts may be eligible to receive a $750.00 rebate, as well as various manufacturer and retailer discounts and a federal tax credit, on the purchase price of qualifying cleaner burning EPA-certified wood stoves and inserts, natural gas stoves and inserts, or pellet stoves and inserts.  Applications for rebate vouchers will be accepted starting on August 1, 2011 via email to the Dane County Clean Air Coalition Coordinator, Lisa MacKinnon, at: or fax: 608-266-2643.  Rebate funds are limited and will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible customers.

To learn more about this program, go to

The Dane County Clean Air Coalition is made up of business, schools including UW-Madison, government agencies and citizens whose goal is healthy air.

Photo credit: Daniel Morrison

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