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Doctors Not Discussing Overweight Kids

Recently, UNC Health Care released a study examining whether or not parents of overweight children remember being told by their doctor that their child was overweight.  Not surprisingly, only 25 percent of parents remember having this conversation with their doctor.

There are many reasons why parents may not remember this conversation with their doctor. 

1. First and foremost, the physician is likely not addressing the issue of the child being overweight due to lack of time with the patient and parent to really discuss the issue appropriately.

2. Secondly, many times kids that are overweight are being teased at school or by family members and are very sensitive to any mention of their weight, making it a very difficult issue to address. Compounding the issue, many physicians are not trained in how to talk to parents about weight problems, so some physicians may feel that it will cause more harm than good to address the issue.

3. Thirdly, this is not an easy solution to an easy to fix problem. Helping a family take steps toward a healthier lifestyle requires education, counseling and support. It takes years for a child to become overweight and it takes years to help a child achieve that healthy weight again. This is one reason why prevention is so important. Tracking BMI and addressing an increasing BMI before it is elevated can have so much benefit.

4. Fourthly, doctors may not want to offer a solution and when they feel like there is no solution to help their patient – they feel powerless.

5. Finally, all fault does not lie with the physician. Parents may also not be hearing the physician’s evaluation of their child’s weight because they do not want to hear what the doctor has to say. Many parents do not feel that their child’s weight is an issue even when their BMI is high. Many parents of overweight children are overweight themselves and are resistant to accepting they need lifestyle change. It is not until a parent is willing to accept that they need to change that they are open to the fact that their child needs help with lifestyle change.

This is a very important topic to be discussed in the medical appointment and hopefully in the future doctors will be trained to discuss this difficult topic in an effective, positive way for everyone. Not many people are motivated by negative reinforcement so the more positive the discussion – the better.

WakeMed’s ENERGIZE! program is here to help with many of these issues. We can help a family understand the health complications of continued weight gain, evaluate a parent’s and child’s readiness to change and provide the fitness, education and counseling that will get these families on the right track. We have helped over 600 families learn how to make healthy lifestyle choices a way of life.  Give us a call (919-350-7584) or ask your doctor about the program today.

Julie Paul is a program coordinator with WakeMed Children’s Diabetes and Endocrinology.


Toy Safety Guideline for Christmas

Approximately 50 percent of all toy purchases in the United States occur between the Friday after Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Despite increase in safety however, Safe Kids Wake County urges parents to remain cautious.

Top five tips for making sure children’s toys are safe during this holiday season:

  • Before shopping for toys, consider the child’s age, interest and skill level. A fun, but inappropriate toy for a particular child can be dangerous.
  • Make sure toys intended for older children are stored separately from those for younger children.
  • Keep toys with small parts away from children under age 3. They can choke on small toys and toy parts.
  • Check regularly for damage that could create small pieces that are choking hazards. Make any necessary repairs immediately, or discard damaged toys out of the reach of children.
  • Actively supervise children when they are playing with riding toys as well as any toy that has small balls and small parts, magnets, electrical or battery power, cords and strings, wheels or any other potential hazard. Simply being in the same room as your child is not necessarily supervising. Active supervision means keeping the child in sight and in reach while paying undivided attention.

To stay informed about harmful products in the marketplace, parents can go to and sign up for email alerts on recalled children’s products.

Safe Kids Wake County reminds parents that most toys are safe, especially if you buy from a reputable retailer.  “That doesn’t mean you have to go to a ‘big box’ store” Ms. Siobhan Davis, Safe Kids Wake County coordinator says. “But if you shop at a locally-owned toy store, make sure that the owner is aware and vigilant about getting recalled items off the shelves.”

If secondhand toys are purchased, or received from friends or relatives, Safe Kids Wake County advises parents to visit and make sure the toy hasn’t been recalled for safety reasons. Used toys should also be in good condition with all original parts and packaging, if possible. If a new toy comes with a product registration card, mail it in right away so the manufacturer can contact you if the item is ever recalled.

Safe Kids Wake County works to prevent unintentional childhood injury, the leading cause of death and disability to children ages 1 to 14. Safe Kids Wake County is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations dedicated to preventing unintentional injury. Safe Kids Wake County was founded in 1996 and is led by WakeMed Health & Hospitals.


WakeMed Milk Bank Needs Donations

WakeMed Mother's Milk Bank

The value of breast milk and breastfeeding is finally being realized in the United States.  But, there are some moms who are unable to produce milk of their own for their infants.  Many times these infants are preemies who really need breast milk to grow and thrive.

The lack of donations and increased need is not isolated to North Carolina. Human milk banks across the country are experiencing similar trend as more and more hospitals and mothers learn about the benefits of breast milk.

“Often the mom of preemie will seek breast milk from the bank to feed their infants if they are not able to produce milk or they cannot produce enough milk,” said Sue Evans, executive director of the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank.  “Then, the neonatologist will see how well the baby does and starts to order greater and greater quantities of milk.  This trend, coupled with the fact that we are the largest of two milk banks serving the entire east coast, creates supply and demand issues.”

What can you do to help?  If you are a lactating mother who is healthy, does not drink, smoke or use certain medications and has an excess of milk, please contact the milk bank by calling (919) 350-8599.  You can also click hereto learn more about donating to WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Sue Evans is a lactation specialist and director of the WakeMed Mothers’ Milk Bank.

Every day in the WakeMed Mother’s Milk Bank, mothers and doctors trying to secure milk for babies are regretfully declined due to a significantly increased demand.  Healthy, lactating mothers we need your help.


Primary Care Access Expanded in Apex, Holly Springs, North Raleigh and Knightdale

Wake Specialty Physicians - Knightdale Family Practice

WakeMed is pleased to announce that it has added two new primary care practices to serve the Knightdale and North Raleigh communities.   These practices include:

Wake Specialty Physicians – North Wake Internal Medicine

Additionally, we are pleased to be adding two new primary care physicians to existing practices in Apex and Holly Springs.  Dr. Orlando Conty will be joining Wake Specialty Physicians – Apex Medical Group and Dr. Daphne J. Cates will be joining  Wake Specialty Physicians – Holly Springs Medical Center.

 These additional primary care resources will help fill an unmet need for primary care services in the communities we serve. All practices are currently accepting new patients and most major insurance plans.  Details on all practices, locations and insurance plans can be found online here.


Jay Leno to Perform During WakeMed’s 50th Anniversary Gala

Legendary comedian Jay Leno will perform during a special night of dinner, dancing and laughter at WakeMed’s 50th Anniversary Gala presented by the WakeMed Foundation Society of 1961 and Wells Fargo.

The event will take place Saturday, December 10 at the Raleigh Convention Center. This year’s Gala will be the WakeMed Foundation’s largest event to date. More than 1,000 guests are expected to attend, double the attendance of previous years.

The WakeMed Foundation hosts an annual recognition event for the Society of 1961 members who are the major supporters of the hospital contributing more than $1,350 annually.  Society members will be able to attend a special reception prior to the event, benefit from preferred seating, and receive recognition in the event program. 

This year, a limited number of 50th anniversary tickets will also be sold to the public for $250 per person. Tickets are available at

Proceeds from the event will benefit the expansion of the WakeMed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).  WakeMed’s NICU offers the highest level of neonatal intensive care to the region’s premature and critically ill newborns. The fundraising campaign will be used to enhance facilities and expand the NICU from 36 to 48 beds, offering more space for families and staff to care for newborn babies.


Cooking Safety for Kids

Some of our favorite holiday memories center around food and the time we spend together in the kitchen preparing our feast.  This year, don’t let your holiday dreams turn into kitchen nightmares because of a preventable cooking mishap with your kids. Here are a few tips for making merry (not misery) in the kitchen.

  • Remind your child to always wash their hands before working in the kitchen. 
  • Ask one of your non-cooking friends or relatives to watch the children in the kitchen. 
  • Make your child feel special by assigning him/her kid-friendly food prep jobs in a specific area of the room, preferably away from appliances like ovens or the stove.
  • If possible, use the back burners of your stove for cooking, and turn pot handles away from the edge of the stove. 
  • If dishes are cooking in the oven, protect little hands with a child-proof oven lock.  They only cost about $5.00 and can prevent nasty burns.
  • Make sure knives and other sharp appliances are secure and kept away from small children. 
  • Do not allow small children to use the microwave unless they are old enough and even then make sure they can safely remove food without burning themselves.

 “Preventing kitchen accidents should be a high priority for parents,” says Siobhan Davis, WakeMed Injury Prevention representative and coalition coordinator for Safe Kids Wake County. Protect your family and your home by taking smart cooking precautions.  And while you’re at it, invest in a good fire extinguisher, and remember to change the batteries twice a year in your smoke detectors.


Myths and Truths About Diabetes

Throughout the month of November in celebration of American Diabetes Month, we will bring you facts about the prevention and the management of prediabetes and diabetes – starting with prediabetes and Type 1 and 2 Diabetes.

Recently the American Diabetes Association surveyed the American public to find out how much people know about diabetes. The results were telling in that there are still many misconceptions about diabetes. Some of common myths and facts include:

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

When asked to rank which disease (diabetes, breast cancer, AIDS) was responsible for the greatest number of U.S. deaths each year, not even half of respondents chose diabetes (42%).

Fact: Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.  Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: Eating too much sugar can lead to diabetes.

According to the survey, approximately one third of respondents knew this myth was false (32%).

Fact: No, it cannot.  Type 1 diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.  Being overweight does increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, and a diet high in calories, whether from sugar or from fat, can contribute to weight gain.  If you have a history of diabetes in your family, eating a healthy meal plan and regular exercise are recommended to manage your weight.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.

According the survey, approximately three in five respondents (59%) did not know that this is a false statement.  In addition, more than half (53%) of respondents did not know that risk for developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.

Fact:  Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor for type 2 diabetes.  Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. 

RELATED: Find out your risk for type 2 diabetes. 

“Diabetes prevalence continues to be a leading cause of death,” said George Huntley, Chair of the Board of the American Diabetes Association. “In spite of this, our research shows that many people still may not take diabetes seriously; they consider it more of a condition than a disease.  Many also incorrectly believe that if a person with diabetes doesn’t appear to be ill, then their disease must not be serious or damaging.  In fact, people we encountered did not believe us when we told them that diabetes, if left untreated, can be deadly.  They thought this was an untrue statement.  It’s obvious that a more aggressive approach is desperately needed, and that we need to engage more people in the fight to stop diabetes.”

RELATED: See how you score on diabetes myths and facts with the Stop Diabetes widget.


NC Seasonal Sensation – The Pecan

In a week, North Carolinians across our state will gather around the dinner table and give thanks for our blessings in life. We’ll indulge in all the holiday favorites that make Thanksgiving a meal to remember. And if I have it my way, those favorites will be as healthy as they are delicious.

Just in time for the holidays, North Carolina’s Seasonal Sensation is the pecan. Pecans are packed with antioxidants, like Vitamin E that may protect against heart disease. Pecans also contain plant sterols, fiber and heart healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, all of which may help lower cholesterol levels. Now that’s something to be thankful for.

This Thanksgiving, try a healthy pecan dish in place of one that’s loaded with unwanted fat and calories, like sweet potato pecan casserole or spiced pecans, both perfectly delicious for the holiday season. Or take it from, which shares great tips on how to cut 150 calories and five grams of fat from a traditional pecan pie. 

Healthy Eating for a Happy Thanksgiving

Healthy eating is all about balance. This Thanksgiving, remember to eat in moderation by practicing proper portion control. Make smart decisions about what you put on your plate with these healthy tips from Here are the highlights:

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less; eat slowly and savor every bite
  • Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make sure at least half of your grains are whole grains
  • Use a smaller plate to help control portion sizes

Also, on Thanksgiving morning, eat breakfast. Don’t skip meals to “save up” calories only to gorge yourself at dinner. Remember, you’re giving thanks for what you appreciate most. Your body is at the top of that list, right? Instead of stuffing yourself, enjoy a well-balanced breakfast with a nutritious meal like oatmeal topped with two tablespoons of toasted, chopped pecans. Add fruit for extra fiber and sweetness.

 Lastly, after the holiday feast, head outside for a breath of fresh air. Go on a walk or a hike. Start a friendly game of flag football, basketball or soccer. Build a fire, fly a kite, go for a bike ride. Grab your family and friends and enjoy a little post-Thanksgiving exercise with these family friendly fall activities.

Here’s to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Amy Bowen is a clinical dietitian at WakeMed Cary Hospital.


Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes Q&A

Throughout the month of November in celebration of American Diabetes Month, we will bring you facts about the prevention and the management of prediabetes and diabetes.  We started last week with prediabetes and have now progressed to type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association in 2011 a total of 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes.
Diagnosed: 18.8 million people
Undiagnosed: 7.0 million people
Prediabetes: 79 million people

What is type 1 diabetes?
People with type 1 diabetes do not make any insulin at all. They require insulin injections to provide the insulin they need to allow the sugar from the blood to enter the cells to produce energy (remember, insulin is the key that opens the cells and allows the glucose to enter). Only about 5% to 10% of people with diabetes have type 1.

What is type 2 diabetes?
In type 2 diabetes, the body does not make enough insulin, or the cells ignore the insulin that the body does make (insulin resistance).Therefore, all the sugar does not enter the cells, but stays in the blood. About 90% to 95% of people with diabetes have type 2.

What can I do if I have type 2 diabetes?
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can be managed by 7 self –care behaviors identified by the American Association of Diabetes educators,(AADE) that work together to influence your overall health.

The 7 self –care behaviors are:
1. Healthy Eating
2. Being Active
3. Monitoring
4. Taking Medication
5. Problem Solving
6. Reducing Risks
7.  Healthy Coping.

However, the most frequently asked question by a person with newly diagnosed diabetes is;

What can I eat now that I have diabetes?
The body’s primary source of energy is sugar (glucose). Sugar comes from breaking down carbohydrate foods such as fruit, milk and yogurt, sweets, and starches. Foods that contain carbohydrates contribute to increased blood sugar levels. We need to learn to recognize the foods that contain carbohydrates and limit the intake of these foods to maintain blood sugars within the target range set by your doctor. Remember meats, fish, and poultry do not contain carbohydrates. (If you have to kill it to eat it, it’s not a carbohydrate.)

Portion sizes also factor into the overall affect of carbohydrate intake on blood sugars. We have become accustomed to exaggerated portions when eating out and are frequently surprised at what a “true portion size” really is.

Learn about carbohydrates so you can be comfortable reading nutrition labels and knowing what they mean.

Next week we’ll cover the Truths and Myths of Diabetes.”

Carol V. White, BSN, RN-BC is a Patient Educator in the Adult Diabetes Management Program with WakeMed Health & Hospitals


Honoring Those Who Serve

Tomorrow WakeMed will host a special Veterans Day program honoring nearly 300 staff, physicians and volunteers who have proudly served in the United States Armed Services. And, we are cordially inviting all Veterans in our community to join us for this event.

Program will include remarks by WakeMed President & CEO Dr. Bill Atkinson, General Gerald A. Rudisill, Jr., N.C. Department of Crime Control & Public Safety, and Chief Deputy Secretary – Office of the Secretary
12:30 – 1:30 pm
Andrews Conference Center
WakeMed Raleigh Campus
3000 New Bern Avenue
Raleigh, NC