Despite the fact that snoring is frequently recognized a minor tribulation, snorers can at times endure extreme debilitation of lifestyle. Facts on wheezing are regularly conflicting, however no less than 30% of mature people and maybe the same number as half of individuals in a few demographics wheeze. Essentially all medications for snoring spin around clearing the blockage in the breathing section. This is the excuse for why snorers are encouraged to shed pounds (to prevent fat from pressing on the throat), quit smoking and consider their side to counteract the tongue from hindering the throat.
Snorers are ordinarily unconscious of their snoring, and should depend on the perceptions of their bed mates. A few snorers might wake up around evening time gagging and panting for breath, yet this happens only occasionally. There is an approach to quit snoring by using huge measures on the cushions, which frequently do not work or using different anti snoring devices. It works by keeping the easier jaw agreeably and commonly held set up. Anti snoring devices expand space in the breathing routes, diminishes air velocity when breathing and practically gets rid of of delicate tissue vibrations. Moreover, the tongue can slide back in the mouth and making breathing considerably more challenging. Snoring is created when the aviation routes are confined and delicate tissue starts to vibrate from the energy of breathing or breathed out the air.
A Vitalsleep Review Is More Than A Marketing Strategy
Marketing agencies that work with the launch of a new product or device usually make use of writers in order to present all aspects of the said product to the public. When you come across a vitalsleep review that is most objectively written, you can be assured that it is not just a marketing gimmick. You can believe that some serious research has gone into the writing and you are informed of the pros and cons of the device.
It is always a good strategy to use when you want to tell the public that has been searching for an anti-snoring solution that a new product is being sold on the market. Believing that the public is not going to simply follow the herd but will want to be convinced rationally, good marketing agencies will not spend money only on attractive models to sell their product. They will then have satisfied users write reviews; as in the case of Vitalsleep review that you see here. From such reviews, you can understand that this device is a mouthpiece that can be made to the size that will suit you perfectly; i.e., it can be adjusted according to your mouth. It also releases the obstruction of air way and eases your breathing process. This in turn helps you sleep better. This is how a Vitalsleep review is helpful to the public.
It’s not as simple as asking your best friend. Here, doctor-shopping strategies that deliver.
A few months before our son, Nate, was born last October, my husband and I joined the legions of parents in the market for a new pediatrician. I gathered a long list of recommendations from doctors and friends, then interviewed the top contenders who were also members of our health plan. Ultimately, we had m trust our instincts: We selected a doctor we felt would provide our child with first-rate medical care–in sickness and in health-and would help us be good parents.
We haven’t regretted our choice for a moment: When Nate was 5 days old and developed jaundice, our pediatrician went the extra mile–at 9:00 p.m. one Sunday–to find a company that would deliver a home treatment rather than admitting him to the hospital, which would have separated us from our baby. Now, a year later, our pediatrician always finds time to see Nate when he’s sick and calls back promptly to address questions or concerns.
Many parents aren’t so fortunate. But finding a first-rate pediatrician in today’s managed-care system isn’t just a matter of hick. It takes legwork, especially if you want to land one who will stand up for your child in a medical crisis. Here, smart strategies you can use, whether you’re searching for a pediatrician for the first time or reevaluating your child’s current doctor:
* Check your health plan’s directory against personal recommendations. Ask your ob/gyn and internist for the names of pediatricians they trust, and find out what doctors your friends and colleagues take their kids to. Ask what they like about the physician, what they wish she’d do differently, and how she handled a medical crisis or serious illness.
If you have your heart set on a pediatrician who isn’t on your health plan, find out whether she intends to join. That’s what Susan Truax, 38, a mother of three in El Segundo, CA, did two years ago, when a new doctor came to town. “The pediatrician had advertised in the local community, and I d heard good things about her from other, parents,” she explains. “After attending a meet-and-greet session, I called her office and asked if we could see her through our plan even though she wasn’t on the list.” Truax was delighted to learn that the pediatrician was in the process of contracting with her family’s health maintenance organization (HMO).
* Shop around. Call each prospective doctor’s office and inquire about the following: How easy is it to get an appointment? (You should be able to see the physician the same day if your child is sick, and you should be able to get an appointment for a well-child visit within two weeks.) Is the physician board-certified in pediatrics? What are her office hours? Who covers for the doctor when she is unavailable? (You should know the name and qualifications of the other doctor or doctors.) Would your child become a patient of one particular physician–or the entire group? If it’s the latter, will you have a say in who sees your child during return visits? How are evening and weekend illnesses handled? Is an after-hours clinic available for your child? Take note of the support staff’s attitude, because you may be dealing with them as much as with the doctor.
* Schedule a get-acquainted visit. This is your chance to gauge your rapport–and your child’s–with the pediatrician and find out how responsive she is to questions. Some HMOs encourage these meet-and-greet sessions. Occasionally, families visit with the doctor one-on-one; other times, dozens of plan members meet with the pediatrician. Fees vary, from no cost to about $60 (ask ahead to avoid an unpleasant surprise).
Ideally, both you and your spouse should attend, along with your child. Since the visit probably won’t last longer than about 15 minutes, prepare by taking stock of your child’s medical history and health-care needs. Then, draw up a list of relevant questions. If your child has a chronic illness such as asthma, for instance, you might want to ask how many other children in the practice have the condition, so you get a sense of the doctor’s familiarity with it.
* Size up the reception area. Count how many kids are waiting; if there are more than a handful, the staff may be overbooking. Take a look around: Is the area clean and child-friendly? Is there a separate section for sick kids–or are they quickly whisked into an examining room–so that others aren’t exposed to their germs?
While you’re waiting, talk to other parents to find out whether they’re happy with the care their child is receiving. Is their child comfortable with the doctor? Are their appointments rushed? Does the doctor seem thorough? Does she inform them of potential risks and side effects of medications and procedures?
* Quiz the doctor. “You don’t just choose the pediatrician; you test the pediatrician,” says Andy Webber, a senior associate at the Consumer Coalition for Quality Health Care in Washington, DC. “Think of it as interviewing someone for a job. Doctors who are confident in their skills, knowledge base, and ability to provide quality care aren’t going to feel put off by your questions.”
This is an especially important step in the process of finding an HMO pediatrician, because doctors in managed-care plans control your child’s access to specialists and medical treatments. The only reliable way to find out whether the physician would go to bat for your child in a crisis is to ask direct, even hard-hitting, questions, such as: In this managed-care environment, how do you view your role as a patient advocate? What pediatric specialists are available in case we run into a serious medical problem? Are you willing to make out-of-plan referrals and authorize visits to a specialty clinic, and under what circumstances? How routinely do you refer patients to a children’s hospital?
Sensitive as the issue is, it’s wise to ask whether the doctor is penalized financially for referring patients to specialists. If so, how does she feel about it? Are there any restrictions on the advice she can give? Some HMOs have “gag clauses,” which prevent physicians from describing expensive medical treatments to patients. (It’s anticipated, however, that these gag clauses will be restricted or prohibited by lawmakers.)
If you like the doctor’s responses to your questions, ask the following: “If my child needs additional care or a referral to a specialist, and you agree but our health plan doesn’t, what would you do?” If the doctor says she’d appeal the plan’s decision, find out how she would do so. Finally, ask the doctor to give you a recent example of a situation in which she had to do battle with an HMO–and to tell you what the outcome was.
* Establish a partnership. Tune in to the doctor’s practice philosophy. If she orders a series of tests, for example, will she explain why they need to be performed? Will she make sure you get copies of the results?
“Some doctors will look at you and say, `Who went to medical school here?’ They see themselves as in charge,” says Michael Donio, director of projects for the People’s Medical Society in Allentown, PA. While you don’t need to pick a physician who agrees with your view on circumcision, for instance, you should look for someone who supports your decision.
When your child is sick, getting her the right medication makes all the difference. At the same time, parents worry about side effects. That’s why it may come as a surprise to learn that some prescription drugs–certain asthma medications, for instance–haven’t even been tested on kids. There’s nothing illegal or reckless about this; any drug that’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults can be given to kids. The practice is called off-label prescription, and it’s common.
The problem is that children are not little adults; their growing bodies metabolize drugs differently. With this in mind, in August 1997, President Clinton proposed a rule that would require any new prescription drug intended for children to be tested on children. But drug companies are fighting the proposal, claiming it would slow down the approval of lifesaving drugs.
In the meantime, here’s what parents need to know about drugs most often given to kids:
How they work: fight off bacterial illnesses, such as ear infections and strep throat.
Drug names: amoxicillin (Amoxil), erythromycin (Pediazole), penicillin (Pen-Vee K).
Testing: The most commonly used antibiotics have been thoroughly tested on kids and approved for such use by the FDA.
Risks: Newer antibiotics, such as cefixime (Suprax), cefuroxim (Ceftin), cefprozil (Cefzil), and azithromycin (Zithromax), kill a wider range of bacteria but may encourage resistant strains to develop in your child. They should be used only when other antibiotics don’t work.
How they work: open up constricted airways, which can lead to asthma attacks.
Drug names: albuterol (Ventolin, Proventil).
Testing: These drugs, which have been available for several decades, haven’t been well studied in young children, and their long-term safety is unclear.
Risks: Regular use can cause hyperactivity, a reduced attention span, and shakiness in children.
Anti-inflammatory steroid inhalers
How they work: Used once or twice a day, these drugs alleviate the underlying lung inflammation of asthma.
Drug names: beclomethasone (Beclovent).
Testing: Research in young adults indicates that early intervention with anti-inflammatory steroids, which have been around for decades, may improve the long-term prognosis. Because this type of medication is so promising, asthma specialists and pediatricians prescribe it for children as young as 6 months.
Risks: Studies have demonstrated that kids who take a high dosage–about ten puffs a day–have slower growth rates than other children. It’s unclear whether children taking normal dosages will experience growth problems. Other research shows that children taking the drugs suffer bone loss. For now, experts advise that kids who take anti-inflammatory steroids have their growth monitored frequently, and consume at least three to four servings of dairy products daily.
Steroids can also suppress the immune system, so catching chicken pox can be dangerous, even fatal. Any asthmatic child who needs oral steroids should get the chicken pox vaccine first.
Alternative medications: Parents who are worried about side effects should ask their doctors about a nonsteroidal inhaler, which is safer. This medication, cromolyn (brand name, Intal), is about as effective as steroidal medications at preventing attacks and modifying the severity of the disease, but it must be used more often.
How they work: stop acute asthma attacks, keeping kids out of the hospital.
Drug names: prednisone (Pediapred).
Testing: mostly in adults.
Risks: Because the drug is swallowed rather than inhaled, it’s absorbed in larger amounts and thus has greater potential for harm. When used in short courses of three to seven days, it doesn’t seem to cause much trouble beyond temporary agitation and aggressiveness. But because some adults who have taken the medication long-term developed cataracts, experts caution against giving a child more than three or four courses per year.
How they work: block the action of a group of chemicals that cause wheezing, warding off asthma attacks.
Drug name: montelukast (Singulair).
Testing: Recently granted FDA-approval for use in children ages 6 and up. However, the single study of the drug was short-term, so long-term follow-up is needed.
Risks: Some children experience nausea and headache. These drugs don’t always work as well as anti-inflammatory steroid inhalers in improving lung function.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Introduced for adults about ten years ago, these have been hailed as a major breakthrough in treating depression. Last year, nearly one million children under age 18 were given prescriptions. But some experts are worried that the medications are being prescribed for children who are simply experiencing the normal mood swings of growing up.
How they work: increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin, boosting mood.
Drug names: fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft).
Testing: To date, only one major study has been done in children ages 7 to 17. About half of the 48 kids taking Prozac showed improvement, but a third of those taking a sugar pill also improved. Three patients on the drug developed mania, a condition involving excessive feelings of euphoria or rage.
Concerned about the use of these drugs in children, the FDA has asked manufacturers to submit additional safety data on kids.
Risks: It’s not known how SSRIs affect children’s brains, which change rapidly as kids grow. Also, child-size dosages haven’t been officially established. However, the drugs are helpful for children who are truly depressed–those who haven’t been able to function in school or sleep at night, or those who have attempted suicide. Kids taking SSRIs should be monitored frequently and have therapy.
An estimated 2.5 million children take Ritalin, a stimulant medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ritalin has been approved by the FDA for use in children ages 6 and up, but some doctors fear that the drug is being prescribed far too casually. In 1992, about five and a half million prescriptions for Ritalin were dispensed; by 1997, that number had jumped to fifteen and a half million. Now, researchers are discovering an alarming practice: One study shows that very young children–even infants–are being given a diagnosis of ADHD and put on Ritalin and other drugs.
How it works: acts on several parts of the brain, improving concentration.
Drug name: methylphenidate (Ritalin).
Testing: While there have been many short-term studies, long-term research is lacking. In addition, there are no studies of Ritalin’s safety or effectiveness on preschoolers or infants, so we don’t know how the drug might affect their rapidly growing brains.
Risks: Some children suffer from weight loss, headaches, nausea, and mood swings. Also, dosages haven’t been established for very young children.
If you have a child who is at least 6 years old and who is suspected of having hyperactivity or concentration problems, first send him for a thorough physical exam. If there are no physical problems, take your child to a child psychologist or psychiatrist for an evaluation. If ADHD is diagnosed, the disorder should first be treated with behavioral modification. Medication should be considered only if this doesn’t work.
Children younger than 6 should take stimulant medications only in rare cases. They should be given Dexedrine, which is approved for use in children as young as 3.
RELATED ARTICLE: Can You Trust Over-the-Counter Drugs?
When Deborah Regosin’s 14-month-old, Sophie, was running a fever, Deborah called her doctor, who recommended giving the baby a teaspoon of liquid Tylenol every four hours. He didn’t specify, however, the children’s or infant’s formulation, although he meant for her to use the children’s. Unfortunately, Sophie’s mother bought Infant’s Tylenol–a preparation that’s intended for babies up to age 3 and is three times as strong as Children’s Tylenol (it’s concentrated because it’s so difficult to get babies to swallow medicine). And, instead of using the dropper that came with the bottle, Sophie’s mother bought a bigger dropper so she could dispense the teaspoon her doctor indicated. Every day for four days, Sophie’s mother continued the doses. Gradually, the baby grew pale, listless, and finally, unresponsive. By the fifth day, her liver was failing, and she was rushed to the hospital. Sophie survived, thanks to an emergency liver transplant. But for the rest of her life, she’ll have to take antirejection drugs.
All over-the-counter (OTC) medications must be FDA-approved, so they’re required to be tested on kids and labeled with specific dosage information for children. The danger is that these drugs can cause serious problems if they’re abused or used carelessly. In fact, according to a recent study, at least 24 children in the United States have died because of accidental overdoses of acetaminophen–the active ingredient in Tylenol and many other fever and pain relievers.
But Tylenol isn’t the only OTC medication that can harm children if it’s used incorrectly. Ibuprofen can cause kidney problems in kids who are dehydrated because of diarrhea or vomiting. And decongestants can cause heart-rhythm abnormalities in children with heart problems. To head off trouble, the FDA has proposed making OTC labels more consumer-friendly by listing side effects and advice about when to consult a doctor in an easy-to-read format. (Tylenol’s manufacturer has already made some labeling changes; on the infant’s formulation, for example, parents are alerted to the fact that it is concentrated.) In addition, the FDA has proposed adding information on proper dosages of painkillers for children under age 2.
Experts recommend taking the following precautions whenever giving your child OTC drugs:
* Avoid giving your child combination cold and flu products, which usually contain more medicine than he needs. Pick a medicine that fits the symptom(s).
* Always use the dosing dispenser that comes with the medication.
* Consult your doctor if there aren’t any age-related dosing instructions on the package.
* Never use any OTC product, with the exception of acetaminophen, on a child younger than 6 months, and then use only with precise dosing instructions from your doctor.
Judy Hendren Mello was 23 when she lost her mom to breast cancer in 1967, but she never lost her mom’s fighting spirit. It saw her through another tragic death ten years later that of her brother, Jerry. Hendren, from cancer, at age 36.
Then, in 1987, Mello, by now a high-powered international investment banker in New York City, discovered a soft lump high on her tight breast. The surgeon told her it was unlikely that it was malignant and suggested waiting several months to see if it went away. But she wasn’t about to do nothing–Mello’s mother believed that her own delay in getting help had cost her her life. “Her warning to me was clear and simple: Take charge of the situation and act.”
So Mello consulted another surgeon anti insisted on an immediate biopsy. The lump turned out to be an early-stage malignant tumor, and Mello had a partial mastectomy, Luckily, no lymph-node involvement was found. “I’ll never forget the celebration we held in honor of that good news!” she says. She and her husband, sister, and friends ate caviar and drank champagne in her hospital room, cheering, “No nodes, no nodes!”
But her odyssey was tar from over. Mello, who’s now 55, had an aunt who’d suffered from breast cancer and later died of ovarian cancer. So, in 1993, Mello started having pelvic sonograms. Her first test was normal, but during a follow-up visit a year later, an irregularity showed up on one ovary. It was cancer. Once again, the disease had been caught early. Mello was able to beat it with surgery and chemo.
Throughout, she kept on working. When she first learned she had breast cancer, she’d just started her own financial consulting firm. That gave her a new degree of independence, but as time went on, it wasn’t enough. “I was very dissatisfied,” she remembers. “I was looking for something that had more significance. Until I got cancer, I’d never gotten to know myself. I’d lived a life of self-imposed high achievement–put myself in a business that was extremely high-pressured and not altogether friendly toward women. Part of learning about myself was discovering that I didn’t have to be good at everything. I didn’t have to keep living up to everyone else’s expectations.”
Cancer also made her face deep personal wounds. “The loss of my mother and then my brother had a profound impact on me. I was confused and frightened. I felt guilty that I hadn’t spent enough time with my mom, that I’d forgotten to tell my brother important things. Facing those feelings, and understanding the losses, eased my fears and gave me confidence. I learned what life really meant to me, and how m feet joy.”
In May 1994, Mello heard that World Learning–a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing together people from different cultures, with programs in 110 countries–was looking for a new president. She jumped at the chance “Last year we took twelve American high school students, including four inner-city kids, to Northern Ireland,” says Mello. “In Belfast, they lived in a mixed Catholic and Protestant neighborhood and met kids their age. The focus was on understanding what it’s like to live in a community at war with itself. Listening to them compare that situation with our own racial one at home was very moving.”
Determined to stay vigilant about her health in 1995 Mello took part in a genetic testing study–and discovered she has the mutant gene that’s a strong predictor of breast cancer. (One bright moment came when her younger sister tested negative for it.) She then made a big decision: to have a full prophylactic double mastectomy, along with reconstructive surgery.
Initially, her husband was skeptical. “Surgery without a symptom put me off,” he says. But medical experts convinced him that with Mello’s medical history it was the smart thing to do.
Reconstruction was more complicated than the double mastectomy. Mello’s doctor suggested what’s called free-flap reconstructive surgery, which transplants Fat from the abdomen to the breast area, while leaving abdominal muscles intact. It was a grueling 13-hour operation, followed by two clays of strapped-down intensive care, and then almost four weeks of recovery. But Mello is glad she did it: “I got a fiat rummy and two nice breasts–what a great deal,” she says in her indomitable way.
Now she stays in shape by walking and running. At her vacation home on a ranch in Moose, WY, she also loves to ride and play tennis. “I feel like a teenager,” she says.
Mello also feels grateful for the support of her family and friends: “They’ve been my cheerleaders,” she says. And what would her flint and best cheerleader say? “I think my mother would feel she protected me in giving me the courage to be assertive about my own health. I know that she’d be proud of me.”
At 6, Caitlin Brown(*) is big for her age, loves sweets, and has trouble buttoning her size-eight clothing–all of which worry her mother, Marci. “I was such a skinny kid at her age, and I’m terrified that she’s inherited my husband’s weight problem,” says the 40-year-old mother of two from Montclair, NJ. “I don’t want her to grow up fat.” We’re a nation obsessed with weight–our own and our children’s. It’s understandable: More than twice as many children are overweight today than were 25 years ago, some 13 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys, ages 6 to 11, according to a 1997 government study of more than 7,000 children. What’s more, overweight children are twice as likely to become overweight adults as those who are thin.
Though there’s legitimate cause for concern, many of us may be fretting more than we should, say physicians. Furthermore, attempts to control a child’s diet can create a problem where there was none to begin with (see “Helping Thin Kids Who Feel Fat”). “Parents tend to over-react when it comes to worrying about their child’s weight,” says researcher Nancy Rodriguez, Ph.D., R.D., an associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “Lots of times kids grow out before they grow up, and parents shouldn’t intervene unless they’re sure there’s a problem.”
It’s not easy to tell–in fact, even doctors may have a tough time deciding when a child is too heavy. Children’s bodies are constantly changing, and a little extra fat on the belly or thighs may occur a few months before a growth spurt, says Rodriguez. After the first year of life, most children gradually become thinner until they reach their leanest point around age 5 or 6. Then they put on more fat as their bodies prepare for the sexual development that occurs with adolescence. During the two or three years of puberty, a child’s weight typically doubles, while height increases by only 2.5 percent.
By the same token, there are cases where a child’s pudginess isn’t just baby fat but an indicator of a weight problem that will persist throughout adulthood. While doctors can’t agree on a single standard for which is which, most rely on a weight-height ratio called the body mass index (see “When to Worry”). Children who score above the ninety-fifth percentile are considered overweight.
Another risk factor is parents’ weight: Children under age 10 who have a weight problem and who have at least one overweight parent have a 60 percent chance of being overweight as adults, more than double the risk of their peers who have thin parents, according to a study conducted by Robert Whitaker, M.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.
In Marci Brown’s case, a checkup with Caitlin’s pediatrician determined that at four feet three inches and 60 pounds, the little girl’s weight and height were in proportion. But because Caitlin’s father is overweight, the family’s pediatrician suggested trying to curb the child’s cravings for sweets.
If you’re anxious about whether your child is gaining too much weight or you want to prevent future problems, follow this advice from leading childhood weight experts.
Avoid the D word. First, remember that the vast majority of overweight children under 17 don’t need to be on diets and may actually be harmed by them. “If children don’t get enough calories, it may be harder for them to make muscle and grow as they should,” says Rodriguez.
Always check with your pediatrician first if you’re concerned about your child’s weight. Unless your doctor advises you otherwise, don’t try to follow a formal diet plan. Instead, focus on developing healthful, low-fat eating habits, and take simple calorie-cutting steps such as packing homemade lunches instead of letting your child buy school-cafeteria meals, which are notoriously high in fat and calories. At dinnertime, try serving larger portions of vegetables and smaller portions of starchy or high-fat foods, such as pasta or cheese. Following those steps will generally cut between 200 and 300 calories a day, enough for your child to lose at least half a pound a week without risk.
Make fitness fun. Children should get between 30 minutes and an hour of activity at least five days a week, according to pediatricians and fitness professionals. Consider enrolling her in an organized sport such as swimming, soccer, or gymnastics–but make sure it’s something she enjoys. “Exercise shouldn’t be a punishment for overeating,” says Richard B. Parr, Ed.D., a professor of exercise physiology at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant. If you find you still can’t get your little couch potato moving, become her fitness partner: Walk to the playground after dinner, or take the family for a hike at a local park on the weekends.
Limit TV. Children who spend more than four hours a day in front of the television are more likely to be overweight than those who watch programs for fewer than two hours a day, according to a recent study. And remember: Computer games and Web surfing don’t count as exercise either.
Give hugs, not cookies. Using a bowl of ice cream or a piece of cake to soothe your child’s frustrations or disappointments teaches him to use food for comfort. Remember that a hug and kiss and a few soothing words usually will make the pain go away. Also avoid using treats as a bribe to get your child to put away toys or as a reward for eating carrots and broccoli.
Sign yourself up. Don’t expect your child to develop healthful eating and exercise habits if you don’t practice them yourself. Serve the whole family low-fat food. “You can’t expect one child to eat an apple while you and the rest of the family are munching on chips,” says Marc S. Jacobson, M.D., director of the child and adolescent center for atherosclerosis at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, NY.
Don’t forbid foods. As any dieter knows, the surest way to become obsessed with a food is to make it off-limits. However, some restrictions are important–one cookie instead of two at lunch, or ice cream after dinner every other day instead of every day. Also, try trade-offs: Instead of forcing your child to skip the birthday cake at a friend’s party, tell him that the cake will replace that evening’s dessert.
(*) The names of Caitlin and her mother have been changed to protect their privacy.
RELATED ARTICLE: When to Worry
To determine whether a child is too heavy, doctors start by figuring the child’s body mass index (BMI), a weight-height ratio. Children whose BMI falls between the eighty-fifth and ninety-fifth percentiles would benefit from more healthful eating and exercise habits. Those whose BMI is greater than 95 percent of kids their age (ninety-fifth percentile) are considered overweight and should consult a pediatrician or dietitian about developing a regimented eating plan. The American Dietetic Association can refer you to a registered dietitian; call 800-366-1655 and ask for someone who specializes in pediatric weight loss.
To calculate BMI:
* Multiply weight in pounds by 703.
* Determine height in inches.
* Square that number (multiply it by itself).
* Divide weight by height.
For example, if your 10-year-old boy weighs 100 pounds and is five feet tall, you would calculate his BMI this way:
1. 100 x 703 = 70,300
2. 5 feet = 60 inches
3. 60 x 60 = 3,600
4. 70,300 + 3,600 = 19.5
At Single Volunteers (SV), the goal is to become ineligible for membership. One success story is that of Tony Birchfield and Vicki Kern of SV’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, who met a year ago last spring while building a house for Habitat for Humanity. A few weeks later, the widowed business owner and divorced nurse, both in their 50s, went horseback riding with handicapped children. They hooked up again at a barn dance for the Special Olympics, and four months later, they were married.
“They got to know each other in blue jeans, in full daylight, with sweat on their brows,” says SV’s founder, Anne Lusk. “That’s a wonderful, realistic foundation for any relationship.”
Lusk, 50, got the idea for this unique singles-only volunteer organization in 1995, when she was living in Stowe, VT. The newly separated mother of two signed up to serve Thanksgiving dinner at a homeless shelter. “I was there to sling hash-that was it,” she recalls. But, besides serving up turkey and good cheer, many of the volunteers were also doing a lot of laughing and talking among themselves. It suddenly hit Lusk that volunteering would be a great, no-pressure way for singles to connect. So she read up on dozens of dating services, singles groups, charities, and nonprofit organizations: “Then I called all my friends, and told them to call their friends. Soon I had a database of one hundred twenty-five single men and women, and a list of potential projects.”
One weekend, 20 volunteers Cleared brush and pruned trees at a state-owned park lodge in Groton, VT. “We called it a reenactment of The Big Chill,” says Lusk. “We worked hard all day, and then stayed up until three in the morning, talking. When it was time to go, nobody wanted to leave. People said they hadn’t had that sense of togetherness for a long time. I mean, how many adults get to have a slumber party?”
Membership rapidly grew, and now there are at least 20 regional chapters, each operating independently, with volunteer leadership and minimal dues to cover mailings. All chapters are based on Lusk’s original blueprint: Collect an equal number of single men and women of roughly the same age, set them to work on a volunteer project that allows for plenty of mingling, and see what happens.
Born in Ohio and raised in Japan and Morocco, Lusk has had a long and varied career in public service, including an 11-year stint as an appointed member of the Vermont Board of Forests, Parks, and Recreation. A year ago she moved to Ann Arbor to begin a Ph.D. program in architecture at the University of Michigan. “I’m on scholarship,” she says with justifiable pride. But she still spends hours each week counseling members of new SV chapters. And she does it “with no budget and no staff, because I’m not out to make money from this. I’m out to show people that clearing trails or planting bulbs can be a lot more rewarding than answering a personal ad. Even if you don’t meet a life mate, you’ll be working for a good cause–and having a really good time.”