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Bear Essentials Online - August 2010

Make sure your child is up-to-date with their vaccinations at his or her back-to-school check-up

Annual check-ups give you and your child the chance to speak with and ask questions to a medical expert to discuss your child's health and development. Returning to the same primary care provider every year allows the provider to follow your child's health across time, making it more likely that he or she will pick up on small changes in your child's health that a new provider might not notice.

Be sure to stay up-to-date with your child's required vaccinations because it will prevent them from getting sick and contracting or spreading contagious diseases to their classmates. Not having the proper vaccines may also cause your child to miss time at school. To prevent this, it is recommended that you make an appointment with your child's primary care physician.

Most importantly, you should talk to your physician about what vaccinations your child may need and what steps they must take. With re-entering the school atmosphere or entering it for the first time, it is all the more likely they can be infected with contagious illnesses that are spread through the close contact with other children.

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Children's National Expert Weighs in on Bone Health

Building a Bone Bank

Bone health soccer imagePeak bone mass is strongly influenced by our genes; however, children can attain their full genetic potential only when nutrition, exercise, endocrine function. Properly and other lifestyle factors are optimized. The period during which children acquire bone mineral differs for boys and girls. Girls attain most of their bone mass by age 14 and only add a little after puberty. Boys can gain bone mass into their late teens. For both sexes, growth spurt years are considered the crucial years for maximizing bone acquisition.

It is essential that your child’s diet contains sufficient amounts of calcium. (See the table below.) According to Laura Tosi, MD, calcium is absorbed only when a child has adequate vitamin D. A child’s skin can manufacture this critical vitamin when he or she is exposed to sun for approximately 10 to 15 minutes; however, it is important to remember that children with dark skin may require longer exposure time; milk is also vitamin-D fortified. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recently increased its recommendation for vitamin D supplementation for children from 200 IU (international units) to 400 IU daily.

Recent research suggests that exercise may be even more important to bone health than diet. It is essential that all children engage in regular weight bearing physical activity, such as running and jumping rope. Exercise improves not only bone health, but it also increases muscle strength, coordination, balance, and it improves overall health.

Recommended Daily Calcium Intakes

Age Amount of Calcium
Birth to 6 months
210 mg
6 months to 1 year
270 mg
Children/young adults:

1 to 3 years
500 mg
4 to 8 years
800 mg
9 to 18 years
1,300 mg

Adult women and men:

19 to 50 years
1,000 mg
50 + years
1,200 mg

Pregnant or lactating women:

18 years or younger
1,300 mg
19 to 50 years
1,000 mg

* Source: National Academy of Sciences, 1997

Good Sources of Calcium
Calcium (mg)
1 cup
  Cheese, processed slices
2 slices
  Ice cream
½ cup
Beans and nuts
Tofu (firm, made with calcium sulfate)
3 ½ oz
  White beans
½ cup
  Pinto beans, chick peas
½ cup
  Almonds (dry roast)
¼ cup
Fruits and vegetables
Broccoli (cooked)
½ cup
  Spinach (cooked)
½ cup
1 medium

Laura Tosi, MD, is the director of Children's Bone Health Program in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.

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The Parent's Letter Project

“With every breath she takes and every drip of the infusion, she fights this cancer. We can no longer explain this away, it is now part of all our lives. How are we going to get through this?”- Kerry’s dad

Kerry’s dad wrote a letter to families at Children’s National who also have children with Hodgkins’ lymphoma. Imagine how valuable his experience could be to a parent just embarking on a similar journey.

Read Kerry’s letter.

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Lean Green Pita Dippers Recipe

You don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this vegetarian snack.

Lean Green Pita Dippers

Preparation time: 10 minutes


  • 4 whole-wheat pitas
  • 1 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • ¼ of cucumber, sliced
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Place yogurt, spinach, cucumber, salt, and pepper into food processor or blender. Process until smooth.
  • Place dip into a bowl and refrigerate until chips are done.
  • Cut pitas into 8 wedges.
  • Arrange pita wedges on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder.
  • Bake for 5 minutes or until light golden brown and crispy. Use the pita wedges to scoop up the yogurt dip.
Serves: 4

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Children's National in Anne Arundel County

World-class orthopaedic care is closer than you think.

Children’s National Medical Center’s Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine provides a full range of orthopaedic services for children and teens at state-of-the-art inpatient, outpatient and intensive care units, as well as our Regional Outpatient Centers located throughout the Metropolitan Washington area. With locations around the beltway and beyond, the best pediatric health care available is right around the corner.

Renowned orthopaedic surgeons, John Lovejoy, MD, and Shannon McClure, MD, see patients at the Annapolis Regional Outpatient Center in Anne Arundel County. Patients may be referred for diagnosis and treatment of any musculoskeletal condition, including broken bones, sports injuries, scoliosis, congenital disorders, and bone tumors.

To request an appointment, call 888-884-BEAR.

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Pre-Surgical Tour

A child facing surgery confronts more than surgery itself. Many questions race through his mind...questions like, "Will I wake up during surgery?" and "When will I be able to see my mom and dad?" Help prepare yourself and your child for surgery by learning more about our pre-surgical tours.

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Learn the Latest Developments in World-Class Care

Stay connected with Children's National's Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation through our new blog!

See what happened when a delegation of doctors and executives from Children's National met with leaders in Abu Dhabi to provide updates on the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. Stay connected to the latest developments in this one-of-a-kind institute and follow its groundbreaking research. The Institute brings together surgeons and researchers to improve children's lives before, during, and after surgery, focusing on four initiatives that together will open a new era for pediatric surgery:

  • Pain medicine - To alleviate and eventually eliminate pain
  • Immunology - To use a child's own immune system to fight illness and cure disease
  • Bioengineering - To harness the full power of science and technology to make treatment more precise
  • Personalized medicine - To tailor treatment for every child depending on their own genetic makeup
Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation blog

Children's National recently appointed musculoskeletal radiologist and imaging informaticist, Nabile Safdar, MD, and former National Institutes of Health (NIH) Chief of Anesthesiology, Zena Quezado, MD, to the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. 

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Translational Medicine in Action at Children’s National

Children in underserved neighborhoods are more likely to have asthma, and oftentimes their asthma tends to be more severe. Unfortunately, these kids also are far less likely to receive regular asthma care, including the latest treatments to manage the condition.

Children’s National Medical Center takes advantage of every opportunity to give kids who struggle with controllable asthma greater access to effective solutions.  Recently, Children’s National, in partnership with The George Washington University Medical Center, received the prestigious Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health. This award allows researchers at both institutions to collaborate together and with institutions across the country, on clinical research, and ultimately taking what they learn in the research lab and translating it into world-class care for the nation’s children.

Scientists work together to unlock the complex interactions between the genetic and environmental factors related to lung tissue, allergies, and viral infections, all in an effort to better understand the triggers, as well as the medicines, that impact asthma at its most basic level. At the same time, Children’s affiliation with the Inner-City Asthma Consortium—a team of basic, clinical, and community researchers and physicians in major cities throughout the United States—allows children in low income neighborhoods of Washington, DC, to enroll in clinical trials of new medications under the careful watch of pediatric specialists.

In addition, trained educators in the communities of Southeast Washington, DC and in the Children’s National Emergency Department educate families about environmental factors like mold, dust and pests, as well as the importance of managing asthma day to day. The educators test which programs and messages keep kids out of the Emergency Department and in school. From laboratory to clinic room, and out to the neighborhoods most in need, these programs share information, trade results, and offer insight to each other, because they also share the same priority—easing the burden on families of children living with asthma.

Find out more about the Clinical and Translational Institute at Children’s National.

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