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Lets Talk Health Q & A

Have a question you forgot to discuss at the doctor’s office or are too embarrassed to ask? The experts at Samaritan Health Services are here to help. June / July

Q: I drink non-dairy milk and now I wonder if it is nutritious enough for my child?

A: There are many good reasons adults choose non-dairy milk, but it is probably best to stick with dairy milk for children to fill in the nutritional gaps. Some vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamins A and D that are found in dairy milk can be hard for children to get enough of from other foods — especially for young children who are learning to eat solid foods.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends plain whole milk for children between the ages of 1 and 2. Plain unsweetened soy milk that has been fortified with calcium and vitamin D could be an option as long as parents ensure their child eats a varied diet that includes fruits and vegetables.

Children ages 2 to 5 can switch from whole milk to low-fat milk or continue with fortified soy milk. Children can get more of their nutrition from food as they learn to like a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins.

— Camilia Makhyoun, DO, Samaritan Kidney Specialists – Corvallis

Q: How can I help my child resist peer pressure to use drugs or alcohol?

A: Model healthy behavior at home, help build your child’s self-esteem and start supportive conversations at an early age. There are positive outcomes directly associated with parental/caregiver support, including the likelihood that children and adolescents will seek guidance from caregivers in favor of following the “crowd.” This is most true when the conversations are educational, supportive and hopeful, rather than punitive and shaming.

Conversations can be used to reinforce that you love them, care about what they’re going through and will be there to help when they have questions. When your child is around 8 to 10 years old, explain the dangers in age-appropriate language. Be there to talk when your child wants to, no matter the time of day. Be open to text or other types of conversations that may be more comfortable to your child. Allow discussions to be a part of normal, everyday conversations, ensuring that the topic is never off limits.

Encourage your child’s participation in hobbies, sports and clubs. Listen and pay attention to what interests your child. Not only do these activities create a sense of natural happiness, but they also prevent boredom, increase the likelihood of friendships that don’t involve drug or alcohol use and increase self-esteem.

— David Simmons, MD, Samaritan Family Medicine Resident Clinic – Lebanon


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Call Samaritan Health Services Find a Doctor line at 800-863-5241 to find a provider who is right for you.


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