Three ingredients to ease life of asthmatic kids

Sunday, February 6, 2011

WASHINGTON - Eliminating distractions like cell phones and TV, involving behaviour control such as mild discipline and allowing communication that shows genuine interest and concern are the ways to ease the lives of asthmatic children.

University of Illinois Family Resiliency Centre director Barbara H. Fiese and her colleagues videotaped 200 families that included children aged 5 to 12 with persistent asthma, observing and coding their actions during family meals, according to a University of Illinois statement.

The kids filled out a 23-item asthma-specific questionnaire assessing their quality of life, rating such items as the degree to which they worried about their symptoms and how well they were able to take part in everyday activities.

“Family mealtimes, when they’re done right, are linked to many benefits for children, including a reduced risk of substance abuse, eating disorders and obesity,” Fiese said.

And, because any good ‘recipe’ is specific about the amounts of each ingredient, Fiese has issued some guidelines, the journal Child Development reports.

“Communication is by far the most important ingredient,” she said.

“The average family meal takes 18 minutes, and I’d allot about two minutes to action, four minutes to behaviour control and 12 minutes to positive communication that affirms kids’ importance, helps them resolve troublesome issues, and reminds them to take their medicine or write a thank you note,” she said.

“When children were part of families that followed the ‘recipe’, their asthma symptoms were less severe and they were more apt to take their medicine. They also tended to worry less about their symptoms,” Fiese said.

Filed under: Medicine, Obesity, World

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