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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Dr. OZ

You can help your kids stay away from drugs


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The list of movies aimed at kids that show (supposedly) loveable stars who use drugs is long and well-known: There was "Cheech and Chong," then "Harold & Kumar" and the entire "Hangover" series (including the tiger - don't ask!). Helping teens stay away from recreational drugs is a big job and one that, unfortunately, some parents don't feel they're up to or don't feel they have the clout to make a difference.

That's the word the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration after talking with more than 67,000 Americans over the age of 12. The upshot: 22 percent of parents don't think what they say about drug use will change how their children act. But research shows that nothing could be further from the truth. Among kids who feel their parents strongly disapprove of marijuana use, only 5 percent are willing to risk it; but more than 30 percent of kids whose parents don't make their anti-drug message clear are willing to experiment with pot.

Mom and Dad, you are the health guides in all areas - from drugs to doughnuts to sleep. When you don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk (we love families who get walking together, aiming for 10,000 steps a day), you are amazingly influential. So gather your kids around (even those teenagers), plan a family meal, schedule regular family walks and set aside time for conversations about the importance of a healthful lifestyle for better grades, higher self-esteem and a brighter future.

v vWhen they were pregnant, Mariska Hargitay, Salma Hayek and Mariah Carey developed gestational diabetes; it's a form of diabetes that appears during pregnancy if a woman's body can't produce sufficient insulin or respond to the insulin she does produce. As a consequence, her blood sugar rises to levels that are dangerous for mother and child. That can happen if you're overweight before you become pregnant, if you have a family history of diabetes (Hayek's family does) or if you've gained excess weight while pregnant (Hargitay gained 54 pounds; Carey lost 70 after the birth).

If you have uncontrolled GD, your baby may be born with serious respiratory problems and hypoglycemia, and later on can develop obesity, heart problems and, yes, diabetes. Moms may remain diabetic after the birth (10 percent do) or develop Type 2 diabetes later on (35 to 60 percent do). Fortunately, there are new recommendations to help you and your newborn avoid serious complications associated with high blood sugar levels.

Check for Type 2 diabetes at your first prenatal doctor's visit (many women have it, but are undiagnosed) and, if you don't have Type 2, get screened for GD at 24 weeks. If you develop GD, stick to your prescribed diet: fruits and veggies, 100 percent whole grains, no refined carbs, no added sugars or sugar syrups, only healthy fats such as olive and canola oils, and no red or processed meat. And get regular physical exercise; start walking at least 30 minutes a day. Take medication, if your doctor says it's necessary. Then you and your baby will have a longer and healthier life.

Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer and chair of the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com.

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