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MARKETPLACE:  Auto | Jobs | Personals | Yellow Pages  November 12, 2003
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Tips For A Healthy School Year
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American Dietetic Association
R.I. Department of Health

It's back to school time, but before kids start with the ABC's and 123's, doctors say first, make sure your children can read the blackboard.  Eye doctors say kids should be checked before they enter kindergarten

Next, check to see if vaccinations are up to date.  Pediatricians say school-aged kids should be immunized against eleven different diseases.  Pediatrician Lyuba Konopasak says, "Certainly before entering kindergarten they should be getting the DTAP, the injectile polio vaccine IPV, measles, mumps and they should also be immunized against hepatitis B and varicella - chicken pox."

If you're off to college, 'close contact' dorm living could spell meningitis - a dangerous illness which causes inflammation of the lining of the brain and spine.  Rhode Island requires that students entering college receive the meningitis vaccine. 

It's not just about the right shots. Parents should also inject good nutrition into the daily routine.  The American Dietetic Association says packing a healthy lunch can also protect kids from food-borne illness.  Nutritionist Julie Walsh says, "Pack some things like a sandwich on whole wheat, with some fruit, a 100% fruit juice box which is frozen, will help keep the sandwich safe."

Don't forget to make sure your kids are 'doing the growing body good' with plenty of daily exercise.  Cut back on time in front of the TV, and use that time to get some kind of physical activity with your kid which can benefit both you and your child. 

Meantime, experts say kids also need their sleep in order to function at full throttle, so before school starts try to cycle your kids back to that earlier bedtime.

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