090414085325-largeMost kids love milk, mac and cheese, and of course, dessert.  According to Dr. Julie L. Wei, a pediatric otolaryngologist, that kids love for food like these are more than a sugar rush, they are actually causing a disease.  She calls it the “Milk and Cookie Disease.”

Wei spent years at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Fl treating children who were in a way healthy, but had continuous runny and stuffy noses, coughs, sore throats, constipation, and fatigue.  She prescribed them medications and they did not improve, so she began to wonder.

Wei found that many of her patients were consuming lots of dairy and sugar throughout the day and eating snacks right before bedtime.  She said these foods were likely backing up into the stomach, esophagus, and throat causing reflux, cold and allergy like symptoms and even creating sleeping problems.  She recommended that her patients do not eat dairy or sugar foods before bed and their symptoms had drastically improved.  “That’s why I call it the ‘Milk and Cookie Disease,’ because I believe so many American children may be suffering from these symptoms for the same reason,” she states.

In today’s society, kids rarely sit down for meals, but snack all throughout the day.  According to a survey by the American Dietetic Association Foundation about 25% of children snack after dinner.  Wei believes that about 50%-70% of children are eating lots of dairy and sugary food and snacking before bedtime.

If you think your child is suffering from this disease, here is what you can do:

If your child’s symptoms are not improving from medication, Wei suggest that you take them to see a pediatric or a general doctor.

Parents are usually busy, and do not notice what their kids are eating, but they should keep track of the amount of dairy and sugar that their kids are consuming.  Keep a food journal.

Only offer water before bedtime and do not allow milk, juice, soda, or snacks.  Kids should not eat snacks 90 minutes to two hours before bed to prevent food sitting in the stomach.

After dinner, if your child is still hungry, only offer healthy options.

If your child needs relieve from constipation, try serving them options that are fiber rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.   A laxative can help a little bit too, if it’s not getting better, see a doctor.

Camp Shane, a weight loss camp, encourages overweight and obese kids and young adults to eat healthier, which will help towards weight loss.  Meals are served in proper portions that are enough for the body to stay healthy.  Throughout the day campers are always busy with some sort of physical activity.  We strive to put our campers on the right track for a healthier lifestyle, which can benefit them for a lifetime!