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Back-to-School Health Checklist

Experts say how to keep your child on the right track to health this school year.

What Else Can Parents Do? continued...

If children are hanging back or seem anxious about the first day, explain that their friends are waiting to see them again. Maybe another child in the neighborhood could come along the first day.

Be sure you have arrangements for after-school, too.

Parents must also be sure the child has sufficient sleep, usually eight hours for a growing child and even more for a teen. And the child should go off with a good breakfast. Sometimes kids can eat at school, too, but nutrition helps the child to focus and concentrate.

"Actually, that's something the schools could do better," Santesteban says. "Serve better food. Some of the stuff is nasty and cheap, like deep-fried pancakes on a stick. My son doesn't eat breakfast at school, but he would like to, for that very reason."

In other words, adult supervision is needed.

Star Lawrence is a medical journalist based in the Phoenix area.

Reviewed on August 04, 2006

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