Thursday, July 28, 2011
Spending too much time in front of the tv can affect kids health By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Children and television do not mix well. We already know that too much TV watching causes obesity. We also know that it causes children to imitate the violence that they see and that it increases the chances of a child taking up risky behavior like smoking and drinking. None of that is new. However, this month a new consequence of TV viewing has been added. The article was published in Pediatrics, the formal publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The new finding is that children ages three to five can develop sleep problems due to television. Sleep problems included not wanting to go to bed on time, nightmares, frequent waking at night and difficulty waking up in the morning. The first issue had to do with watching violent content on TV. It did not matter whether the violent content was watched in the day time or the evening. Both resulted in an increased chance of sleep problems. The second had to do with evening viewing of TV. The content did not matter. Violent content was still an issue. However, sleep problems occurred with any TV viewing in the evening. What is more important is the length of time that the TV was watched. For one hour of time there was a significant increase in sleep problems. Each time an additional hour was watched, it increased the chance of sleep problems even more. A third finding was that children with a TV in their bedroom had even more sleep issues. I see a lot of children with sleep related problems in the office. Often the parents are looking for a quick fix. The use of medication is not a substitute for good sleep hygiene. There are a number of factors that go into good sleep hygiene. Now there is a new one - television. There are a number of things that parents can do if their child has sleep issues. The first is simple. Children under age 5 should not have a TV in their room. Surveys have shown that 20 to 40% of preschool children have a TV in their room which means there are a lot of families that can address this issue. The second is that viewing TV in the evening needs to be addressed. The more time that TV is watched, the more likely there is to be a sleep problem. The American Academy of Pediatrics has some longstanding recommendations on this. Children under age 2 do not need to watch TV. After they have turned 2, viewing time should be limited to 2 hours per day. The third is that violent TV viewing at any time is a bad thing. It has long (since the 1970s) been known to cause increased violence in children. Now we know that it also causes sleep problems. The study also looked at violent video games. The findings were the same. I often have parents come and tell me that they have tried everything to get their child to go to sleep at night. Medication must be the only answer. Now there is actually another answer. I dont know how many of them will like this particular answer.

Health Briefs Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

Crab feast to support BIAD The Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD) is hosting its fourth annual Crab Feast Fundraiser on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the New Leipsic Fire Hall located at 318 Main St., Dover. The menu includes all you can eat crabs, corn on the cob, chicken tenders, hush puppies, french fries and non-alcoholic beverages (a cash bar will be available). Cost is $30 per person and $7 for kids ages 5 to 12. Enjoy live entertainment, a DJ and assorted raffles. Buy tickets online at or call 800-411-0505 for more information. BIAD is the only charity of its kind in the state, and provides services within Delaware and parts of Maryland. Funds raised for the Brain Injury Association of Delaware (BIAD), a nonprofit group, are used to further its mission to create a better future through brain injury prevention, research, education, and advocacy. To learn more about brain injury, visit or call 1-800-411-0505.

NMH offers Stroke Support Group Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals next Stroke Support Group meeting is at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 19, at the Seaford Library. 

The support group is designed for individuals who have survived a stroke as well as their families and caregivers.  The two-hour support group meetings will consist of guest speakers and breakaway sessions, in which caregivers and stroke survivors will meet in two groups to discuss concerns, provide support, and allow for networking. Refreshments will be provided. Pre-registration is not required for this free support group.  For more information, contact Nanticoke Memorial Hospital at 629-6611, ext. 8626.

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices "New Beginnings bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences.  Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.  The location rotates each week of the month according to this schedule:
  • 1st Thursday: Grottos Pizza, Rt. 26, Bethany Beach;
  • 2nd Thursday: Georgia House, 300 Delaware Ave., Laurel;
  • 3rd Thursday: Millsboro Pizza Palace, Rt. 113-southbound lane, Millsboro;
  • 4th Thursday: Blue Ocean Grill (formerly Milton House), 200 Broadkill Rd., Milton;
  • 5th Thursday (when applicable): Texas Grill (formerly Ocean Point Grill), 26089 Long Neck Rd., Millsboro.
"New Beginnings luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Carol Dobson or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. Of particular value to newly-diagnosed women is DBCCs Peer Mentor Program through which they are paired with a long-term survivor for one-on-one support. To learn more about Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

Nanticoke golf tournaments Nanticoke Health Services will host the twenty-fifth annual golf tournament on Thursday, Sept. 22 and Friday, Sept. 23, at Heritage Shores Club in Bridgeville. Thursdays tournament will be Ladies Day, and Fridays tournament will be the traditional tournament open to men and women. The tournament will consist of 18 holes with four-person teams utilizing a handicapped scramble format.  Participants will enjoy a fun-filled day at Heritage Shores Club, an Arthur Hills classic links style course. Both days will consist of practice, 18-holes of golf, food, gross and net team prizes. A full field of participants is expected for each day. Enthusiastic golfers will have numerous chances to test their skills by competing in on-course activities. Additional avenues of supporting the tournaments include Eagle, Birdie and Par levels of sponsorship, as well as Tee sign and Pink Links sponsorships. Sponsorship opportunities are available to individuals and businesses. Proceeds from the tournaments will benefit an expansion to Nanticokes Cardiac Catheterization Lab. Time is the leading factor in reducing death due to heart attack and stroke.  The expansion of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab will help ease possible delays emergent cases cause and continue to raise the level of services Nanticoke Health Services provides to the community.  More information and registration forms for the tournaments are available online at, or by contacting the Nanticoke Health Services Foundation office at 629-6611, ext. 8944 or