Sunday, January 17, 2016

Nutrition for Kids: A Whole Different Ball Game

This week, the University of Maryland Dietetic Interns got the opportunity to attend a joint class day at Children's National Medical Center (CNMC).  A joint class day is an opportunity for students from several internships come together to focus on one topic for an entire day.  These class days are extremely enriching and a big benefit of the UMD College Park program.

This particular class day is required for interns if they want to complete a rotation at CNMC.  While listening to the presentations, it was easy to see why this class day is required; childhood nutrition is so different than adult nutrition, it truly is a different ball game! Since all UMD interns spend two weeks there, we packed in our cars and headed to DC!

My first impression when I got there was what a nice facility it is. They do a great job of making the whole building feel warm and inviting for all the children that enter through the doors.

This snuggly stethoscope bear can be found all over the hospital!

These hot air balloons make the hospital feel warm, welcome and fun for all the patients.

It was so much fun to look around at the colors and the artwork throughout the hospital.  We didn't have long however, because we had a LOT to cover in this joint class day.  Nutrition for children is so different than nutrition for adults.  As one of the speakers explained it, "You cannot think of children just as smaller adults because they are going through the process of growing.  While you may be trying to maintain an adult's nutritional status or weight or even help them to lose weight, children should always be growing".  This makes adequate nutrition absolutely imperative for children, so the day's agenda was serious business!

                  We weren't wasting any time at this joint class day!

What I found most interesting about the day was how many different formulas and products are used for children that I had never even heard of before. Though I took Nutrition Through the Life Cycle in my undergraduate career, you never get so specific about those kinds of things and it was really neat to see such a specialized area of dietetics.  

Some preterm formulas we learned about at CNMC.

It was also neat to hear about nutrition for premature babies, how important it is, and how much nutrition can help a baby that was born early.  The dietitians at CNMC are highly respected and valued employees that can offer a lot of help to all the babies, kids, and teens that come through the hospital.

This class day was amazing exposure to yet another area of dietetics that us interns could have the opportunity to contribute to come the end of June (when we graduate!).