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BODY WATCH

Books to Be Healthy By

Times Health Writer Shari Roan reviews new references on everything from bottle-feeding to the change of life, from caring for school-age children to preventing heartburn.

February 21, 1996|SHARI ROAN | TIMES HEALTH WRITER

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS CARING FOR YOUR SCHOOL-AGE CHILD

Edward L. Schor, M.D., Editor in Chief, Bantam Books $29.95

Most baby- and child-health books span only the years of birth to age 5 or 6. But parents' concerns over their children's health and development don't disappear once kindergarten begins.

This 596-page tome picks up where baby books leave off, addressing an array of topics on children 5 to 12. Based on the latest understanding of child development, the topics range from puberty to skateboard safety to sexuality to choosing a summer camp. The chapters on discipline and behavior are particularly astute, including "Your Development as a Parent." Parents will find the advice evenhanded, concise and well-supported by fact.

BOTTLE-FEEDING WITHOUT GUILT

By Peggy Robin; Prima Publishing $14.95

The main goal of this 295-page manual isn't to teach parents about the mechanics of bottle-feeding (although that is included), but to reassure them that bottle-feeding doesn't make them bad parents.

Robin articulates a phenomenon that many women who can't or choose not to breast-feed have noticed in recent years: With breast-feeding endorsed by health organizations as the best source of nutrition for infants, parents of formula-fed infants are sometimes second-guessed or even berated for bottle-feeding.

Robin lashes back. She correctly notes that while breast milk is superior to formula, formula-fed babies still thrive and are generally as healthy and intelligent as the next kid.

DR. NANCY SNYDERMAN'S GUIDE TO GOOD HEALTH: What Every Forty-Plus Woman Should Know About Her Changing Body

By Nancy Snyderman, M.D.; William Morrow & Co. $25

Using conversational and easy-to-understand language, Snyderman, the medical correspondent for "Good Morning America," is particularly effective writing on topics that most change-of-life women experience, such as birth control choices and stress.

She states that her goal is to help women know their bodies. To that end, the book succeeds. But it must be noted that Snyderman is a surgeon who specializes in otolaryngology. Women with particular health concerns on such issues as heart disease, cancer or mental illness may wish for something more specific--and from a specialist in women's health.

THE STANFORD LIFE PLAN FOR A HEALTHY HEART

By Helen Cassidy Page, John Speer Schroeder, M.D., Tara Coghlin Dickson; Chronicle Books$29.95

The prevention of heart disease is a complicated topic. The authors of this guide, however, have made it easy by formulating a self-help program to maintain ideal cholesterol levels by limiting saturated fat to less than 25 grams a day.

At almost 600 pages, the "Stanford Life Plan" seems like four books in one with sections on heart disease prevention, nutrition, a consumer guide to healthy foods and a 200-recipe cookbook. The recipes are easy but may be too exotic for meat-and-taters folks.

The health advice, however, is up-to-date and delivered with a deft understanding of what it's like to be 30 pounds overweight and human. Here's one piece of advice on how to avoid fat when ordering from a sandwich shop: "Before you enter the establishment, practice saying, 'Hold the mayo' and 'No, no butter either.' " As the authors point out, most sandwich shop employees don't understand what "a little" mayo is.

THE ENDOMETRIOSIS SOURCEBOOK

By Mary Lou Ballweg and the Endometriosis Assn.; Contemporary Books $14.95

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that has long been steeped in confusion. As is noted in the forward of this book, medical experts do not understand what causes endometriosis, and many myths and misinformation surround the disease. Women are given widely varying information about their conditions, making it very hard for consumers to know whether they are being treated appropriately.

This book sorts through the various opposing views on endometriosis in a balanced, clear and exhaustively thorough manner. Women will learn what they can expect regarding diagnosis and treatment and what is still controversial or unproven.

Readers familiar with the Endometriosis Assn.'s first book, "Overcoming Endometriosis," published in 1987 and reprinted five times, will be impressed with the additional research findings compiled in the new book. Gynecologists should read this too.

STOP THE HEARTBURN

By David S. Utley, M.D.; Lagado Publishing $9.95

This is a paperback guide to relief for heartburn, indigestion, difficulty swallowing, sour taste and hoarseness, written by a Stanford University Hospital otolaryngologist. Utley notes that while Americans devour medications for heartburn and related problems, lifestyle changes can also help and should be tried first. The 75-page book is neatly organized and full of practical recommendations.

(Available through mail order by calling [415] 562-3800.)

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