Health & Wellness Interviews

. April 1, 2019.
Jan Hack Communications Director Ann Arbor YMCA

What are your family’s health goals this year? Eat more fruits and vegetables? Strengthen your bodies and minds? These health professionals are dedicated to promoting a healthier future for both you and your family.

Dr. Priyanka Rao


University of Michigan General Pediatrics
200 Arnet Street, Suite 200, Ypsilanti

Dr. Priyanka Rao Pediatrician

I’m looking for a new pediatrician, why should I choose University of Michigan’s General Pediatrics?
I would choose University of Michigan General Pediatrics because we are a diverse and energetic group of pediatricians with locations throughout Ann Arbor and in numerous surrounding communities (Canton, Howell Northville, Saline, and Ypsilanti). We are dedicated to providing patient and family centered care, practicing evidence-based medicine, and educating the next generation.

I want to avoid my child developing a peanut allergy, should I feed him only peanut-free foods?
No! We now have new evidence that demonstrates the importance of early introduction of peanut-containing foods (starting around 6 months of age for most children) to help sensitize children to peanut protein. Of course, peanuts and peanut butter are choking hazards and therefore forms that can be introduced early must be safe for infants such as a small amount of peanut butter mixed with pureed fruits or vegetables.

My child seems to constantly have a runny nose, could it be allergies?
Depending on the age of your child and time of the year it is possible that a runny nose could be allergies, especially if it is associated with sneezing and itchy eyes and if eczema, asthma or allergies run in your family. However, if it’s just a runny nose then it is likely a cold caused by a viral illness which are very frequent in the winter-time and often children will have eight to ten colds per year (more if your child is in child-care or if there are older school-age children in your home).

Dan Santioni

PT Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation

Probility Physical Therapy/Pediatric Rehabilitation
3145 W. Clark Rd., Ypsilanti
734-712-0566 |

Dan Santioni PT Director of Pediatric Rehabilitation

Why is early intervention so important? Can’t I just wait to see if the problem resolves itself as my child grows?
This is a very important question. The opinion of “wait and see” often leads to more impairment and a longer time in therapy once the child does begin services. There are many diagnostic tests now that can detect disability early in a baby’s life. There are studies showing that early intervention can solve issues faster and for the disabled child, we are seeing less impairment. If there is any question as to your child’s health or development it is important to advocate for an evaluation by one of our pediatric specialists.

What therapy services does Probility offer children?
Our pediatric department offers services in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

What kind of therapy does a young baby under 6 months need?
Physical therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT) and Speech and Language Pathology (SLP) can address several issues that are common under 6 months. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment is key to continued success in growth and development. Often PT at this age can address delay in motor skills, orthopedic concerns such as joint deformity or torticollis. OT and SLP can address feeding concerns.

I feel my child is impaired. I am an experienced parent and I know something is wrong. My child is only 8 mo old, but I suspect something bad, what can I do?
The first thing you should do is address your concern with your doctor. Asking for a pediatric therapy referral would be a good start in trying to figure out if there is anything wrong. Your physical therapist can perform developmental, orthopedic and neurological testing to assist with any diagnosis your doctor may want to pursue. Physical therapy can often help prioritize what to focus on in terms of treatment and help you stay focused on what you can do to help your child succeed.

Jan Hack

Communications Director

Ann Arbor YMCA | 400 W. Washington St.
734-996-9622 |

Jan Hack Communications Director Ann Arbor YMCA

What is one easy habit a family can implement to live healthier starting today?
Play every day! Play may be the best way to prevent childhood obesity. By putting more play into your family’s day, you will soon find yourself getting the activity that will have your family feeling energized and strong. It doesn’t matter what you choose to do. As long as your arms and legs are moving, it’s good for you.

How do you help kids and parents stay fit?
Spending time as a family while being active! The Y makes it easy with physical activity programs for every age, including parent/tot programs, unstructured family-time in the gym and an indoor family pool where everyone can splash together.

What is your favorite outdoor fitness activity to do in Ann Arbor?
Riding bikes is a great way to see our beautiful city, and something that can be done together.

Describe your favorite fitness routine for families and why.
The Y is a great place for families to come together to stay active and connected all year long. It’s great to see an entire family get in the pool in the evening or on the weekend, or up on the basketball courts shooting hoops. Fitness doesn’t have to mean a rigid class schedule or punishing routine; it can be an integral part of a family’s life and enhance their together-time while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Krysta White

Dance & Zumba Fitness Instructor

Peachy Fitness | 2385 S. Huron Pkwy.
734-681-0477 |

Krysta White Dance & Zumba Fitness Instructor

What is one easy practice a family can implement to live healthier starting today?
Meditation and mindfulness habits are becoming a more well-known way to counteract the chaos and stress of modern life. It is very simple to start a mindfulness practice. All you need is five minutes and yourself–turn off all distractions and find the quietest place possible.

Once relaxed in a seated or lying down position, close your eyes and begin to slow and deepen your breath. You can expect your mind will wander, but just calmly bring it back to the present moment while focusing on how your breath and body are feeling. This can be a great whole family or parent-child activity to feel more connected to oneself and the present moment. Better yet, look into a movement-based meditation such as a yoga class to develop a deeper mind-body connection!

How do you help kids stay healthy?
Our classes and events help create awareness that exercise can be fun! Through a play-based approach, each child who takes a Peachy Fitness class is not only moving and learning, but also having a blast. Our yoga classes also facilitate mindfulness, which helps kids grow in their self-esteem, focus, and emotional regulation. Overall, we create an environment in which children can grow strong in body and mind.

Describe your favorite fitness routine for parents and why.
What I love seeing most is parents who are staying active by doing something that they truly enjoy. Whether that is biking, dancing, yoga, or lifting weights, finding something fun makes it easier to stay consistent. When parents are regularly exercising with a positive attitude, it influences their child to also see it as an essential yet gratifying component of self-care. This strong example gives them a greater chance of continuing to be physically active well into adulthood.

How does Peachy Fitness help keep Ann Arbor families fit and healthy?
Peachy Fitness offers adult, child, and family options for yoga and dance classes throughout the week including prenatal yoga, plus birthday parties, summer camps, and other special events throughout the year. Is transportation a challenge? Ask your child’s school about having a Peachy instructor come onsite to be a part of their after school program.