HER happy disposition and ability to engage with children is the perfect fit for a paediatrician.
So when Dr Jo Rainbow tells her young patients her name, their faces light up and she is immediately friends with them.
Dr Rainbow has two children of her own, Sophie and Jacko, and says being a mother has given her an empathy for parents struggling with the management and care of their children.
“Of course that terrible sleep deprivation can lead to a heightened anxiety for parents,” she said.
“I particularly feel so much for single parents who don’t have the level of support they would normally have with a partner in the house.”
Dr Rainbow primarily works with children in the emergency department, however, she is concerned by the number of obese children coming into the hospital.
“I have one of the children who weighs more than me,” she said.
While she acknowledges school canteens and tuckshops have put measures in place to reduce the amount of sugar consumed by young children, she says it is in the home where the attitudes of parents are adding to childhood obesity.
“If you check with the local supermarkets you will find that it is 1.5 litres of Coke, followed by the three litres that is the biggest selling item,” Dr Rainbow said.
Since practising in Orange she said she had come across parents who did not know how to cook or what made up a balanced meal.
“We had one mother who told us she had difficulty grating the carrots, and sadly she thought they only came in a tin,” Dr Rainbow said.
She said there needed to be a community approach to encouraging a healthy lifestyle from a young age, and was encouraged to see Orange City Council putting in more bike lanes in the city.
“But there are still many places where you can’t walk, particularly with a pram because there is no footpath, that certainly doesn’t encourage a healthy lifestyle,” Dr Rainbow said.
“People drive their kids everywhere.”