Excessive Drinking by Teens Linked To Poor Parenting

Allowing your children to experience life according to their own terms may have some advantages, but not when it comes to preventing alcohol abuse. This was revealed through a new study on teen drinking.

teen alcohol consumption drinkingThe study, jointly conducted by Queen’s University Belfast and Glasgow University, said that parents who don’t exercise control and authority in the household may increase the likelihood of their teenage children to engage in excessive alcohol consumption. “We are hypothesising that while emotional support and closeness are important for ensuring mental wellbeing, when it comes to health behaviours like alcohol use, parental rules may have more of an influence over factors outside the home such as peer influences and social media,” said study co-author Mark McCann in a news release.

Researchers reviewed data from close to 5,000 adolescents from 2010 to 2011, and looked into the importance of parental control in limiting alcohol intake by their teen kids.

Based on the study findings, the research team believes that proper parenting plays a key role in preventing teen alcohol abuse, more than any alcohol awareness program designed for kids. “Given that adolescence is often a critical period for the beginning of alcohol use, and that alcohol harms are not confined to children from so-called ‘problem’ families, support for adolescent parenting – rather than alcohol awareness for parents – may be a more beneficial target for public policy aimed at young people’s health behaviour,” McCann added.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that making your kids aware of alcohol abuse isn’t important. In fact, parents are encouraged to discuss alcohol to kids early.

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Chicago Mayor’s Proposal on Stricter Smoking Regulations Opposed By City Council Committee

Implementing more stringent measures against cigarette smoking may sound like a heroic act for any mayor, but it doesn’t seem to be the case in Chicago.

cigarette smokingAfter Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to update the legal smoking age to 21 (from the current 18) and increase taxes on tobacco products, members of the City Council Finance Committee doused water on the mayor’s proposal. According to some aldermen in the committee, the latest move by Emanuel may lead to more harm than good. Here are some of the opposing views on the matter:

  • According to one alderman, the high taxation against tobacco may increase the sale of tobacco products in the black market and lead small tobacco businesses to shut down.
  • Chairman Edward Burke (14th) spoke in behalf of aldermen, saying that the mayor’s plans would worsen the situation on loose cigarettes in the black market.
  • Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) said in a news release that the change in legal smoking age was without basis, considering that people who are 18 years old are allowed to get married. “An 18-year-old is not a kid,” according to Hairston.

Emanuel seems unfazed by the criticism on his proposal. “Mayor Emanuel has stood up to the tobacco industry countless times throughout his career to reduce youth smoking, and he’s not about to back down now”, a statement from the mayor’s office said. He seems to be banking on his effective five-year campaign against teen smoking, the rate of which has dropped to 10.7 percent in the city.

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Depression of Parents Linked To Poor Child Performance in School

Your child’s performance in school may be affected by your depressive tendencies. This was revealed by a recent study that delved into a potential link between parental depression and the child’s scholastic attitude.

child school performance parental depressionA research team led by Brian K. Lee of Philadelphia’s Drexel University School of Public Health arrived as this discovery after reviewing depression cases of parents in Sweden, as well as the school records of more than 1.1 million Swedish children born between 1984 and 1994.

Results of the study, as posted in a news report, showed that mothers and fathers who were diagnosed with depression before a period known as the final compulsory school year were more likely to have their kids perform poorly in school. The biggest impact was observed on the depression of the mother, which led to a larger effect on the performance of their daughters in school.

The team believes that their research shows how the psychology of parents can affect how their children act and perform in school “Because parental depression may be more amendable to improvement compared with other influences, such as socioeconomic status, it is worth verifying the present results in independent cohorts. If the associations observed are causal, the results strengthen the case even further for intervention and support among children of affected parents,” the authors said.

The study was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry.

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Kids Exposed To Secondhand Smoke Have Higher Risk of Obesity and Poor Brain Functioning

If you want your kids to do better in school and keep their weights in check, you should quit smoking.

cigarette secondhand smokeThis was the theme of the study by researchers from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, after looking into the cases of 220 children between the ages of 7 and 11 diagnosed as overweight or obese. The study proponents asked parents about their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, and tested the kids for presence of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in their bloodstream. Data on levels of physical fitness of the children were also collated.

The results of the study were clear as day: Children exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to be overweight or obese, and develop poorer cognitive functioning. “All the bad things fat does to us, passive smoking makes worse,” according to study co-author Martha S. Tingen in a news item. “Children who were exposed to second-hand smoke scored poorer on all cognitive tests.” Tingen works at the Cancer Center at Augusta University as Tobacco Control Program director.

Exposure to cigarette smoke leads children away from their potential to live better lives. “We are talking about a recipe for an unhealthy child who becomes an unhealthy adult who cannot reach their full potential,” Tingen mentioned. She also stated the long-standing belief that secondhand smoke is as harmful as firsthand use of the tobacco product. “If you are breathing in second-hand smoke, it’s almost as bad as if you were smoking the cigarette yourself,” Tingen added.

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Indoor Tanning Linked To Higher Alcohol and Drug Use in Teens

Having a tan may not be as harmful as it sounds, but a new study discovered a potential link between indoor tanning and substance abuse.

indoor tanning effect on alcohol drug abuseThe study, the findings of which were recently published in the JAMA Dermatology, based its findings on a survey of more than 12,000 high school students in the state of Colorado. The survey questionnaire asked the students if they underwent an indoor tan at least once last year and if they used drugs and alcohol over the same period.

According to a news report, results showed that about 7 percent had indoor tanning during the past year, with female teens using tanning salons roughly twice more than males. Out of the group who underwent indoor tanning, roughly two-thirds admitted to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In comparison, only 35 percent of students who never had a tan within the past year used marijuana.

In other substances, steroid use in students was pegged at 21 percent of indoor tanners compared to only 2 percent in the other students. Daily cigarette use was admitted by 10 percent of the indoor tanning group, which is significantly higher than the 2 percent of the non-tanning group. In terms of gender, female students were drawn more to ecstasy and prescription drugs, while the men prefer heroin and steroids.

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Anti-Epilepsy Drug Reduces Teen Marijuana Use

An existing medication for seizures and migraine has been discovered by a team of researchers to have beneficial effects on curbing teen marijuana use.

teen marijuana use smokingThis was reported via a news release, which said that the drug topiramate — together with counseling — can significantly reduce the likelihood of a teenager to engage in marijuana smoking, better than purely psychological counseling. “The positive news is it did seem to have some effect and that effect seemed to really be focused on helping people reduce how much they smoke when they smoke,” said study lead author Robert Miranda Jr., who works at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island.

The researchers investigated the potential effect of the drug — marketed as the epilepsy drug Topamax — on teenagers who undergo motivational enhancement therapy (MET). This kind of counseling is widely accepted as a drug abuse treatment procedure, but the research team claims that its impact isn’t too significant.

The study involved the participation of 66 young individuals aged 15 to 24 years old who admitted to smoking cannabis not less than twice a week. These volunteers agreed to undergo psychological counseling to help them reduce the use of marijuana. Forty of them received topiramate in gradually increasing dosages in a five-week span.

Results showed that although the frequency of cannabis smoking wasn’t significantly reduced, the positive outcome was observed in the amount of marijuana used.

Despite the seemingly good news, participants reported that they experienced excruciating side effects because of the drug. Some of them experienced depression, anxiety, loss of weight, and dexterity issues. “It’s promising in the sense that it suggests that medications can help, but it asks questions about for whom it might be most effective because many people can’t tolerate the medication,” Miranda added.

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