Archive for August, 2014

Doctors Miss Out On Teen Smoking Intervention

Doctors are supposed to be the vanguards of health, but a recent study reveals that only a few of them intervene when it comes to teen smoking.

teen smokingAccording to study author Gillian L. Schauer in her interview with Reuters Health, only 31 percent of adolescents in high school and middle school were advised by a healthcare professional to stop smoking. “Our results suggest that more than 6.6 million youth and adolescents who currently use tobacco or are at high risk for future smoking did not receive advice from their health care provider to quit or avoid tobacco,” Schauer said.

The study involved a survey of more than 18,000 teenagers all around the U.S. to ask them about tobacco usage and any discussions with health professionals about smoking. The results showed that while more than 70 percent of the kids have not tried smoking, 11 percent admitted to have smoked tobacco. Unfortunately, while majority of them were able to visit the doctor within the year, less than a third were given advice against smoking.

What’s more unfortunate is that only 32 percent of the kids surveyed said that a doctor or nurse asked them about smoking. “Young people often underestimate the addictive potential of nicotine, and 9 out of 10 adults who smoke started before age 18, making anti-smoking and anti-tobacco messages delivered by a health care provider an important intervention for youth,” Schauer stressed. “Given that tobacco is still the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., it is surprising that more clinicians are not intervening with adolescent patients to help them avoid or quit tobacco.”

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Peer Influence Pushes Youth to Prescription Drug Abuse

Preventive measures and intervention programs to combat prescription drug abuse in teens may not be approaching the subject at the right perspective, according to a new study.

peer prescription drug abuseA joint research by proponents from New York’s Hunter College and Indiana’s Purdue University revealed that prescription drug abuse may be caused not by peer pressure but by peer association and influence.

Sociology and anthropology professor Brian Kelly, one of the study authors, said that peer pressure does not seem to be an aggravating factor for drug abuse in teens. “Rather, we found more subtle components of the peer context as influential. These include peer drug associations, peers as points of drug access, and the motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have pleasant times with friends,” Kelly said in a news release.

The study, which was presented at the recent Annual Meeting of the American Sociological, involved interview and survey of more than 600 people within 18 to 29 years of age who engaged in prescription drug misuse for the past 90 days.

Focus was directed towards three possible scenarios of drug abuse: frequency, alternative ways of administering the drug, and dependency symptoms. Kelly shared that peer influence leads people to all three situations. “The motivation to misuse prescription drugs to have a good time with friends is also associated with all three outcomes. The number of sources of drugs in their peer group also matters, which is notable since sharing prescription drugs is common among these young adults,” Kelly added.

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Study: Teen Alcohol Abuse Mostly Triggered By Aggression

If you think anxiety and depressive tendencies lead teenagers to alcohol use, a new study confirms another factor that triggers alcoholism in teens.

teen alcohol abuseAccording to a study from the University of Finland, aggressive behavior leads teenagers to a greater likelihood of alcohol abuse. The age-old belief that anxious thoughts and depression lead people to drink more seems to not apply in the case of the younger generation. The tendency to drink more as a result of aggression was exhibited more in female teenagers than their male counterparts, according to a news report.

On the part of gender, female teens were also cited to be affected by divorce of parents, which could lead them to become heavy drinkers. Also an aggravating factor is an early menstrual bleeding.

The scope of the study included more than 4,000 teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18. Results of the study showed that 60 percent of the respondents admitted to taking alcohol, with more than half of them at 15 years of age.

In relation to U.S. settings, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) cited some of the factors leading to teen alcohol abuse: parental divorce, risk-taking behavior for the sake of peer acceptance, and parents who are likewise alcoholic. An effective alcohol intervention must be done on teens as soon as parents observe the behavior.

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August Pegged As “Kids Eat Right” Month

If you are having a hard time letting your children get the right nutrition, this month is the best way to start doing so.

children eating together with familyAugust has been assigned as “Kids Eat Right” month, a campaign to highlight the importance of nutrition education as a way to teach children how to live active and healthy lives. This program is being spearheaded by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

The initiative targets the following objectives, as posted in the Kids Eat Right website:

  • Educate children, families, communities and policy makers on the importance of high-quality, nutritional foods in childhood obesity prevention efforts.
  • Advocate on behalf of a quality nutrition approach to promote growth and development.
  • Demonstrate the food and nutrition expertise of registered dietitians through educational programming and advocacy.

The campaign revolves around the concept of healthy eating habits for children by shopping the right kinds of food, cooking for optimum nutrition, and eating together with family. The latter has become a widespread campaign not only for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics but also for other family-centered organizations. In fact, one of the most famous initiatives named The Family Dinner Project emphasizes the advantages of eating together as a family unit.

For more information about Kids Eat Right month, check out the campaign’s press release.

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