Archive for category Raising Healthy Kids
As the world continues to debate on the benefits and dangers of e-cigarette use, a recent study sheds light into the importance of parental intervention in the issue.
According to researchers from St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine, many children are exposed to the potential risks of electronic cigarettes because parents are unaware of the possible health problems. “These are largely avoidable risks, but because e-cigarettes are relatively new, many people – including pediatricians – aren’t aware of the dangers or the steps that should be taken to protect children from them,” according to study first author Jane Garbutt in a news release.
In their research published in the journal Academic Pediatrics, close to 660 parents and legal guardians were asked to answer a survey to determine their e-cigarette use and know-how. Results showed that majority of them are aware of electronic cigarettes, with about 20 percent having experienced using it, and 1 out of 8 declared that it’s being used by a family member on a regular basis.
Results revealed further that 36 percent of respondents who use e-cigarette do not deliberately keep the products away from children. This lack of security may be in the form of failure in keeping e-liquid refill bottles or childproofing them. In fact, 34 percent of respondents said that they store e-liquid containers in a cupboard, while 22 percent keep their liquids in a bag.
In addition, only 15 percent of the population were able to tell their children’s pediatrician about e-cigarette use in the household. The researchers believe that parents should inform their kids’ doctors from the get-go. “We strongly encourage pediatricians to ask parents about nicotine use, including e-cigarettes, and to discuss the risks of exposure,” Garbutt added.
An hour of physical activity every day can make a big difference in the health of teenagers, but a recent study discovered that short bursts of high-intensity activity may lead to a better outcome than moderate exercise.
This was discovered by a group of scientists from the University of Exeter in the UK, when they looked into the health stats of 19 teenagers who were made to drink milkshake with high fat in the morning and during lunch. The adolescents engaged in varying exercise routines ranging from rest phase to moderate exercise to high-intensity workouts.
Results showed that high-intensity exercise routines led to better blood sugar level, lipid metabolism, and blood pressure. “The intensity of accumulated exercise may therefore have important implications for health outcomes in youth,” the researchers said in a news item. The study proves essential in understanding the impact of high-intensity activity in kids and teens. “Children and adolescents tend to perform brief bouts of exercise. This study shows that the intensity of this pattern of exercise is important, with high-intensity providing superior health benefits than moderate-intensity exercise,” according to study senior author Dr. Alan Barker.
The complete results and details of the research are reported in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental.
Vending machines and other competitive food and beverage products have been regulated by several school districts in the U.S. as part of the nationwide drive against childhood obesity. Now, a recent study confirms that the policies seem to be working.
A research team led by Emma V. Sanchez-Vaznaugh of San Francisco State University assessed the impact of competitive food and beverage policies in schools across the state of California on the rate of obesity in students. More than 2.7 million students enrolled in close to 5,400 public elementary schools between 2001 and 2010 were evaluated as part of the research, according to a news item.
Results showed that student obesity rates before the implementation of the food policies were at a steady increase, from 43.5 percent in 2001 to 46.6 percent by 2005. However, after implementing competitive food policies in the schools starting in 2006, the numbers plateaued.
One peculiar finding was the significant difference in obesity rates for varying socio-economic situations. Low-income communities registered 52.8 percent obesity rate, which was higher that the 36.2 percent figure in high-income areas. “These findings suggest that [competitive food and beverage] policies may be crucial interventions to prevent child obesity, but the degree of their effectiveness is also likely to depend on influences of socioeconomic resources and other contextual factors within school neighborhoods,” said the authors.
Early and successful intervention to treat anxiety in children and adolescents may decrease the likelihood of considering suicide during adulthood, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Study lead author Courtney Benjamin Wolk, who works as the school’s Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, expressed the importance of treating anxiety at a young age. “”This study underscores the importance of the identification and evidence-based treatment of youth anxiety,” Wolk said in a news release.
The study involved following up the condition of 66 patients who were identified during their childhood to be diagnosed with anxiety (generalized, separation, or social). Forty of the patients were able to successfully complete cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). After 7 to 19 years from the completion of the therapy, the remaining 26 patients who did not respond to CBT intervention were revealed to have thought about committing suicide within a year before the follow-up.”This study suggests the importance of ongoing monitoring of anxious youth who are not successfully treated for later suicidal ideation,” said study co-author Rinad Beidas, assistant professor of the research center.
The study was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Errors are inevitable, but what will you do if the error involves giving your child the wrong medicine?
A study from the Nationwide Children’s Hospital revealed that while parents and caregivers have the best of intentions, about 63,000 children below six years old have received the wrong medication from 2002 to 2012.
Dr. Huiyun Xiang, who works at the hospital’s Center for Pediatric Trauma Research, said that the figures in their study are still conservative. “The numbers we report still underestimate the true magnitude of these incidents since these are just cases reported to national poison centers,” said Xiang in a news release.
According to the study released via the online journal Pediatrics, the medication error happen in areas where children usually stay: the school, a friend’s house, or the child’s own home. Many of the reported cases involved unintentional ingestion of painkillers, acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Meanwhile, the error usually happens because the child receives the drug multiple times as a result of the caregiver’s error or memory failure. Other reasons include following an incorrect dosage or giving the child a wrong medicine for the ailment.
In addition, Xiang said that younger kids prove to be the most vulnerable in these cases. “We found that younger children are more apt to experience error than older children, with children under age one accounting for 25 percent of incidents,” Xiang added.
Teenage pregnancy is a very difficult issue for the young moms, and it’s easy for them to succumb to depression and drug use. The good news is that with early and persistent intervention, the pregnant teen’s likelihood to be depressed and drug-dependent becomes lower.
A study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed that pregnant teenagers who are exposed to in-home educational sessions are less likely to fall into behavioral issues, use illegal drugs, or become depressed. According to a news release, the study involved more than 300 American Indian pregnant teenagers who were assigned to either of two treatments: the standard care that includes medical checkups and childcare, or the same care but with an additional program of in-house sessions under the Family Spirit intervention. The study ran until the children reached age 3.
The teenage moms who underwent the Family Spirit program were found to have better dispositions than those who received standard care. In addition, their children were also observed to have better future behavioral patterns.
Dr. Allison Barlow, who is the lead author of the study and works at the school’s Center for American Indian Health, shared that the default mode of treatment for teenage pregnancy cases is inclined towards medical techniques, but the study proved that proper intervention works just as well, if not better. “Now the burden is in multi-generational behavioral health problems, the substance abuse, depression and domestic violence that are transferred from parents to children. This intervention can help us break that cycle of despair,” Barlow said.