Archive for the ‘
Trends ’ Category
Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
The Disney Channel has introduced a lesbian couple who are parents to a child named Taylor on the show “Good Luck Charlie,” featuring same-sex parents for the first time on the network. More from Jezebel.com:
“This particular storyline was developed under the consultancy of child development experts and community advisors,” a Disney Channel spokesperson [said in June, when the decision was first announced]. “Like all Disney Channel programming, it was developed to be relevant to kids and families around the world and to reflect themes of diversity and inclusiveness.”
The conservative parenting organization One Million Moms has posted a statement disagreeing with Disney’s decision, stating in part:
Disney should stick to entertaining instead of pushing an agenda. Disney decided to be politically correct versus providing family-friendly programming. Disney has a choice whether to produce a program with certain fictional characters; the storyline could be re-written or changed. Conservative families need to urge Disney to exclude confusing topics that children are far too young to comprehend.
Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus, who got her start in show business on the hit Disney Channel show “Hannah Montana,” posted a tweet congratulating Disney for its decision: “I commend Disney for making this step into the light of this generation,” she said.
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Monday, January 27th, 2014
British officials have announced that it will ban the sale of electronic cigarettes, called e-cigarettes, to minors under age 18, citing health risks as well as the need for further medical research. In the U.S., e-cigarettes are the subject of similar concern and pressure for the government to regulate the devices. The number of U.S. teens who say they have tried the devices doubled in 2013. More on Britain’s announcement from Reuters:
E-cigarettes, which are puffed like a regular cigarette but deliver nicotine by vaporizing liquid rather than burning tobacco, have grown in popularity and some analysts predict the market could outpace conventional cigarettes within a decade.
“We do not yet know the harm that e-cigarettes can cause to adults let alone to children, but we do know they are not risk- free,” England’s Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies said in a statement.
She added that e-cigarettes can produce toxic chemicals and that variations in the strength of the nicotine solutions between different products meant they could end up being “extremely damaging” to young people’s health.
The global market for e-cigarettes was estimated at more than $2 billion last year by market consultant Euromonitor.
Under-18s are already banned from buying conventional cigarettes in Britain. Sunday’s announcement included plans to make it illegal for adults to buy regular cigarettes for consumption by under 18s.
Image: Electronic cigarette, via Shutterstock
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Friday, January 24th, 2014
The overall U.S. birth rate has dropped by more than 10 percent since 2008, placing it at an historic low of 3.8 million children born in 2011, according to federal statistics released by the Agency for Health Research and Quality. More from CNN.com:
Lots of data shows the U.S. birth rate is headed downwards, and some link this with the economic recession. The birth rate among teenagers has reached new historic lows every year for the past five years
And overall U.S. births have fallen steadily since hitting all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007.
The AHRQ also breaks down how much it costs to give birth and who pays for it. Most births are covered by private health insurance, but a growing number are paid for by Medicaid, the joint state-federal health insurance plan for the low income.
“In 2008, Medicaid covered 40.5 percent of hospital stays for newborns, which increased to 44.7 percent in 2011,” the report reads.
“On average, newborns stayed in the hospital for 3.4 days and incurred average hospital costs of $3,200,” it adds. But premature babies stayed on average 14 days and their care cost $21,500.
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Image: Family, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014
Being around people who smoke is dangerous for children diagnosed with asthma, but many times parents are hesitant to reveal to doctors the extent of their kids’ exposure to cigarette smoke. A new saliva-based test conducted on children admitted to the hospital for asthma-related issues confirms researchers’ suspicions–nearly 80 percent of the children’s saliva showed traces of cigarette smoke, but only a third of the parents had reported known cigarette exposure. More from Reuters:
What’s more, finding evidence of nicotine, a chemical in tobacco, in children’s saliva was a better predictor of whether they would need to come back to the hospital, compared to the information parents gave to doctors.
“We think saliva is a good and potentially useful test for assessing an important trigger for asthma,” Dr. Robert Kahn, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health.
Previous research has found that being exposed to tobacco can lead to airway problems and poor asthma control among children, Kahn and his colleagues write in the journal Pediatrics.
By figuring out which children are being exposed to tobacco, doctors may be able to step in and identify and possibly eliminate the exposure, said Kahn, a pediatrician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio.
For example, if a parent is still smoking cigarettes and exposing the child to smoke, doctors can offer the parent smoking cessation tools while the child is hospitalized.
For the new study, the researchers assessed data from 619 children admitted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for asthma or other breathing problems between August 2010 and October 2011. The children were between one and 16 years old.
Image: Asthmatic child, via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 20th, 2014
American families are eating more meals at home, and those meals are healthier, a new study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has found. The findings include that Americans are consuming fewer calories overall, family meals are becoming more common, and more people are paying attention to the quality of the food they buy. More from Time.com:
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You can thank the recession, but when the economy started to sour in 2007, Americans stopped eating at restaurants and started to cook more meals at home. And most families have been listening to the onslaught of advice about how to eat healthier, since those meals were also respectably nutritious. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, adults born from 1946 to 1985 who were asked about their diets from 2005 to 2010 consumed fewer calories and less cholesterol and unhealthy fats.
“It’s good news for us,” said Kevin Concannon, USDA Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, in a press conference.
Concannon said that while meals at home still make up a minority of the average American’s diet, the trend is encouraging and hopefully represents the beginning of a shift in the way families eat.