Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
A new study of U.S. school children has found that black and Hispanic children are half as likely as their white peers to receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More from Reuters:
“We’re seeing that the disparities occur as early as kindergarten and then remain and continue until the end of eighth grade,” said Paul Morgan, who led the study at Pennsylvania State University in University Park.
“It’s a consistent pattern of what we’re interpreting as comparative underdiagnosis for minority populations,” he told Reuters Health.
That’s a concern, Morgan said, because it means some kids who could benefit from treatment – including medication or talk therapy – and extra help in the classroom may be missing out.
The researchers also found that compared to white children with the condition, minority kids who were diagnosed with ADHD were less likely to be prescribed medications, which include the stimulants Vyvanse, Ritalin and Concerta.
They tracked 15,100 kids from the kindergarten class of 1998-1999 using regular parent surveys.
Image: Latino child, via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 10th, 2013
Fussy infants are more likely to be put in front of a television in a parent’s attempt to calm and occupy them, a new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found. The finding is despite the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation that children not be shown television until age 2. More from Time.com:
In the study, published in the journal Pediatrics, the researchers analyzed data from 217 African-American mother and infant pairs from the Infant Care and Risk of Obesity Study. At 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18 months after birth, the infants’ mothers reported on their babies’ temperament—how fussy or complacent they were—as well as their own TV viewing habits, including how long the TV was on during the day and how often they fed their babies while watching TV. Overall, mothers spent a significant amount of time watching television, and reported that they spent quite a bit of time feeding their infants in front of the TV as well. Infants just 3 months old were exposed to an average of nearly three hours of TV or videos daily, and nearly 40% of the youngsters were exposed to three hours of TV every day by the time they were a year old.
More active and fussier infants were more likely to spend extended periods of time in front of the TV. The exposure was also higher among obese mothers, especially those with the fussier kids, leading the researchers to suggest that the television may serve as an easy entertainment strategy.
The scientists were also able to find some factors that contribute to fewer hours in front of the screen, however. Moms with a high school diploma or any additional education were less likely to have TVs in their infants’ room, and less likely to keep the television on during meals.
“In the last decade or so there has been a lot of attention paid to parenting style and care giving. One component has to do with feeding and focus placed on the feeding environment,” says Margaret E. Bentley, Associate Dean of Global Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health and the principal investigator of the study. “Half of the time, infants are being fed with the television on, which is a feeding strategy we do not recommend.”
Eating in front of the television can lead to unhealthy dining habits that linger into childhood and adulthood, Bentley and her colleagues say, since mothers feeding infants while watching TV might be distracted and not as alert to subtle cues babies send when they feel full, which can lead to overfeeding.
Image: Baby watching television, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012
When shown a picture of two children on a playground, African-American children are more optimistic than white kids in their interpretations of the scene, a new study has found. CNN.com reports:
The pictures, designed to be ambiguous, are at the heart of a groundbreaking new study on children and race commissioned by CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360°. White and black kids were asked: “What’s happening in this picture?”, “Are these two children friends?” and “Would their parents like it if they were friends?” The study found a chasm between the races as young as age 6.
Overall, black first-graders had far more positive interpretations of the images than white first-graders. The majority of black 6-year-olds were much more likely to say things like, “Chris is helping Alex up off the ground” versus “Chris pushed Alex off the swing.”
They were also far more likely to think the children pictured are friends and to believe their parents would like them to be friends. In fact, only 38% of black children had a negative interpretation of the pictures, whereas almost double — a full 70% of white kids — felt something negative was happening.
Researchers say that the findings reveal the different ways parents talk to their children about race. “African American parents … are very early on preparing their children for the world of diversity and also for the world of potential discrimination,” child psychologist and University of Maryland Melanie Killen told CNN. “They’re certainly talking about issues of race and what it means to be a different race and when it matters and when it doesn’t matter.”
Image: African-American and white girls, via Shutterstock.
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