Friday, July 12th, 2013
The personality traits your toddler displays, from the way they interact socially to the way they manage their emotions, may predict how likely they are to drink alcohol when they become teenagers, according to a new study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. More from The Huffington Post:
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“People don’t enter adolescence as blank slates; they have a history of life experiences that they bring with them, dating back to early childhood,” Danielle Dick, a psychologist from at Virginia Commonwealth University and a co-author of the study, said in a statement. “This is one of the most comprehensive attempts to understand very early childhood predictors of adolescent alcohol use in a large epidemiological cohort.”
For the study, Dick and her colleagues analyzed the results of a long-term study that tracked thousands of newborns in South West England from birth through 15 1/2 years. The dataset included personality information obtained from mothers in the first five years of the child’s life, and from both parents and the subjects themselves thereafter.
The childhood traits that most correlated with alcohol use during teenage years fell on two sides of the temperament spectrum: emotional instability and relatively low sociability on one side, and high sociability on the other — a degree of extroversion that often leads to “sensation seeking” later in life. Tots who were either emotionally challenged or highly extroverted were more likely than other kids to grow into alcohol-drinking teens. (Past research has suggested personality is set by first grade.)
“This underscores the fact that drinking during adolescence is largely a social phenomenon,” Dick said in a statement. “However, this doesn’t mean it’s less problematic; we know from other studies that most adolescent drinking is high risk — for example, binge drinking — and can lead to numerous negative consequences.”
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
One in 13 pregnant women reports that they have had alcoholic drinks during their pregnancies, some even admitting to drinking binges, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. From The Huffington Post:
The CDC numbers are from national telephone surveys that included 14,000 pregnant women. They were asked whether they drank alcohol the previous month and how much.
Of those who said they drank, nearly 1 in 5 said they went on at least one binge – downing four or more drinks. Pregnant women ages 35 to 44 were the biggest drinkers.
The good news: Binge drinking among pregnant women is down slightly since a similar study was done in the early 2000s.
Image: Pregnant woman with beer, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, July 7th, 2011
An annual report compiled by statistics collected by a set of federal agencies has revealed new information about children and teenagers in the US, tracking issues from teen pregnancy to drug use to poverty.
The report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2011, is the 15th in an ongoing annual series of such reports. This year, the major findings included a series of positive indicators including, for the second year in a row, a drop in the pregnancy rate among adolescents, to 20.1 babies per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17.
Another encouraging finding was a decline in injury deaths among teenagers, including driving deaths, from 44 per 100,000 teens in 2008 to 39 per 100,000 in 2009. Binge drinking among 12th graders also dropped from 25 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2010.
Other findings point in a less positive direction. The proportion of eighth-graders who had used drugs in the past 30 days rose from 8 percent in 2009 to 10 percent last year. And children were also more likely to live below the poverty line–21 percent in 2009 compared to 19 percent in 2008. Children are also more likely to live with unemployed parents, and to live in crowded or physically inadequate housing.
“This report documents some significant changes in several key areas,” Edward Sondik, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics told CNN.com. “This annual report is an important tool to monitor the well being of our nation’s children,” said Sondik. “Each area we report on is critical to our youth”
Other researchers say the report has political ramifications.
Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz, chairman of pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told HealthDay that, “while not earth-shattering,” the report is important because it can guide policies that affect children.
Lipshultz is particularity concerned that programs that benefit children’s health and well-being are being cut during the ongoing anemic economic recovery.
“There is so much political rhetoric that gets bantered about that without a scorecard it’s hard to sort out what the real facts are,” Lipshultz said. “And kids don’t vote, and so they are not necessarily a constituency that is a high priority among policy makers.
“If we are going to take limited resources and we are going to work to have the next generation healthier than the current one, the same old solutions may need to be modified,” he added.
(image via: http://rogerfields.com/)
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