Posts Tagged ‘ Child Health ’

Mom-to-Be Stress Linked to Higher Rates of Asthma

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Don’t freak out: Scentists are finding that a mom-to-be’s stress levels can have significant effects on a child’s future health, including delays in cognitive development, behavioral issues, and even an increased risk of autism. The latest link? Scientists have found that maternal stress could increase the risk that babies develop allergy-induced asthma.

The study, produced by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, focused on mice, and found that even a single stressful situation could flood the baby’s bloodstream with stress hormones like corticosterone, and lead to a greater chance that the baby develops allergy-based asthma after birth.

What’s the takeaway? Do what you can to relax, unwind, and reduce stress throughout your pregnancy, to help protect your baby’s health.

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Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Stress During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

 

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What U.S. Kids Think of Their Weight

Friday, August 1st, 2014

child standing on a scaleDoes your child have an accurate perception of his or her weight? Maybe not. A new study, published yesterday in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, found that 27 percent of U.S. kids and teens underestimate how much they weigh, while just 3 percent overestimate it. And parents fared about the same when it came to judging their kids’ pounds, with roughly 25 percent guessing on the low side of the scale and 1 percent guessing too high. More from HealthDay News:

“Efforts to prevent childhood obesity should incorporate education for both children and parents regarding the proper identification and interpretation of actual body weight,” said lead researcher Han-Yang Chen, from the department of quantitative health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass.

“Interventions for appropriate weight loss should target children directly because one of the major driving forces to lose weight comes from the child’s perception of their weight,” he said.

Data for the study came from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and included 2,613 kids between the ages of 8 and 15.

The study also found that healthy-weight kids who overestimated their weight were more likely to try shedding unnecessary pounds than the kids who accurately estimated their weight—which one expert fears could lead to potential eating disorders and body image issues.

“These opposing problems are really two sides of the same coin—the fixation on weight rather than health,” Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told HealthDay News. “In general, dieting is ill advised, both for overweight children and those misperceiving their weight as high when it isn’t.”

 

Calculate your child’s height and weight percentile with our baby growth charts.

Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids
Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids

Image of a child on a scale courtesy of Shutterstock

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Study: Babies Worldwide Are Strikingly Similar in Size—If Mom’s Healthy

Monday, July 7th, 2014

How do babies worldwide measure up? Pretty strikingly similar, if the baby’s moms are healthy, according to a new international study by INTERGROWTH-21st, led by Oxford University.

The study, published in The Lancet, Diabetes & Endocrinology, showed that while there’s a huge disparity in newborn size that’s often been attributed to race and ethnicity, the bigger factors in determining a healthy newborn size are a mother’s health, educational level and nutritional status. In 60,000 pregnancies reviewed, from urban areas in Brazil, China, India, Italy, Kenya, Oman, the UK and USA, only 4 percent of the growth and birth size difference could be attributed to the baby’s ethnicity. Instead, the mother’s health, nutrition and education directly impacted the baby’s growth during gestation, and after birth.

According to Science Daily: “Currently we are not all equal at birth. But we can be,” said the lead author Professor Jose Villar of the Nuffield Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Oxford. “We can create a similar start for all by making sure mothers are well educated and nourished, by treating infection and by providing adequate antenatal care.”

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Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow
Watch Your Baby Grow

Image: Newborn baby by  Ventura/ Shutterstock.com

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CDC: Nasal Flu Spray Is More Effective for Young Kids

Friday, June 27th, 2014

nasal sprayBelieve it or not, flu season isn’t as far away as it seems, and now there’s good news for kids who hate getting an annual flu shot (and that would be all of them, right?): According to experts from the Centers for Disease Control, the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine is better at preventing the illness in kids ages 2 to 8. More from Time:

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a group of experts that makes recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control for which vaccines children and adults should get, voted to recommend the spray over the shot late Wednesday. The panel said studies show children who had the spray are half as likely to get the flu as those who had the shot.

So far, there is only one nasal spray flu vaccine available — AstraZeneca’s FluMist, which was approved in 2003 for people ages 2 to 49.

The spray differs from the needle-based vaccine in another important way — it’s made from a live, weakened influenza virus, while the shot drums up an immune response using killed virus. Studies have shown the spray can lead to a stronger immune response in children who have not had the flu before, but the same may not hold true for adults.

Of course, it’s important to note that the nasal spray version of the vaccine isn’t recommended for all kids (or adults, for that matter), so ask your pediatrician which version of the vaccine is best for your child.

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Baby Circumcision Complications Rare

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Babies who are circumcised rarely have medical complications, though older kids who undergo the procedure are more likely to have issues, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.  More from Reuters:

Previous research found wide variations in the rates of complications following male circumcisions. Those studies were often small and based on patients from a single hospital.

For the new study, published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers used data from U.S. insurance claims for babies younger than one year old, children between ages one year and nine years and older children 10 years and older. The findings do not include children who underwent ritual circumcisions in a non-medical setting.

Overall, the researchers had data on more than 1.4 million circumcised males. The vast majority were newborns.

“This is what we found about the risks of circumcision,” said Charbel El Bcheraoui, the study’s lead author from the University of Washington in Seattle. “It’s low overall, but it increases with age at circumcision.”

About 0.4 percent of boys experienced circumcision complications when the procedure was performed within the first year of life. The risk increased about 20-fold among boys between one year and nine years of age. It was 10-fold higher among males 10 years old and older, compared with infants.

“What we assume is it’s probably because between one and 10 years of age is the age when caring after procedure is the most complicated,” Bcheraoui said.

Circumcision, or removing the foreskin from the penis, is a ritual obligation for infant Jewish boys and is also a common rite among Muslims, who account for the largest share of circumcised men worldwide.

The wider U.S. population adopted the practice due to potential health benefits, such as reducing the risk of urinary tract infections in infants and cutting the risk of sexually transmitted disease later in life, including HIV.

But the practice has been the focus of heated debate, including efforts to ban it in San Francisco and Germany. The rate of circumcisions performed on newborns in U.S. hospitals has dropped over the last three decades.

The American Academy of Pediatrics updated its recommendations in 2012 to say the benefits of male circumcision justify families having access to the procedure if they choose.

According to the JAMA Pediatrics study, about 0.5 percent of the procedures ended with some type of adverse event regardless of age, but the rates for specific complications varied.

Damage to the urethra occurred in about 0.8 per 1 million circumcisions. Leaving behind too much foreskin occurred in about 702 per 1 million circumcisions.

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