Posts Tagged ‘ Child Health ’

Most Americans Believe Kids Should NOT Be Exposed to Medical Marijuana

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Medical MarijuanaMore than 20 states have legalized marijuana in the United States, but that does not make it any less of a complicated topic. A new poll reveals that Americans are not keen on medical marijuana being used by children, or even being used around them.

The Mott National Poll on Children’s Health represented a national sample of adults in the United States—10 percent of which either have a marijuana card or know someone who does.

Almost two-thirds of people believe that medical marijuana should be used by adults, but only half as many (a third) believe that children should use it.

Related: The AAP’s Current Stance on Marijuana for Kids

Most adults (80 percent) also believe that marijuana should not be used in the presence of children, and that belief was especially strong among adults with children under the age of 18. This is not entirely surprising because the number of children who have mistakenly ingested medical marijuana products has increased as the amount of prescriptions have increased.

This poll comes only a few months after the American Academy of Pediatrics updated it’s policy on medical marijuana and acknowledged that it could be beneficial for children with “debilitating or life-limiting diseases.”

“Our findings suggest that not only is the public concerned about the use of medical marijuana among children, but that the majority of Americans worry that even exposure to it may be harmful to kids’ health,” says Matthew M. Davis, M.D., M.A.P.P., professor and director of the National Poll on Children’s Health. “As is typical with anything involving health, the public’s standards are much higher when it comes to protecting children’s health.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns
Kids and Chronic Health Concerns

Image: Medical marijuana via Shutterstock

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Getting Toddlers to Sleep More Might Increase Better Behavior

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Sleeping babyGetting an adequate amount of sleep is an essential part of our well-being, especially for toddlers who are still growing and developing. Too much sleep can worsen their sleep patterns, and negatively impact weight and intellectual and emotional development.

Now a new long-term study further supports the importance for toddlers to get just the right amount of shut-eye. Researchers found that toddlers who slept less than 10 hours per night (or who woke up frequently) usually had more behavioral and emotional problems by the time they were 5 years old.

Related: Toddler Sleep Solutions to Common Problems

For the study, more than 30,000 mothers filled out questionnaires about their child’s sleep behaviors at three points in their lives: when they were 17 weeks pregnant, when their child was 18-months-old, and when the child turned 5-years-old. A total of 99 behaviors were ranked on a scale from “not true” to “very true.” Mothers also answered how long their children slept per day and how often the children woke up during the night.

Almost 60 percent of toddlers slept for 13 to 14 hours while two percent slept less than 10 hours a night. But the findings were consistent in revealing that toddlers who slept less than 13 hours and woke up more than three times every night struggled with impulse control, emotional instability, anxiety, and depression. Despite the difficult temperament, toddlers may not develop mental health issues later in life.

However, the latest research confirms the importance of getting your toddler into a routine of a healthy sleep schedule – if you’re having problems, don’t hesitate to talk to your child’s pediatrician.

Plus: Sign up for our daily newsletters to keep up with the latest news on child health and development.

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Baby Sleep: Get the Facts
Baby Sleep: Get the Facts
Baby Sleep: Get the Facts

Image: Sleeping baby via Shutterstock

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Childhood Trauma Could Lead to Type 1 Diabetes

Friday, April 10th, 2015

Diabetes consultationEvery year, more than 15,000 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but health professionals and scientists don’t have many answers about the causes and prevention methods for this autoimmune disease. Experts do believe that genetics and environmental triggers are factors in the development of type 1 diabetes, and that diet and exercise are not.

A recent study suggests that experiencing traumatic life events during childhood can increase the risk of developing type 1 diabetes later in life.

Researchers in Sweden examined more than 10,000 children between the ages of 2 and 14 who had not been diagnosed with T1D. Parents filled out questionnaires that measured their assessment of serious life events (death or illness in the family, conflicts, and divorce), parenting stress, parental worries, and parental social support.

Results indicated that kids who had experienced a serious life event during their first 14 years of life were nearly three times more likely to develop T1D than those who had not.

The authors of the study concluded that a possible link between stress and diabetes is an imbalance in the immune system. This imbalance could cause an autoimmune reaction against beta cells that produce the insulin necessary to regulate blood sugar. Other possible links between serious life experiences and the development of T1D do exist, and more research is needed to pinpoint when this type of psychological stress alters the autoimmune system.

“As experience of stressful life events cannot be avoided, children and their parents should get adequate support to cope with these events to avoid their consequences, which could include medical issues,” recommended the study’s authors.

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Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Online App Helps Kids With Diabetes Eat Safely
Online App Helps Kids With Diabetes Eat Safely
Online App Helps Kids With Diabetes Eat Safely

Image: Child learning about diabetes via Shutterstock

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Another Reason Why Buying Breast Milk Online Is Not Safe

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Milk in bottleThere is no disputing that the benefits of feeding an infant breast milk are huge, but not all mothers are able to produce enough milk to feed their newborns. This has caused many mothers (approximately 55,000!) to turn to the internet to purchase milk from other nursing moms.

However, new research conducted by Nationwide Children’s Hospital has proved that this is a potentially harmful decision.

Researchers found that what was being advertised as pure human milk wasn’t at all. “We found that one in every 10 samples of breast milk purchased over the Internet had significant amounts of cow’s milk added,” said Sarah A. Keim, Ph.D., lead author of the study and principal investigator in the Center for Biobehavioral Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s. This is especially dangerous for infants under 12 months who lack the ability to digest cow’s milk properly, and for breastfeeding kids who may have a milk allergy or dairy intolerance.

“We don’t know for sure why cow’s milk was in the milk that we purchased, but because this milk was sold by the ounce sellers may have had an incentive to add cow’s milk or formula to boost the volume,” Keim told Parents.com. It’s likely that some sellers are profit-driven as breast milk is typically sold for $1-$2 per ounce.

And this is not the first time mothers have been warned against purchasing breast milk over the internet. In 2013, Keim and her team found that 75 percent of breast milk samples that had been bought online contained high levels of bacteria that could make an infant ill.

The only way to avoid contaminated, and possibly dangerous, breast milk, is to not purchase it at all. Mothers who are having trouble breastfeeding or pumping should seek the advice of a medical professional. “They should work closely with their pediatrician to come up with a plan for feeding their baby that meets their unique needs, in terms of how well they are growing, and if there are any medical conditions or allergies,” said Dr. Keim. “For mothers who want to breastfeed, early and high quality lactation support can be very helpful for many women in addressing problems that come up.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know
Buying Breast Milk Online: What You Need to Know

Image: Bottle with milk via Shutterstock

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Kids’ Aggression Linked to Excessive Time Spent Playing Video Games

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

kids playing video gamesVideo games often get a bad rap—some believe they cause violent behavior, and others say they’re just plain addictive. Now, a new study further supports the notion that parents should monitor the amount of their child’s gaming screen-time.

Researchers from the University of Oxford concluded that a child’s behavior is influenced more by the time spent playing video games rather than the games’ actual content.

Children (boys and girls) between the ages of 12 and 13 reported how often they played games per day and the type of game they preferred. To assess each child’s behavior, teachers were also asked to report on the kids’ social attitude and academic performance.

The results, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, revealed no link between violent video games and aggressive behavior or poor academic performance. But kids who played video games for three or more hours were prone to misbehavior and hyperactivity. As for kids who played video games for under an hour a day, they were actually linked with positive characteristics.

“Children who played video games with a cooperative and competitive element had significantly fewer emotional problems or problems with peers,” reports PsychCentral. “Children who chose to play solitary games were found to do well academically and displayed fewer emotional problems or got involved in fights.”

It’s important to note that video game use will not make or break your child, but it’s essential that your child balances activities and schoolwork. According to lead author Andrew Przybylski, Ph.D., “a range of other factors in a child’s life will influence their behavior more, as this research suggests that playing electronic games may be a statistically significant but minor factor in how children progress academically or in their emotional well-being.”

Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn

Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies
Violent Video Games, TV, and Movies

Image: Kids playing video games via Shutterstock

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