Posts Tagged ‘ stress management ’

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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Family Stress Might Be Making Girls More Obese Than Boys

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

Couple arguing in front of kids, boy and girlIn hopes of preventing childhood obesity, researchers are collecting data to pinpoint every potential reason why children are becoming overweight.

The latest study from the University of Houston focuses on family stressors and if they’re linked with children become obese by the time they’re 18 years old.

The study, published in this month’s issue of Preventive Medicine, concentrated on three main family stress points: family disruption, financial stress, and poor maternal health. The data of nearly 5,000 adolescents born between 1975 and 1990 was collected from the National Longitudinal Study of Youth.

Based on the data, there was a noticeable gender difference when it came to how kids responded to stress. For girls, they were most likely to become overweight or obese by 18 if they experienced family disruption and financial stress throughout childhood, reports Daphne Hernandez, lead author and assistant professor at the University of Houston. For boys, the only family stressor that related to their weight problems was poor maternal health.

Related: Could Your Preschooler Be at Risk for Obesity?

Focusing on more than calorie intake and physical activity may be the key to combatting the impact of family stress. Dr. Hernandez believes that many school programs that fight obesity, like the federally-funded Head Start program, are only producing short-term results. “Developing strategies to help with family stressors during childhood may help children maintain healthy weight into adulthood,” she said.

And, even worse, calling girls “fat” might make them more obese. Other research has also shown that a shocking number of parents don’t even realize their child is overweight. So as a parent, the first and possibly most important step is to be conscious and proactive about your child’s weight–and avoid using the word “fat.”

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

The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years
The Lasting Impact of the Early Childhood Years

Image: Couple arguing in front of kids via Shutterstock

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Infants Pick Up on Moms’ Stress, Study Finds

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Infants, who are far from having the ability to express their emotions, nonetheless are able to sense–and feel–when their mothers are experiencing stress, according to a new study conducted by researchers in New York and California.  More from The Huffington Post:

“Your infant may not be able to tell you that you seem stressed or ask you what is wrong, but our work shows that, as soon as she is in your arms, she is picking up on the bodily responses accompanying your emotional state and immediately begins to feel in her own body your own negative emotion,” study researcher Sara Waters, of New York University, said in a statement. Waters worked with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, on the Psychological Science study.

For the study, researchers examined emotion and heart rate in babies whose mothers were put through a stressful task. The study included 69 mothers and their 12- to 14-month-old babies, all of whom had cardiovascular sensors attached to them to record heart rate.

The researchers separated the mothers and babies so that the mothers could give a five-minute speech and go through a five-minute Q & A session. Evaluators were assigned to review each mother’s speech and Q & A session, giving either positive, negative or no feedback. The mothers who received the negative feedback had more negative emotions and fewer positive emotions, as well as increased cardiac stress, after undergoing this experience.

Then, the researchers reunited the mothers with their babies. Within minutes of going back to their mothers, the babies seemed to “track” their mother’s stress response, in the effort of an increased heart rate. And the greater the other’s stress response, the greater the baby’s response seemed to be.

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Image: Stressed out mom, via Shutterstock

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