Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
A survey of parents has found that many teenagers are not receiving vaccine boosters that are readily available, proven safe, and important protectors against serious but preventable diseases. CNN.com reports:
“These vaccines are safe and effective and people should really have their teens get them,” says Dr. Paul Darden, lead author of the study and professor of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. “Parents say pediatricians are telling them about the vaccines, yet they just don’t seem to understand why they are necessary or are skeptical about their safety.”
When parents of teens were asked why their children didn’t receive certain forms of the tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) and meningitis vaccine, some parents noted these shots were not recommended or not necessary, according to the study. Others did not have a reason.
Regarding the controversial and fairly new vaccine that protects against the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus – which has been linked to cancer – some parents also said it was not necessary. In other cases parents noted their children were not sexually active or were not the appropriate age to receive the vaccine.
Concerns of mothers and fathers about the safety of the HPV vaccine grew each year, from 4.5% in 2008 to 16.4% in 2010, according to the study. The number of parents who said they would not vaccinate their children for HPV increased from 39.8% in 2008 to 43.9% in 2010. The main concern was safety.
Investigators were surprised, because the vaccine has been found to be very effective in preventing the virus that causes cervical cancer in young women.
“We thought perhaps many parents would think the HPV vaccine would give kids permission to have sex, and therefore not allow their children to get it. But that wasn’t it,” explained Darden. “They seemed to be skeptical of its safety, which is odd, because it’s shown to be effective with few side effects. We have a vaccine that protects against cancer. Why not vaccinate your child? I don’t get it.”
Image: Teen girl getting a shot, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Following the trend of recent years and decades, the number of babies born to teenaged mothers fell radically, dropping 8 percent between 2010 and 2011 alone, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics published in the journal Pediatrics. The rate has dropped 25 percent since 2007, and 49 percent since 1991. More from NBC News:
“There is lots of good news in the report,” said Brady Hamilton, a statistician at the NCHS who led the study.
It’s good news because such births are almost always unplanned and the parents are rarely ready to cope with the responsibility of raising a baby. Teenaged moms are also more likely to have babies of a smaller-than-healthy weight or to have stillborn babies.
The study looks at numbers alone and doesn’t address changes in teen behavior. But other research suggests that teens are more easily able to get birth control, says Laura Lindberg, a senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute.
“If anyone tells you they know exactly why this has happened, they are lying,” Lindberg said in a telephone interview. “We don’t have all the research and behavioral data in place up to 2011.”
That said, there are more than a few hints, according to Lindberg.
“We have gone from a social norm where you don’t use contraception at first sex to where you do,” she said. “Lots of study shows that using contraception at first sex begins a pattern of using it down the road.”
Other statistics show that teenage sex is only down slightly, although girls and boys both are having sex later in their teens. “In contrast, there is an increase in contraceptive use, particularly hormonal methods,” Lindberg said.
Image: Teenagers with pregnancy test, via Shutterstock
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Friday, February 8th, 2013
A 9-year-old girl has reportedly given birth to a baby girl in a western Mexico hospital, The Associated Press is reporting. Police are searching for the 17-year-old boy the girl has identified as the baby’s father. From the AP:
Jalisco state police spokesman Lino Gonzalez says the baby girl was born last week at a hospital in the city of Guadalajara. He says the girl and her baby are doing well.
Gonzalez said Wednesday that the girl’s family alerted authorities after she gave birth and the alleged father has not been seen since in the neighborhood the both live in. He says that if the teenager’s paternity is proven he could face child sex abuse charges.
This news is not the first instance of a 9-year-old girl having a baby of her own; Parents News Now has previously reported on a boy allegedly born to a 9-year-old girl in China.
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Monday, December 24th, 2012
“Bears are my number one fear.” “I’m a Muslim, not a terrorist.” “Break down my walls. Discover me.” These are just some of the six-word “memoirs” published in an inspiring–and surprising–new book “Things Don’t Have to Be Complicated: Illustrated Six-Word Memoirs by Students Making Sense of the World.
Click here to view a slideshow of some of the more remarkable entries from the book on The Washington Post’s website.
Image ccourtesy smithmag.net
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Friday, December 14th, 2012
Teenaged girls who smoke cigarettes have been found to develop bone mineral density more slowly than non-smoking girls, putting them at higher risk for disease like osteoporosis and other musculo-skeletal issues. The study is limited because the sample had a lower calcium intake than the national average. Regardless, The New York Times reports that the findings should give pediatricians another issue to raise with teen patients who smoke:
“The scientists studied 262 healthy girls ages 11 to 19, using questionnaires and interviews to assess their smoking habits. The researchers also measured the girls’ bone density at the hip and lumbar spine three times at one-year intervals.
Smokers entered adolescence with the same lumbar and hip bone density as nonsmokers, but by age 19, they were about a year behind on average. After adjusting for other factors that affect bone health — height, weight, hormonal contraceptive use and more — the researchers found that even relatively low or irregular rates of smoking were independently associated with lower bone density.”
Image: Teen girl smoking, via Shutterstock
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