Your Child

Can Peanut Butter Lower Risk for Breast Cancer?

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There are lots of studies taking place where researchers analyze data looking for links between the foods we eat and lowering our risk for cancer. If you’re a girl and you love peanut butter, a recent study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis is a dream come true.

The study found that girls who eat peanut butter regularly from the ages of 9 to 15 lower their risk for developing breast cancer later in life.

The findings are based on the health histories of 9,039 U.S. girls enrolled in The Growing Up Today Study from 1996 through 2001. Later, from 2005 through 2010, when the study participants were 18 to 30 years old, they reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease that had been confirmed by breast biopsy.

The researchers found that participants who ate peanut butter or nuts two times each week were 39 % less likely to have developed benign breast disease than those who never ate them. The study’s findings also suggest that beans, lentils, soybeans and corn also may help prevent benign breast disease, but consumption of these foods was much lower in these girls and thus the evidence was weaker.

Other studies have shown an association between eating peanut butter, nut and vegetable fat to a lower risk for benign breast disease as well. The other studies have asked participants to recall what they ate during their high school years. This study is the first to use reports made during adolescence, with continued follow-up as cases of benign breast disease are diagnosed in young women.

"These findings suggest that peanut butter could help reduce the risk of breast cancer in women," said senior author Graham Colditz, associate director for cancer prevention and control at Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Colditz also recommended that young girls replace high-calorie junk foods and sugary beverages with peanut butter or nuts.

The research was published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment.

While peanut butter and nuts may contain healthier fats, they are also high in calories - so try not get carried away. You may still need to be a little more conservative in portion size than you want to be.  Otherwise, enjoy!

Sources: Michelle Castillo, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57604820/girls-who-eat-peanut-butter-may-face-lower-breast-cancer-risk-later-in-life/

http://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/25897.aspx

Your Child

Is Cereal the Best Breakfast Choice?

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Experts have long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. New research now suggests that it may help prevent obesity in children as well. Kids who eat breakfast every morning have more energy throughout the day, improved learning and behavior and maintain a healthy weight according to a report released by the journal Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Previous studies have linked eating breakfast with maintaining a lower body mass index (BMI) over time. The new study looked at the role that breakfast, specifically cereal, plays in both weight and nutrition among low-income kids.

One in every four American children lives in a food insecure household where breakfast isn't a sure thing, lead author Dr. Lana Frantzen told Reuters Health.

"(Cereal) is an excellent breakfast choice, it's simple, and gets those essential nutrients that children need, especially low income minority children," who tend to be hit hardest by childhood obesity and related health problems, said Frantzen, who is employed by Dairy MAX, a regional dairy council in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Frazen and her co-authors interviewed 625 schoolchildren over a two-year period in San Antonio, Texas. Once a year they asked the children to remember what they had had to eat over the previous three days and calculated their BMI, a measure of weight relative to height.

Researchers found that as the children got older, they tended to eat breakfast less often. As fourth graders, 64 percent of the kids said they'd eaten breakfast on each of the last three days, compared to 42 percent by the time they were sixth graders.

Kids who ate cereal four out of the nine days tended to be in the 95th percentile for BMI, which is considered overweight, compared to kids who ate cereal all nine days, whose measurements were in the 65th percentile, in the healthy weight range.

Thirty-two percent of fourth graders did not eat breakfast at all, 25 percent had something other than cereal and about 43 percent had cereal.

Children who ate cereal for breakfast had higher recordings of certain nutrients than children who ate something else for breakfast or nothing at all. Kids who ate more cereal got more vitamin D, B-3, B-12, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc and potassium in their diets than kids who ate less cereal or none at all. They also got slightly more calories, fat, fiber and sugar.

All breakfast cereals are not the same. Many pediatricians and family doctors recommend choosing a whole grain cereal that has a low fat and sugar content as well cooked cereals such as oatmeal.

Whether it’s cereal, eggs or oatmeal, the important take away is that breakfast provides your child more energy and nutrients while helping to lower his or her chance of obesity.  Just those three things can assist tremendously in helping your child have a healthier life.

Source: Reuters, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/kids-eat-breakfast-cereal-bmi-study-article-1.1312860

 

Your Child

Are You Making Your Child More Anxious?

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When a child shows that he or she is anxious or in distress, a natural response is for a parent to want to remove whatever is causing the discomfort. However, according to a new study, it may not be the best reaction for your child in the long run.

Researchers call it the “protection trap.” Basically it means smothering children with too much attention or making the menace go away.

The research showed that certain parental coddling behaviors might actually boost anxiety in a child, although the study doesn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship.

"We found evidence that when parents try to help their anxious children they do a lot of things," said study co-author Armando Pina, an associate professor of child developmental psychology at Arizona State University. "Some of them are good, like promoting courage with warmth and kindness. Others are less helpful, like promoting avoidance by overprotecting, which many times leads to more anxiety."

Other experts have also weighed in on this topic.

"Left untreated, anxiety disorders in youth are associated with greater risk for other psychological problems such as depression and substance use problems," said Donna Pincus, director of research at the Child and Adolescent Fear and Anxiety Treatment Program at Boston University. Anxiety problems can also disrupt families and cause kids to perform worse in school, she added.

So what should a parent do or not do?

"When children are in distress or upset they need parental comfort, reassurance and extra love. This is good," said study lead author Lindsay Holly, a graduate student at Arizona State University. "Sometimes, however, parents end up providing excessive reassurance and doing things for the child, like making excuses for why a child who is anxious in social situations won't go to a birthday party or talking for the child by ordering at restaurants."

Here’s how the study was conducted.

Researchers examined the results of a survey of 70 kids aged 6 to 16 who were treated for anxiety and/or depression at a clinic. The kids were equally divided among boys and girls and among whites and Hispanic/Latinos.

The investigators found that some kids were more likely to have anxiety and depression symptoms if their parents reinforced or punished their anxiety through various approaches. Among the two ethnic groups, "the only difference was that Latino parents seemed to attend more frequently to their children's anxiety," Holly said.

Pina noted that previous research has indicated that a certain kind of therapy can help kids become less anxious and more resilient by teaching the importance of facing fears. One of the goals of the therapy is to teach parents how to promote courage in the kids through a combination of warmth and kindness, Pina said.

Some experts believe that by exposing children to anxious situations in a controlled, supportive environment, they can learn how to handle their anxiety better.

Holly suggests that parents encourage their children "to do brave things that are small and manageable." A child who's afraid of speaking in public, for instance, might be urged to answer a question about whether they want fries with their meal at a restaurant.

While every child is going to be anxious at one time or another, a more difficult situation is when children suffer from an anxiety disorder. That is a more serious problem where someone experiences fear, nervousness, and shyness so much so that they start to avoid places and activities.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect one in eight children. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on important social experiences, and engage in substance abuse. Anxiety disorder often shows up alongside other disorders such as depression, eating disorders, and ADHD.

The good news is that with treatment and support, a child can learn how to successfully manage the symptoms and live a normal childhood.

The study conducted at Arizona State University, looked at typical child anxieties and how parent’s interactions either helped or prolonged the anxiousness.

The study was published recently in the journal Child Psychiatry and Human Development.

Sources: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/overprotective-parenting-could-worsen-kids-anxiety/

http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/childhood-anxiety-disorders

Your Child

Brita Recalls Children’s Water Bottles

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Brita is recalling approximately 242,500 children's water filter bottles due to a possible laceration hazard.

The company said Tuesday that the lid of the hard-sided bottles can break into pieces with sharp points.

Brita has received 35 reports of lids breaking or cracking. No injuries have been reported.

The recalled bottles include a violet bottle with Dora the Explorer, a pink bottle with Hello Kitty, a blue bottle with SpongeBob Square Pants and a green bottle with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Each bottle has a Brita logo and white lid.

The bottles are 6 inches tall and hold 15 ounces of liquid. They have fold-up straws and filters that sit inside the straw below the lid.

The removable plastic wrap on the bottle at time of purchase has model number BB07. The following UPC codes were used:

  • 60258-35883 on the Dora the Explorer
  • 60258-35914 on the Hello Kitty
  • 60258-35880 on the SpongeBob Square Pants
  • 60258-35882 on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The bottles were priced between about $13 and $19. They were sold online at Amazon, Target and Drugstore.com. They were sold at stores including Alaska Housewares, Associated Food Stores, Bartell Drug, C Wholesale Grocers, Quidsi, Royal Ahold, Shopko, Target, US Navy Exchange and Walmart.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the bottles and to contact Brita for a postage-paid shipping package to return the bottles for a full refund. Brita can be reached at (800) 926-2065 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday. Individuals may also visit www.brita.com and click "Safety Recall" for more information.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/brita-recalling-childrens-water-bottles-25032799

Brita water bottle recall

Your Child

It’s Time to Register Your Child for Summer Camp!

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I know, you just got through the holidays and things are beginning to settle down and feel normal again. Guess what? If you’re planning on sending your child to summer camp- you better get busy.

Summer camp registration seems to starts earlier every year.  While the population growth of youngsters has remained pretty steady, the number of children wanting to attend either day camps or overnight camps is increasing. Summer camps fill up quickly and to meet the demand, camps are opening registration much sooner than in years gone by.

Early registration can also save you money. Many camps give a discount for parents who are willing to prepay early.  February looks to be a common open registration month, but some camps are offering online registration now. The most popular camps fill up quickly, so get your checkbook or credit card ready.

Many parents depend on day camps to help cover childcare during the summer months. The range of camps that are available is truly astonishing. I wish I had the choices kids have today when I was little. There are sports camps, science camps, special needs camps, cheerleader camps, arts camps, religious camps, health camps, adventure camps, academic camps – you get the point. If your child has a particular interest, there’s probably a camp that’s just right for him or her.

Not only do camps offer young children a variety of activities during the summer months, they can also offer your teen employment. With over 11 million children heading off to camp this summer, camps need employees. According to the American Camp Association, there are more than 12,000 day and resident camps in the U.S.  Those camps need temporary staff to help run them. If your teen is over 16 years of age, he or she may qualify.

The great thing about your teen working at a summer camp is they can apply at camp that suits their interests. Like music? Apply at a music camp! Summer camp jobs offer wonderful insight into others and while the work may be hard, it’s often very rewarding. Oh, and I forgot, they make their own money too.

Even though the temperatures are still dipping to freezing at night, if you’re planning on letting your child attend summer camp, you might want to start the research and registration now!

 

Your Child

Bullying Tied to Suicide Thoughts and Attempts

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The emotional pain of being bullied can lead some kids to think about killing themselves and others to follow through with actually attempting suicide. Sadly, far too many young kids and adolescents have succeeded in ending their lives because of the hurtful actions, mean words and cyber aggression of others.

Some people may assume that bullying is just a part of growing up and relatively harmless, but a new analysis of previously published studies on bullying, found that school children who are bullied are more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves and to attempt suicide as children who are not bullied.

Researchers also found that cyber-bullying, such as harassment over the Internet, was more closely linked to suicidal thoughts than in-person bullying.

"We found that suicidal thoughts and attempted suicides are significantly related to bullying, a highly prevalent behavior among adolescents," Mitch van Geel told Reuters Health in an email.

Van Geel is the study's lead author from the Institute of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

He said it's estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of children and teens are involved in bullying as the perpetrator, victim or both.

Studies have discovered links between bullying and suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, but there are still a lot of questions left that need answering.

Cyber-bullying is a relatively new phenomenon, in research and analysis time, so fewer studies have been completed. 

For this latest analysis, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers found 34 studies that examined bullying and suicidal thoughts among 284,375 participants between nine and 21 years old.

They also found nine studies that examined the relationship between bullying and suicide attempts among 70,102 participants of the same age.

Overall, participants who were bullied were more than twice as likely to think about killing themselves. They were also about two and a half times more likely to attempt killing themselves.

In one study included in the analysis, researchers found that about 3 percent of students from New York State who were not bullied thought about or attempted suicide. That compared to 11 percent of students who were frequently bullied.

The extra risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts tied to bullying was similar among participants of different age groups and among boys and girls.

In the handful of studies on cyber-bullying, researchers found that those victims were more likely to have suicidal thoughts than kids who experienced traditional face-to-face bullying.

"At this point, this is speculative and more research is definitely needed on cyber-bullying," van Geel wrote.

It could be, however, that cyber-bullying victims feel belittled in front of a wider audience and may relive the attacks because they are stored on the Internet, he added.

Some experts have cautioned that the studies included in the analysis don’t prove a causal connection between being bullied and suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts among the participants. As one noted researcher explained, it could be, for example, that kids who attempt or think about suicide are more likely to be bullied.

Many schools have implemented no-bullying policies and programs to help children who are targets of bullying have a voice and a safe place to talk and receive counseling.

Those steps have helped bring attention to the problem of bullying in some schools. However, it may take a change in adolescent attitude and societal pressure to make bullying lose its power.

"There are now meta-analyses that demonstrate that bullying is related to depression, psychosomatic problems and even suicide attempts, and thus we should conclude that bullying is definitely not harmless," said van Geel.  

Source: Andrew M. Seaman,  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/10/us-bullying-among-kids-idUSBREA291JS20140310

Your Child

Shortage of Liquid Tamiflu for Kids

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With the flu season in full swing, it’s a bad time for a shortage of liquid Tamiflu for kids. The maker of Tamiflu, Genentech, says that manufacturing problems are putting them behind in production. Liquid Tamiflu is often given to children who have a difficult time swallowing capsules.

Fortunately, the shortage doesn't include the capsule form of Tamiflu, which remains in good supply, said Dr. Michael Jhung, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Influenza Division.

Flu vaccines also remain widely available and unaffected by shortages, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon said. The CDC recommends vaccination for everyone older than 6 months of age as the best way to try to ward off the flu.

Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug. It works by attacking the flu virus to keep it from multiplying in the body and by reducing the symptoms of the flu. A shortage of the drug can cause some children to be sick with the flu for a longer period of time. The good news is that some pharmacies are able to take the Tamiflu capsule and convert it into a liquid form for children who are very ill.

"For those patients who cannot swallow capsules, the capsules can be opened and the contents may be mixed with chocolate syrup or some other thick, sweet liquid, as directed by a health-care professional," according to the FDA announcement on the shortage.

Jhung added that this is a "spot" shortage that should only affect some parts of the country.

The anti-viral drug can only work to reduce flu symptoms; it’s not a cure. But, if you’ve had the flu, you know any relief from the symptoms is welcomed.

Dr. Robert Wergin, president-elect of the American Academy of Family Physicians, has noted that Tamiflu is the only option for treating flu in young children. The other flu antiviral drug, Relenza, is not recommended for children younger than 7 as a flu treatment, and not younger than 5 as a preventive therapy to protect against flu. On the other hand, Tamiflu is approved down to 2 weeks of age, he said.

The FDA says that the shortage is expected to be resolved within a week.

Texas, along with 24 other states is seeing widespread flu activity. Several deaths, including children and adolescents have been linked to the flu already. The dangerous H1N1 strain is responsible for the majority of the cases this year. The current trivalent flu vaccine covers the H1N1 strain as well as the A and B virus.

Flu symptoms can mimic a cold until the virus really takes hold of you. Serious flu symptoms that warrant a trip to the hospital or doctor are shortness of breath, if someone is exhibiting confusion, if a fever is not responding to medication and for infants- a dry diaper for longer than 6 hours.

The best way to avoid the flu or diminish its’ severity is for everyone in the family to get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Source: Dennis Thompson, http://consumer.healthday.com/infectious-disease-information-21/flu-news-314/tamiflu-shortage-683683.html

Your Child

Building Strong Bones in Boys and Girls

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Children that get plenty of physical activity when they are young, tend to develop strong healthy bones. The benefits can last well into young adulthood.

A new study found that as children age into adolescence their physical activity levels drop, but the advantages of early exercise remain.

“What parents do to make sure kids are active today matters down the road,” said Kathleen Janz, the study’s lead author from the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

“When you accumulate physical activity as a child, you end up with what looks like better bone as an adolescent,” she told Reuters Health.

Participants in the research were part of the Iowa Bone Development Study, an ongoing study of bone health during childhood and young adulthood. The children had been recruited for that study between 1998 and 2002 when they were about five years old.

At ages five, eight, 11, 13, 15 and 17 years old, the 530 participants wore a device called an accelerometer for four or five consecutive days, including one weekend day, to measure their physical activity whenever they were awake.

When the participants were 17 years old, researchers used bone scans to measure the density, strength and brittleness of their bones. They also used pictures from the scans to estimate the precise geometry of the teenagers’ bone shape, a crucial factor in bone strength.

Researchers found what has sadly become the norm for many kids these days:

-       During childhood, less than 6 percent of the girls were highly active and by their late teens, almost all had become inactive.

-       Boys were more active than girls, but also became much less active as teens.

On average, girls went from being active for 46 to 48 minutes a day in early childhood to being active for just 24 minutes a day as 17-year-olds.

Among boys, activity levels fell from 60 to 65 minutes a day at the beginning of the study to an average of 36 minutes a day by the end.

At age 17, both boys and girls who had been the most active throughout their lives had denser bones and better bone shape than other participants their age that had been less active.

Janz acknowledges that it can be difficult to get teens up and moving.

“In an ideal world, children are active and maintain their activity into retirement, but this activity declines dramatically during adolescence, which is ironically a time when bone is most responsive to activity,” she said.

“It is not all that difficult for kids to be active, whereas sometimes getting adolescents to be active can be more difficult. They have different ideas as to how to spend their leisure time,” Janz said.

What kinds of exercise work best for kids to build strong bones? Janz says that running and jumping are great for building strong bones, but any activity is better than none.

The National Osteoporosis Society UK, also offers these five tips for kid’s bone building activities:

-       Team sports such as football or netball are good for getting children involved in fitness at a young age.

-       Skipping works well because it adds some impact to bones. Aim for 50 jumps a day or skipping for five minutes each day.

-       Jogging builds bone in both the hip and spine in younger people.

-       Tennis or badminton are more high-impact and enjoyable sports that build bone density.

-       Dancing and exercising to music are fun ways to boost bone health as well.

Parents hold the key to helping their children develop good exercise habits. These habits can offer benefits throughout their lives. Study after study reveals that kids are more likely to want to participate in and learn about fitness when they see their parents setting a good example.

Sources: Allison Bond MD, http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/05/us-kids-exercise-bone-health-idUSKBN0EG1Q820140605

http://www.nos.org.uk/~/document.doc?id=500

Your Child

Are Artsy Kids Our Future Inventors?

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Does your child love to participate in the visual arts or tinker with metal or electronics? If so, you may be raising a future inventor or entrepreneur according to a new study.

Researchers at Michigan State University looked at the university’s Honors College graduates from 1990 to 1995 and paid particular attention to students who majored in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. They discovered that those who owned businesses or patents received up to eight times more exposure to the arts during childhood than the general public.

"The most interesting finding was the importance of sustained participation in those activities," Rex LaMore, director of MSU's Center for Community and Economic Development, said in a university news release. "If you started as a young child and continued in your adult years, you're more likely to be an inventor as measured by the number of patents generated, businesses formed or articles published. And that was something we were surprised to discover."

Musical training appeared to play a major role in the honor graduates’ lives. Researchers found that 93 percent of the alumni reported musical training at some point in their lives compared to 34 percent in the general population. Students also had a higher-than-average involvement in other arts such as acting, dance and creative writing.

A look into current patent owners revealed that 42 percent of the students were more likely to have been exposed to metal work and electronics during childhood and 30 percent to photography. Those exposed to architecture during childhood were 87.5 percent more likely to form a company.

What’s the connection between being involved in the visual arts as children and adults who are entrepreneurs and patent owners?  Researchers believe that participation as a child and young adult in arts and crafts stimulates creative thinking and multifaceted problem solving; two very important skills needed for success. They said they hope their findings will boost support for the continuation of arts programs in schools and noted that these platforms might even contribute to a healthier economy.

"Inventors are more likely to create high-growth, high-paying jobs in our state, and that's the kind of target we think we should be looking for," LaMore said. "So we better think about how we support artistic capacity, as well as science and math activity, so that we have these outcomes."

The study was recently published in the Economic Development Quarterly.

Resource: Robert Preidt, http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/child-development-news-124/direlease-batch-986-681446.html

 

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