Your Child

Diabetic Children May Focus Too Much On Counting Carbs

Keeping an eye on the amount of carbohydrates consumed can help young people with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar.

Keeping an eye on the amount of carbohydrates consumed can help young people with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar.But they should also be careful about putting too much emphasis on carb counting alone, researchers say. Nutrition counseling for children and teens with type 1 diabetes often recommends carb counting. By calculating the grams of carbohydrates in a meal or snack, diabetics can more closely control blood sugar levels and adjust their doses of insulin appropriately. The small study, published in Diabetes Care, found that parents and kids sometimes put too much emphasis on carb quantity at the expense of diet quality. In interviews with 35 8 to 21-year-olds and their parents, the researchers found that some preferred packaged processed foods to "whole" foods, like fruits, whole grains and legumes, because the carb content was readily available on the product labels. In addition, some parents limited their children's intake of healthy choices like fruit and whole grains because of their carbohydrate content. This was despite the fact that parents and kids alike usually believed that fruits and vegetables were generally healthy foods, while "junk food" and fast food should be limited.
Your Child

Kidney Stones on the Rise in Children

Kidney stones are on the rise in children and doctors are trying to determine why. Kidney stones used to be an adult problem, one that causes excruciating pain. But in recent years, kidney stones have been turning up in rising numbers at hospitals around the country. At Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the number of children treated for kidney stones since 2005 has gone from about 10 patients a year to five a week, said Dr. Pasquale Casale.

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In a 2007 study in the Journal of Urology, doctors are North Shore-Long Island Jewish Medical Center reported a nearly fivefold increase in children brought in with kidney stones between 1994 and 2005. Eating too much salt can result in excess calcium in the urine. Some doctors blame kids' love of cheeseburgers, fries and other salty foods for the increased number of kidney stones. In children, most stones are calcium-bases. Dr. Uri Alon, director of the bone and mineral disorders clinic at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City says that children's eating habits, plus drinking too little water puts them at risk. Plenty of water is generally recommended to help prevent kidney stones. For an average-size-10-year-old about four cups of water a day on top of whatever else they are drinking is considered a good amount to dissolve the minerals in urine.

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Sports Video Games May Help Kids Lose Weight

1.45 to read

Video games are often blamed for an increase in childhood obesity, but a new study suggests that certain types of games may actually assist kids in losing weight. Sports video games that require kids to actively participate may actually offer obese or overweight kids a new tool to help drop those extra pounds. 

The 16 - week study, sponsored by United Health Group, showed that overweight kids who expended energy by playing bowling, soccer or track and field video games, compared to those that simply followed a weight loss program, lost more than two and half times their Body Mass Index (BMI). That’s a pretty remarkable loss.

The study was based on a trial weight loss program that the United Health Group launched in 2011. The program is called Join for Me.

Join for Me borrows from the landmark Diabetes Prevention Program, conducted by the National Institutes of Health. It demonstrated that healthy eating and regular exercise along with counseling were more effective than medication at preventing diabetes. The success of that study led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch a similar 16-week program for adults in partnership with the YMCA and UnitedHealth. “Why not use the same winning formula?” says Deneen Vojta, a pediatrician in charge of clinical affairs at UnitedHealth, and a principal investigator on the JOIN for ME study.

Voita and other researchers decided to add sports video games to the weight loss program, hoping it would prod kids, ages 8 to 12, to increase their activity. Of the 75 kids in the program, 34 were given Microsoft’s Xbox 360 consoles and received two games, Kinnect Adventures and Kinnect Sorts.

Notably, children did not receive instructions on how long to use the games. Although Vojta doesn’t know whether the kids exercised the whole time in front of a screen, that group registered an additional 7.4 minutes a day in moderate to vigorous activity, which could translate into a yearly loss of four pounds of fat.

Although the results were impressive, two drawbacks remain; the games and console are expensive and kids often get bored with and tend to stop playing them after awhile.

Vojta is considering offering JOIN for ME online, which could lower costs, and make it more widely available. “No one believes that gaming 
is going to solve obesity,” she says.  “It’s a signal for the health care and gaming industries that although passive screen time contributed to obesity, it could contribute to a solution.”

These kinds of sports games are not a quick fix for kids who typically do not get much exercise, eat a diet high in calories and fat and are overweight or obese. However, entertaining video games that require active physical participation might be a good additional tool to help overweight children slim down. 

Source: Zina Moukheiber, http://www.forbes.com/sites/zinamoukheiber/2014/03/03/unitedhealth-study-shows-sports-video-games-help-children-lose-weight/

Your Child

Dancer’s Injuries on the Rise

2.00 to read

Dancing is a wonderful artistic expression and kids have taken to tapping, pirouetting, Irish stepping and even ballroom dancing across the country.  While it can be fun and great exercise, lots of these kids are being seriously injured.

Researchers at Nationwide Children’s Hospital looked at a national database of emergency-department visits. What they found was that the most common dance-related injuries were sprains, strains and injuries from falls. The patients were between 15 and 19 years old. 

The researchers said no one on the team is calling for parents to pull their children from dance classes, but that the results from their study suggests that instructors should look for ways to prevent injury in students who participate in the physically demanding activity.

About 113,100 children and teens were treated for dance injuries in U.S. emergency departments between 1991 and 2007, according to the research team’s estimates. During that time, the number of cases in a year increased by more than 37 percent, to about 8,500 in 2007. This is the first study to examine dance-related injuries on a national level. It was published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health.

With about 22,000 dance schools across the country, study author Kristen Roberts, said one reason for the increase in injuries may be that there are simply more children dancing.

Steps to prevent injury include stretching, staying hydrated, getting plenty of rest and using good form.

Eric Leighton, an athletic trainer with the Nationwide Children’s sports-medicine program, works with dancers regularly and said that repetition and fatigue often lead to injury.

“Whether it’s a pitcher throwing a lot of pitches in one inning or a dancer repeating a dance, as the muscles get tired, some of the coordination and the body’s ability to cope starts to suffer,” he said. The hospital recently started a program to focus on dance.

“They’re dancers, they’re artists, but they’re also athletes. It requires a lot of strength, stability, power and balance,” Leighton said. “Of course, they have to take all that and make it graceful and beautiful as well.”

As dancers grow, their taller, heavier bodies, combined with intense, difficult dance moves, make injuries more common, he said. Cross-training and flexibility work, such as yoga, can lower injury risk, Leighton said.

Dancing competitions can be fierce. These kids are truly athletes and like any athlete they have to work hard to achieve their goal and stay healthy during the process.

Dance instructors and parents can keep an eye on their dancers to make sure that they know their limits and do not get too fatigued – that’s when most injuries occur.  The three “Rs” are always good to keep in mind -rest, repair and re-hydrate.

Source: Misti Crane,  http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/02/11/injuries-on-rise-among-young-dancers.html

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Have a Safe Fourth of July!

2.00 to read

Fourth of July celebrations are less than 2 weeks away and that means fireworks are selling furiously. Many cities ban fireworks within city limits but people sometimes ignore the ban or find a location where setting off fireworks is legal.

A special study conducted by CPSC staff found that 65 percent of all fireworks injuries in 2011 were sustained during the 30 days surrounding the Independence Day holiday. More than half of these injuries were the result of unexpected ignition of the device or consumers not using fireworks as intended. Fireworks injuries most often resulted in burns to the hands and head, including the eyes, face, and ears. According to the special study, sparklers, firecrackers, and aerial devices were associated with the most incidents.

It’s not only consumer grade fireworks that people like to play around with, sometimes they obtain professional grade, and that’s where things can get really dangerous. Last year, CPSC received reports of four consumers who were killed by either professional-grade or homemade firework devices, while an estimated 9,600 consumers were injured.

"For thousands of consumers, last year's 4th of July celebration ended with a visit to the emergency room," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "CPSC wants you to understand the risks with legal and illegal fireworks, in order to prevent an injury, or worse, during this holiday."

While the majority of fireworks injury reports involve emergency room treatment and release, CPSC is aware of more severe and fatal injuries that are associated with consumer use of professional-grade and homemade fireworks. Reports of faster-than-expected explosions and unpredictable flight paths of aerial devices have resulted in tragic consequences for some consumers.

In the four reported fireworks-related deaths, the victims were killed when the illegal devices exploded, causing severe trauma to the head and face, and resulting in decapitation in one incident. In other incidents involving professional-grade or homemade devices, the victims reportedly sustained severe burns and the loss of fingers.

While there is federal oversight of imported fireworks, poorly made devises with hazardous ingredients still get through.

CPSC offers these tips for consumers who decide to purchase legal fireworks are urged to take these safety steps:

  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks. Parents may not realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees-hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Always have an adult closely supervise fireworks activities if older children are allowed to handle devices.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

The hot, dry weather is also a consideration when using fireworks. In 2010, fireworks caused an estimated 15,500 reported fires, including 1,100 total structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 14,100 outside and other fires. Make sure that there’s not dry brush, leaves, or tall grass in the area. Have a hose nearby or a bucket of water. If possible, soak the area with water before using the fireworks. Avoid pointing mobile fireworks at houses or trees.

Our littlest ones are at the highest risk for injury. Children ages 5-14 have twice the risk of injury and often end up in the emergency room. If a child is injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, don't allow your child to touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don't flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention — your child's eyesight may depend on it. If it's a burn, remove clothing from the burned area and run cool, not cold, water over the burn (do not use ice). Call your doctor immediately.

Fireworks can be fun and are meant to be enjoyed, but you’ll enjoy them more if your family is safe.

The best place to watch fireworks is at a sponsored event. They are usually bigger, accompanied by music and the whole family can have a blast!

Sources: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml12/12203.html, http://www.nfpa.org, http://kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/fireworks.html

Your Child

Report Child Abuse

1.30 to read

Once again, a story about a child being sexually abused by someone they know and trust makes the news. Several people knew about the abuse- no one called the police.

This time the alleged abuser is a well-known college coach, and founder of a charity for high-risk kids. The man charged with the abuse had access to vulnerable children needing a helping hand and guidance. He was a leader in the community, and on the football field. The grand jury report details 40 charges involving at least eight alleged victims and spanning 15 years, beginning in 1994.

How did this go on for so long?  The answer is as simple as it is infuriating, because no one stood up for the children.

People knew this was going on. Another coach witnessed the sexual abuse and walked away. He told another coach. That coach told the two high-ranking officials at the college. Lots of people were told, no one reported the abuse to the police.

That’s how child abuse is able to continue. Whether it’s a high profile case such as this one, or your neighbor, family member or friend – people know but no one reports it to the police, or social services.

If you know about child abuse, if you suspect child abuse, you should report it. You cannot rely on a child to report his or her own sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Many children are not capable of understanding what is happening to them, and they are fearful of the consequences of saying anything.

So it’s up to you to help them. Helpguide.org is an excellent resource if you suspect or know that child abuse is happening. Some of the myths behind reporting child abuse are listed.

▪       I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. The effects of child abuse are lifelong, affecting future relationships, self-esteem, and sadly putting even more children at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of child abuse.

▪       What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in child protective services is keeping children in the home. A child abuse report does not mean a child is automatically removed from the home - unless the child is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if safe for the child.

▪       They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most states, you do not have to give your name when you report child abuse. The child abuser cannot find out who made the report of child abuse.

▪       It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify child abuse that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

It doesn’t matter if a child is sexually, physically or emotionally abused, the results are the same; a child’s innocence, safety, health, peace of mind and future are damaged forever.

In the case making headlines today, the college, its leaders and the coaches will all pay a price. The abuser will most likely serve time if found guilty. As unpleasant as that may be for them, they are getting off easy. The real victims in this situation are the children. They will most likely spend the rest of their lives trying to understand and comes to terms with how they were sexually abused (raped), and how those who could have reached out and helped – looked the other way.

If you know about or even suspect child abuse is occurring, report it.  

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Heavy Metals in Children’s Toys

Two years after Congress passed a law setting comprehensive limits on lead in children's products, the government needs to address other heavy metals in such products, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) testified Thursday morning.The American Academy of Pediatrics is urging Congress to address the heavy metals in children’s products.

Two years after Congress passed a law setting comprehensive limits on lead in children's products, the government needs to address other heavy metals in such products, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) testified Thursday morning. As a result of lead limits established by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008, manufacturers have begun adding cadmium, a known carcinogenic, to children's products, said Dr. H. Garry Gardner before a Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.

"This is clearly a case of abiding by the letter but not the spirit of the law — Congress hardly intended for companies to substitute one poison for another," Gardner said. The AAP recommended that eight heavy metals in American Society for Testing and Materials's voluntary toy safety standards should undergo rigorous review by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Any standards issued as part of the review should apply to all children's products and not just toys, the AAP said. The AAP also asked the CPSC to consider requirements for secure closures on devices containing small, powerful magnets that can result in major damage to the esophagus and possibly death. Nearly 8,700 "button battery" incidents were reported between 1990 and 2008, of which 62 percent involved children under the age of six, Gardner testified. What are heavy metals? Heavy metals are individual metals and metal compounds that can affect people’s health. In very small amounts, many of these metals are necessary to support life. However, in larger amounts, they become toxic. Some toxic chemicals to be aware of are Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Lead, Mercury, Hexavalent Chromium. Although it’s not listed as a toxin on the sites that test toys, some scientists and pediatricians suggest avoiding bottles and dinnerware made with Bisphenol-A. Inexpensive jewelry made in China appears to take the lead in toys with toxic metals. Consumer Reports offers these tips for avoiding heavy metals: -Don't allow children to have or play with cheap metal jewelry. -Take an inventory of your children's toys and check them against the recall list at www.cpsc.gov, which has photos and descriptions of products recalled for lead or cadmium. Also check the list if you're buying used items. -Consider do-it-yourself test kits, which can be useful though limited screening tools. -Don't drink from garden hoses, which might contain lead that can leach into water. As a precaution, wash your hands immediately after handling power cords, extension cords, and even strings of holiday lights. For a list of toys that have been tested for toxic chemicals and found free from heavy metals check out http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/toys/product.least.php?rank=none

With Holiday shopping already underway, make sure the toys you give to the little ones in your family are safe.

Your Child

Even 9-Year-Olds Can Learn CPR

Children as young as nine years old can and should learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), Austrian researchers say. In a study of 147 students who received six hours of life-support training, 86 percent of the children performed CPR correctly at a follow-up session four months after the training, according to the report published online in the journal Critical Care.

"The usefulness of CPR training in schools has been questioned, since young students may not have the physical and cognitive skills needed to perform such complex tasks correctly," Dr. Fritz Sterz, of the Medical University of Vienna, said. "We found that, in fact, students as young as nine years are able to successfully and effectively learn basic life-support skills. As in adults, physical strength may limit depth of chest compressions and ventilation volumes, but skill retention is good," he added. In the training program, the children were taught CPR, how to use of automatic defibrillators, the correct recovery position and how to call for emergency services. Body mass index, not age, was the major factor in depth of CPR compressions and amount of air exhalation. That means that a well-built 9-year-old child can be just as capable at CPR as an older child, the researchers said. "Given the excellent performance by the students evaluated in this study, the data support the concept that CPR training can be taught and learned by schoolchildren and that CPR education can be implemented effectively in primary schools at all levels," Sterz and colleagues concluded.

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Exaggerated Praise May Backfire!

2.00 to read

In the last couple of decades, self-esteem has been a hot topic when it comes to kids. Entire school programs have been changed in order to boost student’s self-esteem. Trophies are given to children, not for actually excelling in a task, but for simply showing up, so that kid’s self-esteem won’t be damaged by having to endure a loss.  Children are constantly being told “good job” as well as receiving an enormous amount of praise for doing nothing more than being a typical kid.

There’s a lot of debate at the PTA and on the sports field over what “self-esteem” actually means. Self-esteem is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as (1) A confidence and satisfaction in oneself, (2) An exaggerated opinion of one’s own abilities. 

A new study says that parents of children with low self-esteem may want to pull back on the inflated praise because all the ego stroking may be doing more harm than good. Researchers found that children who have low self-esteem may actually achieve less when they receive too much praise.  The team said that children with high self-esteem who are constantly lauded thrive, but those with lower self-esteem tend to run away from new challenges.

“Inflated praise can backfire with those kids who seem to need it the most – kids with low self-esteem,” said Eddie Brummelman, lead author of the study that was published in the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers said that inflated praise was characterized as containing an additional descriptive adjective. An example might be a parent telling their child “You’re incredibly perfect at that task!” Phrases like “You are good at this” were considered simple praise, but parents who said, “You’re incredibly good at this” were placed in the inflated praise category.

The study included 114 parents, 88 percent of whom were mothers. The parents participated in the study with their child, and before the study began the researchers used a test to determine the child’s self-esteem.

Parents administered 12 math exercises to their child for the study, and afterwards they scored how well their child did on the tests. The sessions were videotaped, and the researchers used these recordings to count how many times the parents praised their child.

Researchers found that parents of children in the low self-esteem group gave their children twice as much inflated praise than parents of the high self-esteem children.

The most common embellished praise statements included “You answered very fast!” and “Super good!” and “Fantastic!” The most common non-inflated praise statements were “You’re good at this” and “Well done!”

The team noted that parents praised their child an average of about 6 times during the session, and about 25 percent of that praise was inflated. 

“Parents seemed to think that the children with low self-esteem needed to get extra praise to make them feel better,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State. “It’s understandable why adults would do that, but we found in another experiment that this inflated praise can backfire in these children.”

So far it sounds like parents were just eager to assure their child that they were more than capable of handling the tasks. It’s something that many parents do almost out of habit. So, does all that extra praise really help?

In another experiment, 240 children were asked to draw a famous Vincent van Gogh painting and then received praise in the form of a note from someone identified as a professional painter. After the child received the note they were told to draw copies of other pictures that they could choose from. The children were given the option to either choose from pictures that were easy to do, or they could choose to draw more difficult pictures.

The team found after the second experiment that children with low self-esteem were more likely to choose the easier pictures if they received inflated praise in the note. Children with higher self-esteem were more likely to choose the more difficult pictures if they received inflated praise. Brummelman said children with low self-esteem may have gone for the easier challenge because they worry about meeting those high standards and decided not to take on any new challenges.

The lesson may be that children with low self-esteem need praise (like all of us), but require more realistic and simple praise.  They may feel like the inflated praise puts too high an expectation on them, while the simpler praise feels more authentic.

“It goes against what many people may believe would be most helpful,” Bushman said. “But it really isn’t helpful to give inflated praise to children who already feel bad about themselves.”

Source: Lee Rannals,  http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113038014/inflated-praise-not-beneficial-for-all-kids-010214/#pdGaJuceet6Y0ywu.99

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