Your Child

More Dairy, Calcium in Childhood Could Mean Longer Life

A 65-year-long study finds that people who took in lots of calcium and dairy products as children tended to avoid stroke and live longer than those who didn't. For the study, which was published in the July 28, 2009, online edition of Heart, a research team led by Jolieke van der Pols from the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia, collected data on children from 1,343 families in England and Scotland. All of the families took part in a survey of diet and health conducted in Britain from 1937 to 1939.

The researchers were able to track the adult health of 4,374 of the children between 1948 and 2005. By 2005, 1,468 of these individuals had died, including 378 who succumbed to heart disease and 121 who died from stroke. The researchers looked at two main outcomes: deaths from stroke and cardiovascular disease. They looked at the associations between dairy intake and mortality and the associations between individual dairy foods and mortality. They found no clear evidence that dairy products were tied to either coronary heart disease or stroke deaths. However, children in the group with the highest intake of calcium and dairy products had lower overall death rates than those who ate less dairy. "Children whose family diet in the 1930s was high in calcium were at reduced risk of death from stroke. Furthermore, childhood diets rich in dairy or calcium were associated with lower all-cause mortality in adulthood," the researchers concluded. "This study shows a modest protective effect of dietary calcium intake in childhood against stroke risk later in life, and a modest protective effect against mortality from any cause from higher intake of milk in childhood," said Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Prevention Research Center at Yale University School of Medicine. He was not involved in the study. Risk factors for heart disease start in childhood, but there is little evidence of the effect dairy foods have on these risks. Some dairy products, such as whole milk, butter and cheese, have a lot of saturated fat and cholesterol. Studies have also shown that eating these foods in adulthood contributes to heart disease, researchers say. Dr. Katz says there is only so much we can learn from this study. "Dietary assessments were [done] in Britain before WWII, at which time low-fat and fat-free milk were all but nonexistent," Katz said "Thus, any benefits of dairy intake were likely mitigated by its high content of saturated fat." Furthermore, "dairy intake was higher in households with higher socioeconomic status, which may itself account for a health benefit," he noted. Another expert, Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, a professor in the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto, noted that those who ate the most dairy also ate the most fruit and vegetables, so they had the healthiest diets overall. "To put it all down to increased dairy products in young life seems to be a marker for those who had a more reasonable diet," he said. "If you have good nutrition in childhood it is important for longevity, but I would be wary about saying this was due to milk consumption," he said. Another expert advocated dairy products for kids, but suggested sticking to low- or non-fat products. "The saturated fat in dairy food is what we are concerned about, not so much the calories," said Samantha Heller, a Connecticut-based registered dietitian, clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist. "A lot of times kids are not getting the calcium they need because they are replacing calcium-rich beverages with sugar-sweetened beverages, which have no nutritional value," she said.

Your Child

Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision

Children who spend more time outside and away from the television are less likely to develop myopia, which is the inability to see things clearly at a distance. A new report from researchers at The New England College of Optometry doesn't determine whether too much indoor activity actually causes poor eyesight.


Researchers say "it would seem prudent to encourage outdoor activities, not necessarily sports, for all growing child and young adults in order to reduce the progression of myopia," said Howard C. Howland, a professor of neurology and behavior at Cornell University. Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, affects about a third of Americans. The condition is more common in people who engage in a lot of "near work" due to their jobs, according to researchers. In the study, researchers gave questionnaires to the parents of 191 children who were at an average age of 13.3 years. Among other things, the researchers asked about the children's time spent using the computer, reading for pleasure and watching TV. The children who developed myopia spent less time in outdoors activities, an average 8.3 hours per week compared to 12.6 hours among other children. Those with myopia also watched more television, 12.5 hours compared with 8.4 hours per week. "One possibility is that all the hours spent viewing objects at a distance rather than up close, as happens outdoors, provides a 'stop' signal to block myopia progression" said study author Jane Gwiazda. "Outdoor exposure also may be beneficial, because sunlight causes the pupil to constrict, resulting in a larger depth of focus, the range in which objects appear clear, and less image blur that's associated with myopia development."

Your Child

Clone of Sodas and Juice Damaging to Kids’ Teeth

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Kids love them and so do many adults.  They are a billion dollar industry and come in all kinds of tasty flavors. Oh yeah, and they’re rotting your kid’s teeth.

A new study lays out the consequences that acidic drinks such as sodas, some juices and sports beverages can have on children’s teeth. It’s not good.

"Our research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth. This is an important finding and it suggests that such drinks are best avoided," study corresponding author Dr. Sarbin Ranjitkar, of the Craniofacial Biology Research Group at the University of Adelaide in Australia, said in a university news release.

"If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they'll be OK -- the damage is already done," he added.

Fortunately, healthy mouths provide a certain amount of balance and protective mechanisms for teeth and gums. However, teeth can become damaged when the balance shifts to too much acid in the mouth.

High acidity drinks also can combine with other factors to cause major, irreversible damage to youngsters' teeth, according to Ranjitkar.

"Often, children and adolescents grind their teeth at night, and they can have undiagnosed regurgitation or reflux, which brings with it acidity from the stomach. Combined with drinks high in acidity, this creates a triple threat to young people's teeth which can cause long-term damage," he said.

This really isn’t new news, earlier studies have pointed out the link between sodas, acidic juice and kid’s tooth decay.  Youngsters that drink the most sodas also seem to have the most cavities. Many of the earlier studies have focused on the sugar content in these drinks and children’s cavities. This study looks more at the effects of the acid in the beverages on tooth enamel and the long-term consequences. Children are more susceptible to tooth decay because their tooth enamel is not fully developed.

Sodas, juice and sports drinks intake has gone up in the past generation, while the consumption of milk has gone down. I would have a hard time believing it if I hadn’t seen it myself, but some parents are replacing milk with soda in their baby’s bottle. "Dental erosion is an issue of growing concern in developed countries, and it is often only detected clinically after extensive tooth wear has occurred," Ranijitkar said. "Such erosion can lead to a lifetime of compromised dental health that may require complex and extensive rehabilitation -- but it is also preventable with minimal intervention."

Not only is tooth decay painful and long lasting, it’s expensive to repair. Sometimes genetics play a role in why some children seem to have more cavities than others in their age group, but too often it’s simply because parents are allowing their children to drink way too many beverages that are packed with sugar, carbonation and acid.

Everyone can have any of these drinks every once in awhile, there’s no need to forbid them for all time. But, every once in a while is the key. There are also a few tips to help lessen the damage to your child’s teeth.


  • Drink soda in moderation (no more than one 12 oz can a day)
  • Use a straw to keep the sugar away from your teeth
  • Swish your mouth out with water after drinking to dilute the acid and sugar if brushing your teeth is not possible.
  • Drink plenty of water (8 glasses a day)


  • Sip for extended periods of time
  • Drink soda shortly before bedtime
  • Brush after meals – wait at least an hour after your last drink or meal before brushing
  • Substitute soft drinks, sports drinks or fruit juice for a meal.

The study was recently published in the Journal of Dentistry.

Sources: Robert Preidt,

Your Child

Grandparent Program Improves Children’s Behavior

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Grandparents usually look forward to spending time with their grandkids and are often the first call when parents need help with babysitting or time for themselves. While many grandparents are quite capable of overseeing their grandchildren, a refresher course in childcare and communication can offer resources grandparents may not have considered.

In a recent study conducted in Australia, researchers found that grandparents who participated in an updated grand-parenting program designed to encourage better communication between generations and give grandparents a parenting "refresher" course, reported fewer behavior problems among children.

"The main reason we wanted to focus on grandparents is that there still aren't that many parents getting involved with parenting programs," James Kirby, the study's lead author, told Reuters Health.

The new program is an updated version of a similar program called the Triple P-Positive Parenting Program that has been available for about 30 years.  The sessions focus on parenting, the relationship between grandparents and parents and unhelpful emotions - such as anxiety, stress and anger. The program takes about 15 hours to complete. The newer version focuses on grandparents, last nine weeks and involves seven groups and two phone sessions.

For the new study, the researchers recruited 54 older people who were providing at least 12 hours of care per week to grandchildren who were between ages two and nine.

Twenty-eight grandparents were randomly assigned to participate in the program. The others served as a comparison group.

All of the grandparents and parents periodically completed questionnaires about the children's behavior, their own parenting styles and confidence and the grandparents' adjustment.

At the beginning of the study, all of the children scored similarly on a scale that measures the severity of behavior problems between 0 and 36 and the frequency of those problems between 36 and 252. Higher scores indicate worse behavior.

The children whose grandparents participated in the program began the study with an average behavior severity score of about 13 points and a frequency score of about 122 points. Those fell to about 7 and 101 points, respectively, after the program.

Among children whose grandparents didn't participate in the program, behavior severity scores remained the same at about 11 points throughout the study. Scores reflecting frequency of behavior problems increased from about 116 points at the start to about 119 at the end.

None of the average scores for either group reached the cutoff for clinical significance, however. At that point, children should possibly be examined for behavior disorders or other conditions.

The standout changes noted in the research were that the grandparents who participated in the study reported improved confidence and less depression, anxiety and stress, compared to those who didn’t take part in the program. "We're helping with the grandparents' own mental health," Kirby said. "And - at the same time - we're also helping to reduce the child behavior problems."

Six month after the sessions, the results from the program continued to hold true.

The ultimate goal, Kirby said, is to create a shorter version of the program. But they're already in the process of turning the resources from their study into published resources for people to use.

"Don't undervalue the contribution of grandparents," Kirby said. "They can have a significant influence on the improvement of child behavior."

A lot has change since people of grand-parenting age raised their own children. Safety guidelines, such as making sure a baby sleeps on his or her back, have been updated, as well as other safety precautions that were not known twenty to thirty years ago.  Parenting 101 courses are available in many cities and can be found through Internet searches or talking with a family doctor. These are great refresher courses for grandparents to check out.

Many families simply couldn’t get by without the help of their parents. Grandparents around the world step up when called upon, sometimes raising their grandchildren when parents are either not able to or are no longer alive.  They deserve a big hug and thank you. Oftentimes, they add a positive dimension to a child’s development and life they would not otherwise receive.

Source: Andrew M. Seaman,


Your Child

Diet Drinks May Not Be Better For Kids

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Many adults and kids have switched to diet drinks to help reduce their calorie intake. In fact, children who drink sugar-free beverages have doubled in the past 10 years according to a study released in 2012.

Are diet beverages really better for you? Not necessarily and they may actually be doing more harm than good.

Purdue University researchers reviewed a dozen studies published during the last five years to examine the relationship between consuming diet soda and health outcomes. In an opinion piece published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, the authors said they were shocked by the results.

"Honestly, I thought that diet soda would be marginally better compared to regular soda in terms of health," said Susan Swithers, the report's author and a behavioral neuroscientist and professor of psychological sciences. “But in reality it has a counterintuitive effect.”

The body doesn’t appear to know what to do with the fake sugar. It thinks it’s getting real food, but it doesn’t get the food complexity that it expects and doesn’t know how to respond.

"You've messed up the whole system, so when you consume real sugar, your body doesn't know if it should try to process it because it's been tricked by the fake sugar so many times," says Swithers.

If someone drinks a lot of sugar –free beverages, when they actually do take in real sugar, their body doesn’t release the hormones that would normally regulate blood sugars and blood pressure. That scenario can become a real long-term health problem. 

The report also noted that diet soda drinkers tended to gain more weight than those who don’t drink it.

It found that diet soda drinkers who maintained a healthy weight range still had a significantly increased risk of the top three killers in the United States: diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

"We've gotten to a place where it is normal to drink diet soda because people have the false impression that it is healthier than indulging in a regular soda," says Swithers. "But research is now very clear that we need to also be mindful of how much fake sugar they are consuming."

The American Beverage Association had a different take on the report saying it was “an opinion piece and not a study.”

"Low-calorie sweeteners are some of the most studied and reviewed ingredients in the food supply today," the association said in a statement. "They are safe and an effective tool in weight loss and weight management, according to decades of scientific research and regulatory agencies around the globe."

The researchers reviewed only diet soft drinks but suggest that the results may apply to other products that contain fake sugars as well.

So should parents completely eliminate sugar-free products from their child’s diet? The simple answer is no, just limit the consumption.

“No one is saying cut it out completely,” says Swithers. “But diet soda should be a treat or indulgence just like your favorite candy, not an everyday thing.”

Regular sodas are overloaded with sugar and sugar-free sodas may cause more problems than they solve.

Children’s health experts say that instead of a soda, substitute water, milk, or limited amounts of 100% orange juice.

A soda every now and then is not a problem, but one or more every day is. Remember that soft drinks have no nutritional value and are associated with tooth decay – not a great combination for any adult or child.

Source: Danielle Dellorto,

Your Child

Recall: Nestle Nesquik Chocolate Powder

1.45 to read

Nesquik, a popular chocolate powder, has been voluntarily recalled by its maker Nestle USA because of possible salmonella risk. 

The company said that the recalled Nesquik canisters are the 10.9, 21.8 and 40.7-ounce sizes. The products were produced in early October and sold at retailers around the country.

Nestle says it is issuing the recall after its ingredient supplier, Omaya Inc., decided to recall some of the calcium carbonate used in the product due to possible Salmonella contamination.  So far there have been no reported illnesses reported.

The affected products have a "Best if sold by" date of October 2014.The recall includes the following products and unit production codes, which are located on the bottom of the canister.

-40.7 ounce powder with UPC 0 28000 68230 9 2282574810 2282574820

-21.8 ounce powder with UPC 0 28000 68090 9 2278574810 2278574820 2279574810 2279574820 2284574820 2284574830 2285574810 2285574820 2287574820 2289574810 2289574820

-10.9 ounce powder with UPC 0 28000 67990 3 2278574810

No other varieties of Nesquik powder are being recalled.

Consumers who have bought the any of the products listed above should not use them and can return them for a refund. You can also contact Nestle Consumer Services if you have any questions at (800) 628-7679.

Salmonella recalls are not uncommon in the food industry. Most recently a salmonella outbreak at the country's largest organic peanut processing plant lead to a major recall of peanut butter and other nut products over the past two months.

The most common symptoms of Salmonella infection are diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever, which develop within eight to 72 hours of eating or drinking contaminated food. The illness usually lasts for four to seven days and most people recover without treatment. However, salmonellosis can be severe or even life threatening for infants, older people, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

The Nestle website posted this apology to its customers: “Nestlé is dedicated to the health and safety of its consumers. For these reasons, the company initiated this voluntary recall. We apologize to our consumers and sincerely regret any inconvenience created by this incident.”


Nestle Recall

Your Child

Early Treatment For Dyslexia


If your child has dyslexia, he or she is not alone.  Dyslexia is a reading disorder that happens when the brain doesn’t properly recognize and process certain symbols. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, spelling, and writing difficulty and about 70%-80% of all people with poor reading skills are likely to be dyslexic.

The good news is that dyslexia is treatable. Students who receive specialized education often thrive. Most dyslexics are of average or above average intelligence and just need to be taught in a different manner. In fact, many individuals that have dyslexia also show extraordinary skills in other areas to compensate for the difficulties in reading and spelling.

A new study from Italy found that the learning disability might be linked to problems with children’s visual attention. Researchers said their findings could lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments for those with the condition.

"Visual attention deficits are surprisingly way more predictive of future reading disorders than are language abilities at the pre-reading stage," Andrea Facoetti, of the University of Padua, said in a journal news release.

Researchers followed children in Italy for three years beginning when they were in kindergarten and just starting to learn to read. They continued their study till the children were in second grade. The scientists analyzed the children’s visual spatial attention, or their ability to distinguish between what is relevant and what is irrelevant, by asking them to identify certain symbols while they were being distracted. The children were also given tests on syllable identification, verbal short-term memory and rapid color naming.

The study found that children who had problems with visual attention also had trouble reading, the researchers said.

"This is a radical change to the theoretical framework explaining dyslexia," Facoetti said. "It forces us to rewrite what is known about the disorder and to change rehabilitation treatments in order to reduce its impact."

The study's authors stated that simple visual-attention tasks would help identify children at risk for dyslexia early on. "Because recent studies show that specific pre-reading programs can improve reading abilities, children at risk for dyslexia could be treated with preventive remediation programs of visual spatial attention before they learn to read," the researchers said in the news release.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

Children with dyslexia who are not diagnosed early may grow frustrated and show signs of depression and low self –esteem. has an excellent review of dyslexia with causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.


Your Child

New Concussion Guidelines for Student Athletes

New guidelines by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body of Texas high school athletics, have been established for the 2011-2012 season...Under the new guidelines, no student-athlete that sustains a concussion will be allowed to return to play on the same day.New guidelines by the University Interscholastic League (UIL), the governing body of Texas high school athletics, have been established for the 2011-2012 season.

The guidelines are designed to help protect a student athlete who sustains a concussion while participating in a school sport. Today’s parents, coaches and students are more aware of the dangers of concussions than even a couple of years ago. Under the new guidelines, no student-athlete that sustains a concussion will be allowed to return to play on the same day. The current guidelines, on the UIL website are: Following a head injury, an athlete should be returned to practice or a game ONLY if he/she meets ALL of the following criteria. - Head injury did not result in any loss of consciousness; - Any "confusion" or altered mental status clears in less than 15 minutes; - The injured athlete has had no other concussion or significant head injury during the present season; -The athlete checks out "clear" on mental status, orientation, concentration and memory tasks before and after exertional provocative tests. The decision to return a student athlete to his or her sport will be determined by a licensed health care provider. The athletes must provide a written clearance, and follow a series of progressive steps back to full participation. If the same student-athlete suffers more concussions, he or she will require further medical evaluation by a licensed health care professional. "Safety is always first and foremost in any athletic competition that we have as far as UIL or any competition, at any level, for the students involved," said Cliff Odenwald, UIL's athletics director. "Honestly, I think they just put in writing what's already practiced," Conroe ISD Athletics Director Danny Long said. "Especially at the 5A level, there's so many teams that the doctors are already on the sidelines both home and away. Preventing concussions has recently become a main focus in athletics, especially in the game of football. Long said the emphasis must be on coaching technique to help prevent such injuries. "Over the last 30 years this game has really gotten to a point where the athletes are faster and stronger, the collisions are greater even at the lowest of levels," he said. "Anytime you take a human being and run them in one direction and another human being and run them in the other direction, it's a violent sport. "It has to be taught properly and do what you can to keep the face up and keep the neck and head out of contact as much as you possibly can. But it's an impossible task to prevent everything." The proposed legislation also has received support from the NFL . On May 21, 2010, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, urging him to support legislation that would better protect high school athletes by mandating stricter regulations regarding concussions. The Centers for Disease Control estimates there may be as many as 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions that occur in the United States each year. "We believe that sports and political leaders can help raise awareness of these dangerous injuries and better ensure that they are treated in the proper and most effective way," Goodell said in his letter. Other rule changes include allowing intra-school football scrimmages to be scheduled after six days of contact practices, instead of seven; allowing all players to participate in the team playoff in golf; and allowing three games to be substituted in place of a tournament in baseball and softball. The new measure will take effect August 01, 2011. We hope hope other states follow suit to protect young athletes.

Your Child

Chuck E. Cheese Toy Recall

Parents know Chuck E. Cheese as a fun place for children’s birthday parties and as a family friendly Pizza parlor.  Recently, The Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Chuck E. Cheese, issued a massive Light-Up Rings and Star Glasses toy recall.

The maker of the Chuck E. Cheese toys, CEC Entertainment, Inc. is voluntarily recalling the rings and glasses because they can pose a hazard to children. The CPSC reports that if crushed or pulled apart, the plastic casing can break into small pieces and possibly expose the batteries, posing an ingestion hazard to children. If ingested, the batteries may be damaging to the stomach, intestine, esophagus or nasal mucus membrane. The Light-Up Rings were distributed as a promotional product during parent-teacher association conventions between April 2009 and June 2010, and the Star Glasses were distributed as part of a birthday package between April and August 2010. The Star Glasses measure about 5 1/2 inches across by 2 1/2 inches tall and are made of red translucent plastic and have the words Chuck E. Cheese’s painted on the side. The Light-Up Ring measures 1 1/8 inches across and is made of plastic with a black elastic band. The ring comes in several colors - blue, green, purple, yellow, and pink. The back of the ring is fastened either with screws or glue. Information from the Chuck E. Cheese website states that consumers with light-up rings should immediately take the product away from children and return it to any Chuck E. Cheese location to receive their choice of either a refund of $1 or a soccer promo-cup. Both choices come with four Chuck E. Cheese’s tokens. Consumers with the recalled star glasses should immediately take the products away from children and return them to any Chuck E. Cheese location for a choice of either a $4.99 refund or a flashing hands prize product. For more information, call Chuck E. Cheese’s at 888-778-7193 or e-mail the company at or visit the firm’s website at


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