Your Teen

Helping Teens Cut Down on Sugary Drinks

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Want to help your teen shed his or her addiction to high-sugar drinks? A new study says that when adolescents are shown the calorie content, and how long they will have to vigorously exercise to burn off those calories, many teens decide to make a different choice as to what they drink.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

"Most consumers underestimate the number of calories in a can of soda, and they often do not realize that such calories can add up quickly," lead researcher Sara Bleich said in a press release about the study.

Researchers set up in a convenience store and used 3 methods to see if they could discourage teens from choosing drinks packed with sugar. In the first method they posted a sign that noted there are 250 calories in a typical bottle. The second sign noted that the bottle contains about 10% of an average teen’s daily-recommended calorie intake. The third sign told them that they would have to jog for about 50 minutes to burn off the calories.

The results were that all three methods discouraged teens from buying the sugary drinks by approximately 40%, but the third method had the biggest impact. When teens knew how much they would have to jog to burn off the calories, 50% chose water or diet soda instead of the high-sugar drinks.

The size of soda drinks has changed over the years. Most can drinks are 12 ounces, but bottled drinks are usually 20 ounces, with some being as large as 1 liter (34 oz.)

Super sized fountain drinks and “Gulp” drinks can be anywhere from 28 oz. to 55 oz. The 7-11 Double Gulp has 186 grams of sugar (almost a cup of sugar) and 744 calories! How does 3 hours of jogging to burn off those calories sound?  Liquid candy is what some public health officials have labeled these soft drinks.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) looked at teens and high sugar drinks. CSPI’s analyses of 13- to 18-year-olds found that five percent of male soft-drink drinkers down about five or more cans a day and five percent of female drinkers consume more than three cans a day. That’s 80 percent more than 20 years ago. And, because kids are drinking more sweetened beverages than milk, they are getting too little calcium for growing teeth and bones, reports the CSPI. That's especially important for growing girls, who are at highest risk of osteoporosis.

For kids without a weight problem, one sweetened beverage per day -- as part of a well-balanced diet -- is fine, says Sarah Krieger, RD, LD, MPH, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "If children are maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet, and are active, one soda is OK."

The American Beverage Association agrees. "No single food or beverage is a unique contributor to obesity," says Tracey Halliday, a spokeswoman for the association. "Obesity is a serious and complex problem that is best addressed by living a balanced lifestyle -- consuming a variety of foods and beverages in moderation and getting regular physical activity. Quite simply, all calories count, regardless of the source."

If your child has a tendency to gain weight, however, it's best to keep these beverages out of the house. "Keep it for parties, since for most young kids that's about once a week," says Krieger, who is also lead instructor for children's weight management classes at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Also, limit other sweet drinks -- including 100% fruit juice. "Yes it's healthy, but it can have as many calories as a soda. One serving a day is OK, but that's all," she says.

There have been a lot of articles on teens and obesity. Some say too many. But the reason there is so much attention paid to obesity and children is not because of how children look- but because of the damage obesity can cause to a young person’s health. One third of all kids between the ages of 2 (yes 2) and 19 are overweight or obese.  Young kids and teens are developing health problems that used to affect only adults, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type2 diabetes.

Helping your child or teen wean themselves off high-sugar drinks is a good start to improving their diet and health.

In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration is expected to require chain restaurants and retail food establishments - companies whose primary business is selling food - with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts on their menus. The rule would also require calorie counts on vending machines. The calorie information would have to be "displayed clearly and prominently" and be listed per item or per serving,

The goal is to help people realize how many calories they are consuming so they can make better food and drink choices. It’s a good start towards a healthier lifestyle.

Sources:

http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/12/15/teenagers-buy-fewer-sugary-drin...

http:// children.webmd.com/features/children-and-sweetened-drinks-whats-a-parent-to-do

Your Teen

Study: Freshman 15 Weight Gain Is Real

A new study shows that nearly one in four freshmen gain at least five percent of their body weight during their first semester.A new study shows there is some truth behind what has long been considered an urban legend about the infamous freshman 15. The study, published in Nutrition Journal, shows that nearly one in four freshmen gain at least five percent of their body weight, an average of about 10 pounds, during their first semester.

“Almost one quarter of students gained a significant amount of weight during their first semester of college,” say researchers Heidi J. Wengreen and Cara Moncur of the department of nutrition and food sciences at Utah State University in Logan. “This study provides further evidence that the transition to college life is a critical period of risk for weight gain, and college freshmen are an important target population for obesity prevention strategies.” Other studies have documented the phenomenon of the freshman 15 weight gain but researchers say few have examined the changes in behaviors that occur as students transition from high school to college that may contribute to unhealthy weight gain. The study followed 159 students enrolled at a mid-sized university in the fall of 2005. Each student’s weight was measured at the beginning and end of the fall semester, and the participants also filled out a survey about their diet, physical activity, and other health-related habits during the last six months of high school and during the first semester at college. Researchers found the average amount of weight gained during the study was modest, at about 3.3 pounds. But 23 percent of college freshmen gained at least five percent of their body weight and none lost that amount. There was no significant difference in the amount of weight gained by women and men in the study. Those who gained at least five percent of their body weight reported less physical activity during their first semester at college than in high school and were more likely to eat breakfast and slept more than those who didn’t gain as much. Previous studies have shown teens and adults who skip breakfast are more likely to gain weight, and researchers say they were surprised to find that eating breakfast regularly was linked to greater weight gain in the first three months of college. They say it may reflect more frequent meals at all-you-can-eat dining facilities at college, and more research is needed to clarify this finding. “In general, our findings are consistent with the findings of others who report the transition from high school to college promotes changes in behavior and environment that may support weight gain,” they conclude.

Your Teen

Study: 1 in 9 U.S. Kids Use Alternative Medicine

More than one in nine children try herbal remedies and other nontraditional options according to a new study on herbal medicine and American children. The study, conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that nearly 3 million young people use supplements, ranging from fish oil to ginseng.

The study shows that the practices of the parents children played a big role in whether or not the child took herbal supplements. Kids were five times more likely to use alternative therapies if a parent or other relative did. The study had a wide definition of alternative medicine that included acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, traditional healing, yoga, Pilates, deep breathing massage and even dieting. Vitamins and mineral supplements are not considered alternative medicine and neither are prayer or folk medicine practices. Herbal remedies were the leading type of alternative therapy for both adults and children under 18. Among children, the most common therapies given were for head or neck pain, colds and anxiety. Fish oil for hyperactivity and Echinacea for colds were the most popular supplements, although researchers point out that there is no proof such treatments work for those conditions, nor have they been tested in children.

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Your Teen

AAP Supports Condoms for Teens

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While teens should be encouraged to abstain from sex, not all adolescents will follow that advise.  The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) would like to see free or low-cost condoms made available for teenagers, along with sex education programs, in schools.

Research has shown that easy accessibility to condoms and sex-ed classes does not increase sexual activity in teens, but there is still resistance by some to providing teens those options, said researchers. 

"I think one of the main issues is the idea that if you provide condoms and make them accessible, kids will be more likely to have sex. But really, that's not the case," Amy Bleakley said.

"Getting over the perception that giving condoms out will make kids have sex is a real barrier for parents and school administrators," she told Reuters Health.

Bleakley studies teen sexual behavior and reproductive health at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia but wasn't part of the AAP committee.

Bleakley also noted that there are some studies that show that when teens have access to condoms and comprehensive sex education classes, those teens actually wait longer to start having sex than peers who don’t.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen pregnancies are down in the U.S. In 2011, there were 31 births for every 1,000 U.S. women aged 15 to 19. In 2012, there were 29 births per 1,000 teens.

While the decrease in teens having babies is an improvement, that number is still higher than in other developed countries.

Rates of many sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including Chlamydia and gonorrhea, are highest among teenage and young adult women.

The new policy statement, an update to the AAP's 2001 statement on condom use by adolescents, was recently published in the journal Pediatrics.

"The biggest difference is that we have more evidence about how effective they are against sexually transmitted infections," Dr. Rebecca O'Brien, the policy statement's lead author, said.

That's especially true for viruses like herpes and HIV, she added.

Are condoms 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy? No, the committee said. Even when used exactly as they are supposed to be, 2 percent of condoms will fail when used all the time-every time- over a year. In reality, the failure rate is about 18 percent during a year of typical use, the committee said.

Using condoms along with another birth control method, such as the Pill or an intrauterine device, may be the best way to prevent pregnancy and STIs.

In its recommendations, the committee said doctors should support consistent and correct use of condoms. They should also encourage parents to discuss condom use and prevention of STIs with their adolescent children.

Still, the committee said, abstinence should be encouraged as the best way to prevent STIs and unintended pregnancy.

Bleakley echoed the importance of communication between parents and teenagers.

"Parents really need to be proactive about communicating with their adolescents before their kids engage in sexual activity," she said.

"Really parents who talk to their kids about sexuality, about contraception, about condoms - their kids have much better outcomes," like fewer unintended pregnancies, Bleakley said.

If you’re not sure when to begin discussing sexuality with your child, talk to your pediatrician. It’s probably a lot earlier than you think.

Source: Genevra Pittman, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/28/us-teens-condoms-idUSBRE99R03N20131028

 

Your Teen

Drug Abuse Among Teens On The Rise

1.30 to read

Teens are not saying no when it comes to smoking marijuana and dropping ecstasy. During the last 3 years, there's been a spike in taking these drugs as well as a more relaxed view of alcohol use among the teen population. Teens are not saying "no" when it comes to smoking marijuana and dropping ecstasy. During the last 3 years, there's been a spike in taking these drugs as well as a more relaxed view of alcohol use among the teen population according to a new report by Partnership at Drugfree.org.

The results are particularly disturbing when you look at the statistics that were gathered. - 7 out of 10 teens interviewed reported having friends who drank at least once a week. - 6 out of 10 teens who reported alcohol use said they had their first full drink – not counting sips, or tasting – at age 15. Among the teens that tried alcohol just once, the average age was 14. - 32% said they drank to “to forget their troubles, ” while 24% said they drank to “deal with problems at home.” - Almost half, 45%, reported they didn’t see a “great risk” in drinking heavily on a daily basis. - Only 31% said they strongly disapproved of their peers, and other teens, getting drunk. The study found that between 2008 and 2010 teens that said they had used marijuana in the past year climbed  4% - up 39 percent from 32 percent. During the same time period teen use of the drug ecstasy in the past year, increased from 6% to 10%. The report, sponsored by the MetLife Foundation, was based on a survey of around 2,500 high school students. 'These findings should serve as a call to action for parents,' said Dennis White, President and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “'We encourage parents and caregivers to pay attention to the warning signs of teen drinking and other drug use, in order to intervene early and effectively. If you suspect a problem, do not wait to get help for a child who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction.' Some experts believe the rise in teen-age drug use, and the relaxed views on alcohol, may be related to the normalization of drugs and alcohol on radio and television, in magazines and advertising, along with other social media outlets. Budget cuts for treatment centers, and new struggles faced by families hit by the recession may also have contributed. "The net impact of all that puts an even heavier burden on parents who really need to play an active roll in preventing this behavior and knowing how to get help for a kid when they are abusing any of these substances," Sean Clarkin, director of strategy for the Partnership at Drugfree.org, told Reuters in a phone interview. Although Marijuana and ecstasy use has risen among teens, a 2010 study from the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future, said alcohol use among 8th, 10th and 12th grade students had decreased, falling 1.6 percentage points to 26.8 percent between 2008 and 2010. One resource for more information on teen drug and alcohol abuse is Kidshealth.org. They provide a comprehensive list of drugs that includes the symptoms, addictiveness, effects and dangers.

Your Teen

Obese Children More Likely to Have Allergies

Children who are obese are 26 percent more likely to have some kind of allergy, especially to food a new study finds. Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) said it is not clear from the study of obesity causes the allergies, but it suggests controlling obesity in young people may be important for lowering rates of childhood asthma and allergies.

"We found a positive association between obesity and allergies," said lead researcher Dr. Darryl Zeldin. The study appears in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. "The signal for allergies seemed to be coming mostly from food allergies. The rate of having a food allergy was 59 percent higher for obese children," said another researcher. The team looked at data on 4,000 children aged two to 19 that included information about allergies and asthma. They looked at several factors including total antibody levels to indoor, outdoor and food allergens, body weight and responses to a questionnaire about diagnoses of hay fever, eczema and allergies. For the study, children who had a body mass index (BMI) that was in the top 95 percent of children of their age were considered obese. The researchers found antibodies for specific allergens were higher among children who were obese or overweight. "While the results from this study are interesting, they do not prove obesity causes allergies. More research is needed to further investigate this potential link," Dr. Zeldin said.

Your Teen

Energy Drinks

Just about every store you go into these days has a shelf of energy drinks, many of them marketed towards our teenage children. “Many are marketed as energy drinks but should be called stimulant drinks” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. Many of these drinks contain large amounts of caffeine.”

Dr. Hubbard warns that too much caffeine in a teenager’s system can cause anxiety, rapid heartbeat, insomnia, nervousness and upset stomachs. “It can also mess up a child’s sleep cycle, which is not good” she says. Dr. Hubbard recommends that parents read the labels of the drinks their children are consuming. She also recommends that if you need to hydrate your child during sports or other physical activity, give them water or a true sports drink, like Gatorade, and not energy drinks.

Your Teen

College - Bound Vaccinations

1.45 to read

It’s finally here. From the time your child was an infant, you knew this day was coming. He or she is entering college! If your young adult is moving away, there’s shopping, packing, traveling arrangements, paperwork, dorms and good-byes filling up the precious last living-at-home days. 

New opportunities for educational, personal and professional growth are just on the other side of those academic doors. But, there’s one more thing that you need to make sure is taken care- even if your child is remaining home and going to a community or local college.

Vaccinations need to be updated. Many colleges will not allow a student to attend classes, or live in a dorm, if their vaccinations are not updated, and immunization records filed with the school.

Colleges want to know that their students have been vaccinated against the basics - Diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps and rubella. But increasingly, they want to know that their students have been inoculated against bacterial meningitis.

Dorm rooms, fraternities and sororities are breeding grounds for contagious diseases. Unhealthy lifestyles can also lower a person’s immune system. Lack of sleep, unsanitary conditions, bad nutrition, drinking and exposure to cigarette smoke and drugs can put a child at risk for a host of medical problems.

Bringing these topics up is not to say that all college bound students will partake in unhealthy lifestyles, it’s simply a reminder that large populations in close quarters can put you at a higher risk for disease. That’s why colleges are becoming more adamant about student vaccinations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends college students, especially those living in dormitories, receive these vaccinations:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine, which helps prevent meningococcal disease. If they received this vaccine before their 16th birthday, they should get a booster dose before going to college for maximum protection.
  • Tdap vaccine, which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (also known as whooping cough.)
  • HPV vaccine, which protects against the viruses that cause most cervical cancers, anal cancer, and genital warts.
  • Seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Another vaccination to consider is the Hepatitis A vaccine, which protects against this serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the liver.

Be sure and check with your college to see what vaccinations are required, and ask your family doctor or pediatrician about their recommendations.

Entering college is one of those milestones in life. It’s exciting and humbling for kids and parents. Make sure your child has the vaccinations he or she needs as they enter this new world of opportunity!

Sources: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/spec-grps/college.htm

http://www.webmd.com/vaccines/features/vaccines-for-college-students

Your Teen

Headlines: Another Teen Suicide

On September 6, 2007, the Centers for Disease and Prevention reported suicide rates in American adolescents (especially girls, 10 to 24 years old) increased 8%, the largest increase in 15 years.The sad and desperate story of a college student who killed himself after a roommate secretly videotaped him having sex, and streamed it live on the web has made headlines across the world.

18 year old, Tyler Clementi, was embarrassed and humiliated by the invasion of his privacy. He jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge. Unfortunately, Tyler is not the only teen who thinks suicide is the only way to end his suffering. On September 6, 2007, the Centers for Disease and Prevention reported suicide rates in American adolescents (especially girls, 10 to 24 years old) increased 8%, the largest increase in 15 years. Amazingly, suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds. The current headlines demonstrate that it is more important than ever that parents are aware of the symptoms of depression and substance abuse.  Suicides increase substantially when the two are combined. What symptoms should I look for? - Change in eating and sleeping habits - Withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities. - Violent, rebellious behavior, or running away - Drug and alcohol use. - Unusual neglect of personal appearance - Marked personality change - Persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of     schoolwork - Frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc. - Loss of interest in pleasurable activities. - Not tolerating praise or rewards. A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also: - Complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside. - Give verbal hints with statements such as: “I won't be a problem for you much longer,”    “ Nothing matters,” “It's no use, and I won't see you again.” - Put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc. - Become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression - Have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts.) What should you do if you notice these symptoms in your child? If a child or adolescent says, "I want to kill myself," or "I'm going to commit suicide,"  always take the statement seriously and immediately seek assistance from a qualified mental health professional. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than putting thoughts in the child's head, such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems. If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional help from a physician or a qualified mental health professional. With support from family and appropriate treatment, children and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a healthier mental outlook.

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Sometimes you just need to wait when your child is not feeling well. Here's why.