(Not so) Dumb Jock
Springtime is our family’s busiest time of year when it comes to sports and extracurricular activities. You might have noticed many of our recent posts have touched on various aspects of sports and exercise. Today’s post is about how a generalization we’ve all heard, “dumb jock”, may not be so, well…smart!
A recent study out of Sweden looked at how athletes versus non-athletes did on standardized testing of cognitive function. They looked at how elite soccer players, and “regular” soccer players, compared with standardized normals. They found that both groups of players performed significantly better than average on the tests of executive function, and further that the elite players outperformed than the “regular” players. The study went on to show a correlation between players doing well on the cognitive testing, and having an increased likelihood of scoring more goals and assists during a subsequent season!
Hmm, maybe “Sports Nerd” would be a little more accurate…!
To read more about this study, click here:
Homework can be a real pain in the…
…back! Literally, at least according to a study published yesterday about schoolchildren’s backpacks and back pain. The researchers looked at more than 1400 adolescents, the weight of their backpacks, and the incidence of back pain. Having lifted my own children’s backpacks, I was not entirely surprised by the results, but they are nonetheless concerning.
The average weight of the backpacks was more than 15 lbs! And more than half of the children carried backpacks that weighed more than 10% of their own body weight. One quarter of the children reported having back pain that lasted >15 days in the past year, and the students who carried the heaviest backpacks had a 50% greater likelihood of having back pain than the students with the lightest. The risks were higher in girls than boys, and increased as the children got older.
Anyone who has had an episode of significant back pain knows that it’s no laughing matter. If most of the weight of the backpacks was books and related school supplies, perhaps the growing preponderance of e-books and web-based homework will help prevent an epidemic of teenage back pain.
Fast or Curvey… Either Way, Just Keep Count!
Spring is the start of baseball for many young athletes and so we thought a recent study from Athletic Training and Sports Health Care was relevant. This study looked at both little league and high school players and made some useful points. Previous studies have already shown that high pitch counts lead to more elbow and shoulder injuries. It is thought that as children and their arms tire, poor form results, and leads to more arm, elbow, and shoulder injuries. As a result many leagues limit the number of pitches kids can pitch each game. This new study found that kids who play baseball in multiple leagues (i.e. local and travel leagues) seem to have more arm injuries–including more surgeries–even if they adhere to pitch count limitations in individual games. They point out that total pitch count limitations need to take into account pitches thrown in every league in which a child is playing.
Infants Tylenol Recalled
Earlier last week, Infants’ Tylenol Oral Suspension was voluntarily recalled by the manufacturer due to the flow restrictor at the top pushing into the bottle while trying to administer the appropriate dose. The recall is not linked to serious adverse effects, and parents may still continue to use the medication.
To read more about the recall, click here.
High Kids? Goodbye!
[[posterous-content:pid___0]]Some interesting data was recently released regarding “sex, drugs and rock & roll” and our teenage and pre-teenage children. A recent University of Michigan study shows that certain alcohol and drug related behaviors have significantly declined, particularly smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption. This national study has been tracking the use of and attitudes about drug, alcohol and tobacco use by 8th, 10th and 12th graders since 1975. In all more than 46,000 kids were surveyed in 2011. In addition to less alcohol and tobacco use, the study found decreased use of illicit drugs like cocaine, and prescription drugs like Vicodin and Adderall. Not everything went down though as rates of marijuana and ecstasy use went up.
It is also interesting to look at teens’ “perceived risk” of using these various substances. In general the teens’ perception of risk went up related to the use of amphetamines, cocaine, tobacco and of binge drinking alcohol. However, teens appear to attribute less risk to the use of marijuana and ecstasy and, as noted, the use of these both went up according to the study.
So good job parents, and teens! It seems that overall we’re headed in the right direction according to this data.
Here’s a link to an article that will be in the upcoming Feb 5th issue of the New York Times magazine about this subject.
Tackling Obesity: Contrasting Approaches to Moving Forward
Georgia’s new campaign to stop childhood obesity, “Strong4Life” has caused a fair amount of controversy with it’s high “shock value” videos about the problem. Here is one of the Strong4Life videos as well as another, more education-focused video about childhood obesity. Check them both out and see what you think. Is one approach better than the other? Is there a need for both?
Thanksgiving and Family (history)
The U.S. Surgeon General has recommended that families share medical histories during Thanksgiving get-togethers. Knowing your family’s health history can provide important information about your health and health risks. You can create a family health portrait in about 20 minutes on the Surgeon General’s website: My Family Health Portrait.
Obesity & Children: the Good News and the Bad News
Bad news first?
Okay, the bad news is that children who are overweight and obese and stay that way into adulthood, have a much greater risk of developing some serious problems. This risk ranges from about double the chance of having abnormal cholesterol levels to more than five times the chance of developing diabetes.
The good news is pretty good though. According to an article released today in the New England Journal of Medicine, if those children become nonobese–in other words, if they loose the excess weight–by the time they become adults, their risk for these problems goes back down. In fact, it seems to go back to the same risk as people who were never overweight or obese as children.
So, it’s never to late to encourage our kids to start exercising and eating well!
A study published online today in Pediatrics shows a link between early exposure to bisphenol-A and neurobehavioral problems. Bisphenol A can be found in many consumer products (usually food & beverage containers). Researchers found that higher levels of BPA in girls age 3 and younger, and also in pregnant mothers, were associated with more hyperactivity, anxiety and depression in the girls, using pediatric assessments for these problems. Here’s a link to the abstract.
Hovering Parents = Less Active Children
As the level of obesity rises with adults, it also rises with children. A main reason for this is decreased activity. And while parents continue to take their children to parks, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine released a study earlier this month showing that when parents “hover” over their playing children, their children tend to play less actively versus children whose parents stand back and just “let them go.” We do not want to see any harm come to our children, but as we stand on the sidelines and holler, “Not too high!” or “Careful; not so fast!” our children focus more on what not to do instead of just running around and having fun. Of course don’t let your children get into dangerous predicaments, but the more leeway you give them to run around without worrying about getting a bump or bruise, the more apt they are to be more active and the less likely they’ll become overweight.