How To Get Kids To Frequent A (salad) Bar
Fewer than 1 in 10 children eat the recommended daily serving of fruits and veggies. Part of this reason is the limited choices they have in school, where they spend a good portion of their day. Research shows kids will make these choices more often if they have a variety of food choices available and a new public effort, Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools, is working to provide children with a broader, and healthier, range of lunchtime options. To learn more about this effort, click here.
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.
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?
Mommy, I had a bad dream…
If you’re a parent you’ve probably heard that before. And if you are, or once were a child, you’ve probably said that before! And whether you’ve been the parent, the child, or both in that situation, you probably didn’t sleep as well that night. What if there was a way to decrease that experience?
A study in the journal Pediatrics looked at this very issue recently and had some interesting findings:
1. Children who had “screen time” after 7pm had more problems with insomnia, nightmares and daytime sleepiness. (“Screen time” meant TV, computers or video games, and it didn’t seem to matter if it was Clifford, YouTube videos, Facebook or a scary movie.)
2. Children who watched violent content–at any time of day–also had more sleep problems.
So if your child and you are struggling to get a good night sleep, and one or both of the above applies, perhaps making an adjustment or two will help….Sweet dreams!
Dear 16-year-old Me
Hypertexting by Teens Linked to Increased Health Risks
DENVER � Teens who overuse cell phone texting or social networking Web sites have disturbingly high rates of a wide range of health risk behaviors, a large cross-sectional study showed.
A survey of more than 4,000 Ohio teens revealed that teens who text or participate in social networking sites excessively have high rates of a number of health risk behaviors including alcohol and drug abuse, violence and poor grades.
“The startling results of this study suggest that, when left unchecked, texting and other widely popular methods of staying connected can have dangerous health effects on teenagers,” possibly associated with a general lack of adult supervision, Dr. Scott Frank said at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association.
He presented the results of a survey completed anonymously by 4,257 teens at 20 schools in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. Of the responders, 20% were what Dr. Frank classified as “hypertexters,” based upon their self-reported texting an average of 120 or more times per day on school days.
Based upon their responses on the Youth Risk Behavior Survey, completed as part of the anonymous survey, these hypertexters were an adjusted twofold more likely to have ever tried alcohol, 43% more likely to be binge drinkers, 32% more likely to be current users of marijuana, and 40% more likely to have tried cigarettes than kids who texted less or, as was true for 22% of students, not at all.
They were also 42% more likely to report feeling depressive sadness, 55% more likely to have been in a physical fight during the past year, 3.4-fold more likely to have ever had sex, and 88% more likely to have had four or more sexual partners. In addition, they were 39% more likely to report skipping class, 63% more likely to average less than 7 hours of sleep, 60% more likely to get poor grades, 39% more likely to watch television for 3 hours or more daily, and 67% more likely to have been a victim of cyberbullying.
They were also 2.7-fold more likely to rarely or never wear a bike helmet and 39% more likely to rarely or never wear a seat belt, reported Dr. Frank of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland.
The relative risks were adjusted for age, sex, race, parental education, and household structure. This was necessary because hypertexters were more likely to be minority females of low socioeconomic status with no father in the home.
Hypernetworking was defined as spending an average of more than 3 hours per school day on Facebook or other social networking Web sites. This threshold was met by 11.5% of students; another 22% reported having no involvement at all with such Web sites. Hypernetworkers were an adjusted 79% more likely to have tried alcohol, 69% more likely to be current binge drinkers, and 32% more likely to be current users of marijuana. They were also twice as likely to have had sex before age 13, and 60% more likely to have had four or more sexual partners.
Like the hypertexters, the hypernetworkers were more likely to get poor grades, watch a lot of television, get too little sleep, have been in a physical fight during the past 12 months, and experience cyberbullying. They were also 2.5 times more likely to report rarely or never using a bike helmet or seat belt.
Dr. Scott Frank
A particularly notable finding was the overall poor emotional health of the hypernetworkers, Dr. Frank continued. They were 2.5 times more likely to indicate they had made a suicide attempt, 92% more likely to report feeling depressive sadness, 2.5-fold more likely to have engaged in deliberate self-harm without suicidal intent, 2.2-fold more likely to report feeling a high level of stress, and 3.4-fold more likely to characterize themselves as having an eating disorder.
The highest levels of health risk behaviors were reported by the 3.8% of teens who were both hypertexters and hypernetworkers, according to Dr. Frank.
He noted that a recent national study by the Kaiser Family Foundation concluded that 69% of 11- to -14-year olds and 85% of 15- to 18-year-olds owned a cell phone in 2009. Nearly half of students in grades 7-12 reported texting daily, averaging 57 texts and devoting 1 hour and 35 minutes per day to the activity. Of the texters, 84% indicated their parents had no rules regarding text messaging.
The lack of parental oversight regarding this explosively popular activity is a key point, in Dr. Frank�s view. It�s not that hypertexting directly leads to sex, drugs, and vehicular recklessness; rather, it�s that hypertexting bespeaks a lack of parental control having broad ramifications.
“This study should be a wake-up call for parents to not only help their children stay safe by not texting and driving, but [also] by discouraging excessive use of the cell phone or social Web sites in general,” he concluded.
His study was funded by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and other governmental agencies. Dr. Frank reported having no relevant financial conflicts of interest.
Why a Sweet Teen might one day end up with a Broken Heart
Last month researchers from Emory published their findings about adolescents in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. On average more than 21% of teens’s calories came from added sugar. Furthermore, the teens with the highest amounts of added sugar in their diets, tended to have lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and highter LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Both low HDL and high LDL have been associated with cardiovascular disease. Here’s a summary of the article in Circulation.
Not Even Kids on Sports Teams Get Enough Exercise: Study
By Katherine Hobson
If you’re the parent of a kid who plays on a sports team, you probably think he or she gets the 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous activity recommended by the government and other groups.
A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine questions that assumption, finding that just 24% of the 7-to-14-year-old soccer, softball and baseball players studied — who wore accelerometers to capture their movements — got in their 60 minutes during practice. The average was 45 minutes, not so far off the mark. But the study also found that less than half of the practice time was actually taken up by exercise.
The disparities seen in the study, which included 200 kids, are interesting. Older kids (those aged 11-14) got an average of 7 fewer minutes of exercise per practice than 7-to-10-year-olds. “With older kids, the competition is heavier so they’re probably doing more skill drills and strategy,” speculates James Sallis, lead author of the study, psychology professor at San Diego State University and director of the school’s Active Living Research program. Younger kids are also more likely to run around rather than stand quietly taking instruction, he says.
There were also big variations by sport, with soccer practice providing an average of 17 more minutes of exercise than baseball or softball practice. Fewer than 2% of the girls who played softball met the 60-minute recommendation. And girls in all sports exercised for 11 minutes fewer than boys. Sallis guesses that again, girls are doing more skill-oriented drills than the boys.
The study authors say that the health effects of youth sports could be boosted by encouraging more physical activity during practice and emphasizing participation rather than competition, among other things. Sallis also says that parents looking to get their kids off the couch should “consider multiple options” beyond traditional sports teams, including fitness and dance classes. And research suggests that younger kids, he says, benefit from just running amok on the playground.
We don’t know about you, but this video for NFL Play 60, a program promoting daily physical activity for kids, makes us want to run amok on the playground too:
Not Even Kids on Sports Teams Get Enough Exercise: Study
A recent study showed that even kids on sports teams aren’t getting that much exercise. Here’s a video created to help promote daily physical activity for kids. I’ll try and post a link to the article as well.