Tag Archives: Children and Families

University of Buffalo at State University of New York study: What baby eats depends on Mom’s social class

9 Nov

Patti Neighmond reported in the NPR story, It Takes More Than A Produce Aisle To Refresh A Food Desert:

“The next part of the intervention is to create demand,” he says, “so the community wants to come to the store and buy healthy fruits and vegetables and go home and prepare those foods in a healthy way, without lots of fat, salt or sugar.”
Ortega directs a UCLA project that converts corner stores into hubs of healthy fare in low-income neighborhoods of East Los Angeles. He and colleagues work with community leaders and local high school students to help create that demand for nutritious food. Posters and signs promoting fresh fruits and vegetables hang in corner stores, such as the Euclid Market in Boyle Heights, and at bus stops. There are nutrition education classes in local schools, and cooking classes in the stores themselves….
The jury’s still out on whether these conversions of corner stores are actually changing people’s diets and health. The evidence is still being collected.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/10/273046077/takes-more-than-a-produce-aisle-to-refresh-a-food-desert

In other words, much of the obesity problem is due to personal life style choices and the question is whether government can or should regulate those choices. The issue is helping folk to want to make healthier food choices even on a food stamp budget. See, Cheap Eats: Cookbook Shows How To Eat Well On A Food Stamp Budget http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/08/01/337141837/cheap-eats-cookbook-shows-how-to-eat-well-on-a-food-stamp-budget    A University of Buffalo study reports that what a baby eats depends on the social class of the mother.

Roberto A. Ferdman of the Washington Post wrote in the article, The stark difference between what poor babies and rich babies eat:

The difference between what the rich and poor eat in America begins long before a baby can walk, or even crawl.
A team of researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences found considerable differences in the solid foods babies from different socioeconomic classes were being fed. Specifically, diets high in sugar and fat were found to be associated with less educated mothers and poorer households, while diets that more closely followed infant feeding guidelines were linked to higher education and bigger bank accounts.
“We found that differences in dietary habits start very early,” said Xiaozhong Wen, the study’s lead author.
The researchers used data from the Infant Feeding Practices study, an in depth look at baby eating habits, which tracked the diets of more than 1,500 infants up until age one, and documented which of 18 different food types—including breast milk, formula, cow’s milk, other milk (like soy milk), other dairy foods (like yogurt), other soy foods (like tofu), 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice, and sweet drinks, among others – their mothers fed them. Wen’s team at the University at Buffalo focused on what the infants ate over the course of a week at both 6- and 12-months old.
In many cases, infants were fed foods that would surprise even the least stringent of mothers. Candy, ice cream, soda, and french fries, for instance, were among the foods some of the babies were being fed. Researchers divided the 18 different food types into four distinct categories, two of which were ideal for infant consumption—”formula” and “infant guideline solids”—two of which were not—”high/sugar/fat/protein” and “high/regular cereal.” It became clear which babies tended to be fed appropriately, and which did not….

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/04/the-stark-difference-between-what-poor-babies-and-rich-babies-eat/

Citation:

What do American babies eat? A lot depends on Mom’s socioeconomic background
Date: October 30, 2014

Source: University at Buffalo
Summary:
Dietary patterns of babies vary according to the racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds of their mothers, pediatrics researchers have found. For example, babies whose diet included more breastfeeding and solid foods that adhere to infant guidelines from international and pediatric organizations were associated with higher household income — generally above $60,000 per year — and mothers with higher educational levels ranging from some college to post-graduate education. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141030133532.htm
Sociodemographic Differences and Infant Dietary Patterns
1. Xiaozhong Wen, MD, PhDa,
2. Kai Ling Kong, PhDa,
3. Rina Das Eiden, PhDb,
4. Neha Navneet Sharmac, and
5. Chuanbo Xie, MD, PhDa
+ Author Affiliations
1. aDivision of Behavioral Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences,
2. bResearch Institute on Addictions, and
3. cDepartment of Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: To identify dietary patterns in US infants at age 6 and 12 months, sociodemographic differences in these patterns, and their associations with infant growth from age 6 to 12 months.
METHODS: We analyzed a subsample (760 boys and 795 girls) of the Infant Feeding Practices Study II (2005–2007). Mothers reported their infants’ intakes of 18 types of foods in the past 7 days, which were used to derive dietary patterns at ages 6 and 12 months by principal component analysis.
RESULTS: Similar dietary patterns were identified at ages 6 and 12 months. At 12 months, infants of mothers who had low education or non-Hispanic African American mothers (vs non-Hispanic white) had a higher score on “High sugar/fat/protein” dietary pattern. Both “High sugar/fat/protein” and “High dairy/regular cereal” patterns at 6 months were associated with a smaller increase in length-for-age z score (adjusted β per 1 unit dietary pattern score, −1.36 [95% confidence interval (CI), −2.35 to −0.37] and −0.30 [−0.54 to −0.06], respectively), while with greater increase in BMI z score (1.00 [0.11 to 1.89] and 0.32 [0.10 to 0.53], respectively) from age 6 to 12 months. The “Formula” pattern was associated with greater increase in BMI z score (0.25 [0.09 to 0.40]). The “Infant guideline solids” pattern (vegetables, fruits, baby cereal, and meat) was not associated with change in length-for-age or BMI z score.
CONCLUSIONS: Distinct dietary patterns exist among US infants, vary by maternal race/ethnicity and education, and have differential influences on infant growth. Use of “Infant guideline solids” with prolonged breastfeeding is a promising healthy diet for infants after age 6 months.
Key Words:
• infant
• dietary patterns
• feeding
• nutrition
• growth
• epidemiology
• Accepted August 11, 2014.
• Copyright © 2014 by the American Academy of Pediatrics

Here is the press release:

What do American babies eat? A lot depends on Mom’s socioeconomic background, UB study finds
Dietary patterns start developing as early as 6 and 12 months of age
By Ellen Goldbaum
Release Date: October 30, 2014
BUFFALO, N.Y. – You have to be at least 2 years old to be covered by U.S. dietary guidelines. For younger babies, no official U.S. guidance exists other than the general recommendation by national and international organizations that mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least the first six months.
So what do American babies eat?
That’s the question that motivated researchers at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to study the eating patterns of American infants at 6 months and 12 months old, critical ages for the development of lifelong preferences.
The team found that dietary patterns of the children varied according to the racial, ethnic and educational backgrounds of their mothers.
For example, babies whose diet included more breastfeeding and solid foods that adhere to infant guidelines from international and pediatric organizations were associated with higher household income – generally above $60,000 per year – and mothers with higher educational levels ranging from some college to post-graduate education.
The study, “Sociodemographic differences and infant dietary patterns,” was published this month in Pediatrics.
“We found that differences in dietary habits start very early,” says Xiaozhong (pronounced Shao-zong) Wen, MBBS, PhD, assistant professor in the UB Department of Pediatrics and lead author on the paper.
Studying the first solid foods that babies eat can provide insight into whether or not they will develop obesity later on, he explains.
“Dietary patterns are harder to change later if you ignore the first year, a critical period for the development of taste preferences and the establishment of eating habits,” he says.
Wen conducts research in the UB Department of Pediatrics’ Behavioral Medicine division, studying how and why obesity develops in infants and young children.
In the study, babies whose dietary pattern was high in sugar, fat and protein or high in dairy foods and regular cereals were associated with mothers whose highest education level was some or all of high school, who had low household income — generally under $25,000/year — and who were non-Hispanic African-Americans.
Both the higher sugar/fat/protein pattern and the higher dairy pattern resulted in faster gain in body mass index scores from ages 6 to 12 months for the babies.
Babies who consumed larger amounts of formula, indicating little or no breastfeeding, were associated with being born through emergency caesarean section and enrollment in the Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women and Infant Children (WIC). Wen notes that one possible reason for high formula consumption in this group is that WIC provides financial assistance for formula purchases.
Some of the unhealthy “adult foods” consumed by 6- and 12-month-old babies in the study included items inappropriate for infants, such as candy, ice cream, sweet drinks and French fries.
“There is substantial research to suggest that if you consistently offer foods with a particular taste to infants, they will show a preference for these foods later in life,” Wen explains. “So if you tend to offer healthy foods, even those with a somewhat bitter taste to infants, such as pureed vegetables, they will develop a liking for them. But if you always offer sweet or fatty foods, infants will develop a stronger preference for them or even an addiction to them.
“This is both an opportunity and a challenge,” says Wen. “We have an opportunity to start making dietary changes at the very beginning of life.”
The researchers also found that babies whose diets consisted mainly of high fat/sugar/protein foods were associated with slower gain in length-for-age scores from 6 to 12 months.
“We’re not sure why this happens,” explains Wen, “but it’s possible that because some of these foods that are high in sugar, fat or protein are so palatable they end up dominating the baby’s diet, replacing more nutritious foods that could be higher in calcium and iron, therefore inhibiting the baby’s bone growth.”
The UB researchers based their analysis on a subsample covering more than 1,500 infants, nearly evenly split between genders, from the Infant Feeding Practices Study II conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2005 to 2007. In that study, mothers reported which of 18 different food types their 6- and 12-month old babies ate in a week; those data then were used to develop infant dietary patterns.
Co-authors with Wen are Kai Ling Kong, PhD and Chuanbo Xie, MD, PhD, of the Department of Pediatrics; Rina Das Eiden, PhD of UB’s Research Institute on Addictions and Neha Navneet Sharma of the Department of Psychology in the UB College of Arts and Sciences.
The project was funded by a seed grant from the UB Department of Pediatrics.

Media Contact Information
Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum

http://www.buffalo.edu/news/releases/2014/10/061.html

For a really good discussion of the effects of poverty on children, read the American Psychological Association (APA), Effects of Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness on Children and Youth:

What are the effects of child poverty?
• Psychological research has demonstrated that living in poverty has a wide range of negative effects on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s children.
• Poverty impacts children within their various contexts at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities.
• Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and underresourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
• Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.
• These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care.
• Economists estimate that child poverty costs the U.S. $500 billion a year in lost productivity in the work force and spending on health care and the criminal justice system.
Poverty and academic achievement
• Poverty has a particularly adverse effect on the academic outcomes of children, especially during early childhood.
• Chronic stress associated with living in poverty has been shown to adversely affect children’s concentration and memory which may impact their ability to learn.
• School drop out rates are significantly higher for teens residing in poorer communities. In 2007, the dropout rate of students living in low-income families was about 10 times greater than the rate of their peers from high-income families (8.8% vs. 0.9%).
• The academic achievement gap for poorer youth is particularly pronounced for low-income African American and Hispanic children compared with their more affluent White peers.
• Underresourced schools in poorer communities struggle to meet the learning needs of their students and aid them in fulfilling their potential.
• Inadequate education contributes to the cycle of poverty by making it more difficult for low-income children to lift themselves and future generations out of poverty. http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx

Moi blogs about education issues so the reader could be perplexed sometimes because moi often writes about other things like nutrition, families, and personal responsibility issues. Why? The reader might ask? Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of society’s problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

Related:

Dr. Wilda Reviews Book: ‘Super Baby Food’

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/dr-wilda-reviews-book-super-baby-food/

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Northwestern University study: Heavier babies do better in school

27 Oct

The Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services explains why healthy babies are important. “Healthy babies are more likely to develop into healthy children, and healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy teenagers and healthy adults.” http://www.children.gov.on.ca/htdocs/English/topics/earlychildhood/health/index.aspx

The New York Times reported in the article, Heavier Babies Do Better in School:
A study of children in Florida found that those who were heavier at birth scored higher on math and reading tests in the third to eighth grades.
Like so many other parts of health care, childbirth has become a more medically intense experience over the last two decades. The use of drugs to induce labor has become far more common, as have cesarean sections. Today, about half of all births in this country are hastened either by drugs or surgery, double the share in 1990.
Crucial to the change has been a widely held belief that once fetuses pass a certain set of thresholds — often 39 weeks of gestation and five and a half pounds in weight — they’re as healthy as they can get. More time in the womb doesn’t do them much good, according to this thinking. For parents and doctors, meanwhile, scheduling a birth, rather than waiting for its random arrival, is clearly more convenient.
But a huge new set of data, based on every child born in Florida over an 11-year span, is calling into question some of the most basic assumptions of our medicalized approach to childbirth. The results also play into a larger issue: the growing sense among many doctors and other experts that Americans would actually be healthier if our health care system were sometimes less aggressive.
The new data suggest that the thresholds to maximize a child’s health seem to be higher, which means that many fetuses might benefit by staying longer in the womb, where they typically add at least a quarter-pound per week. Seven-pound babies appear to be healthier than six-pound babies — and to fare better in school as they age. The same goes for eight-pound babies compared with seven-pound babies, and nine-pound babies compared with eight-pound babies. Weight, of course, may partly be an indicator of broader fetal health, but it seems to be a meaningful one: The chunkier the baby, the better it does on average, all the way up to almost 10 pounds.
“Birth weight matters, and it matters for everyone,” says David N. Figlio, a Northwestern University professor and co-author of the study, which will soon be published in the American Economic Review, one of the field’s top journals… http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/upshot/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html?abt=0002&abg=0&_r=0

Citation:

The Effects of Poor Neonatal Health on Children’s Cognitive Development (WP-13-08)
IPR-WP-13-08
David Figlio, Jonathan Guryan, Krzysztof Karbownik, and Jeffrey Roth
This working paper makes use of a new data resource—merged birth and school records for all children born in Florida from 1992 to 2002—to study the effects of birth weight on cognitive development from kindergarten through schooling. Using twin fixed effects models, the researchers find that the effects of birth weight on cognitive development are essentially constant through the school career, that these effects are very similar across a wide range of family backgrounds, and that they are invariant to measures of school quality. They conclude that the effects of poor neonatal health on adult outcomes are therefore set very early.
David Figlio, Orrington Lunt Professor of Education and Social Policy and of Economics, and Director and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jonathan Guryan, Associate Professor of Human Development and Social Policy, and Faculty Fellow, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Krzysztof Karbownik, Visiting Scholar, Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University
Jeffrey Roth, Research Professor of Pediatrics, College of Medicine, University of Florida
Download working paper PDF http://www.ipr.northwestern.edu/publications/docs/workingpapers/2013/IPR-WP-13-08.pdf

Other articles have questioned whether heavier babies are healthier:

Bigger Baby Trend Worries Doctors As Health Concerns Mount Over Supersized Deliveries http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/19/bigger-baby-trend_n_3780699.html

Everyday Research blog analyzes the study in Heavier babies do better in school:
Questions
a) How do we know this is a correlational study? What are its variables?
b) Here’s a quote from the article:
Mr. Figlio estimates that, all else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby. Another way to see the pattern is to look only at top-scoring students: Among the top 5 percent of test scorers in elementary school, one in three weighed at least eight pounds at birth, compared with only one in four of all babies.
Does this quote address statistical validity? Construct validity? External validity? or Internal validity?
c) Here’s a great addition. Underneath the main figure in the article, are tables of results for education, race, and age. The caption reads:
The effect of being heavier is similar across many different types of mothers.
Is this caption addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?
d) Here’s another quote from the piece:
Florida offers a window on the issue because the state tracks children from birth through college…. The authors of the new study….used the data to compare birth weight with test scores from third through eighth grades, as well as with kindergarten readiness scores. They controlled for, among other factors, the health and sex of the baby, the length of the pregnancy and the health, age, race and education of the mother
Looking at the last sentence of this quote, is this statement addressing potential moderators? potential mediators? or potential third variable problems?

http://www.everydayresearchmethods.com/2014/10/heavier-babies-do-better-in-school.html

The question many parents ask is what is a healthy weight range.

The What to Expect article, Your Newborn’s Weight: What’s Normal, What’s Not discusses healthy weight:

So just what is average for a newborn? At birth, the average baby weighs about 7.5 pounds — though the range of normal is between 5.5 and ten pounds (all but five percent of newborns will fall into this range).
What makes your baby weigh more or less than the newborn in the next bassinet? Several factors come into play:
• Your own diet and weight, both before and during pregnancy (If you’re overweight, you may have a heavier baby. If you don’t get enough nutrients while you’re pregnant, your baby may be smaller.)
• Your prenatal health, including whether you drink, smoke, or have diabetes
• Your own birth weight, plus genetics (your size at birth, plus your and your hubby’s size now, can both play a role)
• Whether your baby is a boy or a girl (boys tend to be heavier)
• Whether this is your firstborn (they tend to be smaller than subsequent children)
• Whether your baby is a twin or triplet (multiples tend to be smaller than singletons)
• Your baby’s race (Caucasian babies are sometimes larger than African-American, Asian, or Native American infants)… http://www.whattoexpect.com/baby-growth/newborn-weight.aspx

The key is regular prenatal care.

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reports in What is prenatal care and why is it important?

Prenatal Care
Women who suspect they may be pregnant should schedule a visit to their health care provider to begin prenatal care. Prenatal visits to a health care provider include a physical exam, weight checks, and providing a urine sample. Depending on the stage of the pregnancy, health care providers may also do blood tests and imaging tests, such as ultrasound exams. These visits also include discussions about the mother’s health, the infant’s health, and any questions about the pregnancy.
Preconception and prenatal care can help prevent complications and inform women about important steps they can take to protect their infant and ensure a healthy pregnancy. With regular prenatal care women can:
• Reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. Following a healthy, safe diet; getting regular exercise as advised by a health care provider; and avoiding exposure to potentially harmful substances such as lead and radiation can help reduce the risk for problems during pregnancy and ensure the infant’s health and development. Controlling existing conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, is important to avoid serious complications in pregnancy such as preeclampsia.
• Reduce the infant’s risk for complications. Tobacco smoke and alcohol use during pregnancy have been shown to increase the risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use also increases the risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, which can cause a variety of problems such as abnormal facial features, having a small head, poor coordination, poor memory, intellectual disability, and problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones.2 According to one recent study supported by the NIH, these and other long-term problems can occur even with low levels of prenatal alcohol exposure.3

In addition, taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily reduces the risk for neural tube defects by 70%.4 Most prenatal vitamins contain the recommended 400 micrograms of folic acid as well as other vitamins that pregnant women and their developing fetus need.1,5 Folic acid has been added to foods like cereals, breads, pasta, and other grain-based foods. Although a related form (called folate) is present in orange juice and leafy, green vegetables (such as kale and spinach), folate is not absorbed as well as folic acid.
• Help ensure the medications women take are safe. Certain medications, including some acne treatments6 and dietary and herbal supplements,7 are not safe to take during pregnancy.
Learn more about prenatal and preconception care. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/preconceptioncare/Pages/default.aspx

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/prenatal-care.aspx

See, Prenatal care fact sheet http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/prenatal-care.html

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood. ©

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Yale, New York University and University of Wisconsin Madison study: More ADHD medication given during school term to lower status children

16 Oct

Carolyne Gregoire reported in the Huffington Post article, American Teens Are Even More Stressed Than Adults:

Last year, the American Psychological Association’s Stress in America survey found that Millennials, aged 18-33, were the country’s most-stressed generation. Now, the title belongs to an even younger demographic: American teenagers.
Even before the pressures of work and adulthood set in, for most young Americans, stress has already become a fact of daily life. And this sets the stage early for unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices that may increase the risk of developing stress-related health problems down the road.
American teenagers are now the most stressed-out age group in the U.S., according to APA’s 2013 Stress In America survey. While adults rate their stress at a 5.1 on a 10-point scale, teens rate their stress levels at 5.8…… http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/11/american-teens-are-even-m_n_4768204.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

Quite often stress and depression in children is treated with medication.

Science Tech Daily reported in the article, Study Finds Stimulant Use Increases by 30% During the School Year:

New research from Yale, NYU and the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that students are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer.
The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children use stimulants only during the school year and take a “drug holiday” in the summer, the authors conclude that these children are using stimulants to manage their schools’ academic demands.
Stimulant medications, which improve concentration and help manage other symptoms associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are the most widely used class of medications among adolescents. Childrens’ use of these medications in the United States has increased dramatically in the last two decades, from approximately 2.4% of children in 1996 to 6% of children at present…. http://scitechdaily.com/study-finds-stimulant-use-increases-30-school-year/

Citation:

Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure
Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status
1. Marissa D. Kinga
2. Jennifer Jenningsb
3. Jason M. Fletcherc
1. aYale School of Management
2. bNew York University
3. cUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
1. Marissa King, Yale School of Management, 165 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511 E-mail: marissa.king@yale.edu
Abstract
Despite the rise of medical interventions to address behavioral issues in childhood, the social determinants of their use remain poorly understood. By analyzing a dataset that includes the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States, we find a substantial effect of schooling on stimulant use. In middle and high school, adolescents are roughly 30 percent more likely to have a stimulant prescription filled during the school year than during the summer. Socioeconomically advantaged children are more likely than their less advantaged peers to selectively use stimulants only during the academic year. These differences persist when we compare higher and lower socioeconomic status children seeing the same doctors. We link these responses to academic pressure by exploiting variation between states in educational accountability system stringency. We find the largest differences in school year versus summer stimulant use in states with more accountability pressure. School-based selective stimulant use is most common among economically advantaged children living in states with strict accountability policies. Our study uncovers a new pathway through which medical interventions may act as a resource for higher socioeconomic status families to transmit educational advantages to their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.

Here is the synopsis from Yale Insights:

Medicate to Educate: Study Finds Stimulant Use Increases by 30% During the School Year
Marissa D. King — October 2014
Children are 30% more likely to take a stimulant medication during the school year than they are to take one during the summer, according to a new study published in the American Sociological Review. The authors found that school-year increases in stimulant use are largest for children from socioeconomically advantaged families. Because many children use stimulants only during the school year and take a “drug holiday” in the summer, the authors conclude that these children are using stimulants to manage their schools’ academic demands.
Stimulant medications, which improve concentration and help manage other symptoms associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), are the most widely used class of medications among adolescents. Childrens’ use of these medications in the United States has increased dramatically in the last two decades, from approximately 2.4% of children in 1996 to 6% of children at present.
Larger school-year increases in stimulant use were found in states with higher levels of accountability pressure, suggesting that education policies impact stimulant use. Children from families who are not poor and live in states with more strict standardized-testing and school-accountability environments are much more likely to use stimulants only during the school year compared to their less economically advantaged peers in states with less stringent accountability environments.
“Many parents are faced with a tough decision: Do they medicate their kids to help them manage in an increasingly demanding school environment?” said Marissa King, assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management and lead author of the study. “Rather than trying to make kids conform to the school system by taking stimulants, we need to take a closer look at what is happening in schools.”
To examine the effect of schooling on stimulant use, King and her colleagues analyzed a data set including the majority of prescriptions written for stimulants in the United States during the 2007-2008 academic year. They linked the patterns of stimulant use during the school year to academic pressure by analyzing state rankings of school-accountability policies published by Education Week. Differences in school year and summer use could not be explained by avoidance of medication side effects, medication cost, or type of ADHD.
The researchers also examined the influence of doctors on school-based stimulant use to determine whether the socioeconomic differences they observe occur because more- and less-advantaged children see different doctors. Even when children from more- and less-advantaged backgrounds were treated by the same doctor, children from more-advantaged backgrounds were more likely to use stimulants only during the school year. This suggests that socioeconomic differences in school-based stimulant use are driven by parents, not doctors. “Socioeconomically advantaged families are more likely to trust their own judgment about medication decisions rather than defer to their doctors,” said King.
The researchers say that the study suggests that medical interventions like stimulant use may be a new pathway through which more advantaged parents translate their economic advantages into educational advantages for their children, either intentionally or unwittingly.
“Medical Adaptation to Academic Pressure: Schooling, Stimulant Use, and Socioeconomic Status,” by Marissa King (Yale School of Management), Jennifer Jennings (New York University), and Jason Fletcher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), is published in the American Sociological Review.
http://insights.som.yale.edu/insights/medicate-educate-study-finds-stimulant-use-increases-30-during-school-year

Paul Tough wrote a very thoughtful New York Times piece about the importance of failure in developing character, not characters.
In What If the Secret to Success Is Failure? Tough writes:
Dominic Randolph can seem a little out of place at Riverdale Country School — which is odd, because he’s the headmaster. Riverdale is one of New York City’s most prestigious private schools, with a 104-year-old campus that looks down grandly on Van Cortlandt Park from the top of a steep hill in the richest part of the Bronx. On the discussion boards of UrbanBaby.com, worked-up moms from the Upper East Side argue over whether Riverdale sends enough seniors to Harvard, Yale and Princeton to be considered truly “TT” (top-tier, in UrbanBabyese), or whether it is more accurately labeled “2T” (second-tier), but it is, certainly, part of the city’s private-school elite, a place members of the establishment send their kids to learn to be members of the establishment. Tuition starts at $38,500 a year, and that’s for prekindergarten.
Randolph, by contrast, comes across as an iconoclast, a disrupter, even a bit of an eccentric. He dresses for work every day in a black suit with a narrow tie, and the outfit, plus his cool demeanor and sweep of graying hair, makes you wonder, when you first meet him, if he might have played sax in a ska band in the ’80s. (The English accent helps.) He is a big thinker, always chasing new ideas, and a conversation with him can feel like a one-man TED conference, dotted with references to the latest work by behavioral psychologists and management gurus and design theorists. When he became headmaster in 2007, he swapped offices with his secretary, giving her the reclusive inner sanctum where previous headmasters sat and remodeling the small outer reception area into his own open-concept work space, its walls covered with whiteboard paint on which he sketches ideas and slogans. One day when I visited, one wall was bare except for a white sheet of paper. On it was printed a single black question mark.
For the headmaster of an intensely competitive school, Randolph, who is 49, is surprisingly skeptical about many of the basic elements of a contemporary high-stakes American education. He did away with Advanced Placement classes in the high school soon after he arrived at Riverdale; he encourages his teachers to limit the homework they assign; and he says that the standardized tests that Riverdale and other private schools require for admission to kindergarten and to middle school are “a patently unfair system” because they evaluate students almost entirely by I.Q. “This push on tests,” he told me, “is missing out on some serious parts of what it means to be a successful human.”
The most critical missing piece, Randolph explained as we sat in his office last fall, is character — those essential traits of mind and habit that were drilled into him at boarding school in England and that also have deep roots in American history. “Whether it’s the pioneer in the Conestoga wagon or someone coming here in the 1920s from southern Italy, there was this idea in America that if you worked hard and you showed real grit, that you could be successful,” he said. “Strangely, we’ve now forgotten that. People who have an easy time of things, who get 800s on their SAT’s, I worry that those people get feedback that everything they’re doing is great. And I think as a result, we are actually setting them up for long-term failure. When that person suddenly has to face up to a difficult moment, then I think they’re screwed, to be honest. I don’t think they’ve grown the capacities to be able to handle that….” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/magazine/what-if-the-secret-to-success-is-failure.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
Because of high stakes testing, it appears that poorer children are being given medication because of educational policy issues like having a school or district appear to succeed in a testing environment, rather than the particular need of the child.

Related:

Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/schools-have-to-deal-with-depressed-and-troubled-children/

School psychologists are needed to treat troubled children http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/school-psychologists-are-needed-to-treat-troubled-children/

Battling teen addiction: ‘Recovery high schools http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/battling-teen-addiction-recovery-high-schools/

Resources:
Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://psychcentral.com/news/2010/05/20/depression-in-young-children/13970.html

WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children

Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed? http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

Medicine.Net’s Depression In Children http://www.medicinenet.com/depression_in_children/article.htm

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

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Brown University study: Sexually active girls more likely to be bullied

28 Sep

Moi wrote in Sexualization of girls: A generation looking much too old for their maturity level:
Just ride the bus, go to the mall or just walk down a city street and one will encounter young girls who look like they are ten going on thirty. What’s going on with that? Moi wrote about the sexualization of girls in Study: Girls as young as six think of themselves as sex objects:
In Children too sexy for their years, moi said:
Maybe, because some parents may not know what is age appropriate for their attire, they haven’t got a clue about what is appropriate for children. There is nothing sadder than a 40 something, 50 something trying to look like they are twenty. What wasn’t sagging when you are 20, is more than likely than not, sagging now.

Kristen Russell Dobson, the managing editor of Parent Map, has a great article in Parent Map. In Are Girls Acting Sexing Too Young?

http://www.parentmap.com/article/are-girls-acting-sexy-too-young

The culture seems to be sexualizing children at an ever younger age and it becomes more difficult for parents and guardians to allow children to just remain, well children, for a bit longer. Still, parents and guardians must do their part to make sure children are in safe and secure environments. A pole dancing fourth grader is simply unacceptable.

Moi loves fashion and adores seeing adult looks on adults. Many 20 and 30 somethings prefer what I would charitably call the “slut chic” look. This look is questionable fashion taste, in my opinion, but at least the look involves questionable taste on the part of adults as to how they present themselves to the public. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/children-too-sexy-for-their-years/ http://drwilda.com/tag/study-girls-as-young-as-6-are-thinking-of-selves-as-sex-objects/

Alexandra Svokos reported in the Huffington Post article, Sexually Active Teen Girls More Likely To Be Bullied Than Similar Boys, Study Finds:

Using data from a 2011 national survey of over 13,000 high school students, Brown researchers found that sexually active high school girls report being bullied 2.27 times more often than their male counterparts.
In addition, both girls and boys were more likely to report bullying if they also reported being sexually active without using condoms or other contraceptives. (Overall, 64 percent of sexually active students said they used a condom during their last engagement in intercourse.) The report suggested that while “engaging in sexual behaviors may be associated with greater levels of popularity” in some cases, that doesn’t happen when their peers think the teens behave sexually in ways that are “risky or dangerous to one’s health….” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/26/sexual-activity-bullying-study_n_5877168.html?utm_hp_ref=education&ir=Education

Here is a portion of Kate Talerico’s Brown Daily Herald article, Sex, bullying linked in girls, study suggests:

The sexual double standard — the concept that women are more highly criticized for sexual activity than men are — may play a role in bullying victimization among high school girls, according to a new study led by a team of University researchers.
“Sexually active girls have 2.27 times the odds of being bullied compared to boys who are also sexually active,” said Hailee Dunn, the former manager of the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine and lead author of the study. The study was co-authored by three other Brown researchers and was released in this month’s issue of the journal Women’s Health Issues.
Girls who have engaged in sexual intercourse are almost twice as likely to be bullied, Dunn said. “If you look at boys, it’s not as significant.”
Girls who became sexually active at younger ages were found to be more prone to bullying than those who were not sexually active until they were older.
This same correlation does not exist with boys, “so that may be indicative of some sort of sexual double standard,” Dunn said.
In regard to use of condoms and other forms of contraception, there are no significant gender differences, according to the study.
From this finding, the researchers “interpreted that maybe our health education programs are working,” Dunn said. “There is this sort of stigma if you’re not using a form of protection that applies to both boys and girls.” Both boys and girls who had not used condoms reported higher rates of bullying than those who had.
The study analyzed the results of 13,065 high school boys and girls who took the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in 2011, Dunn said….http://www.browndailyherald.com/2014/09/22/sex-bullying-linked-girls-study-suggests/

Citation:

Association between Sexual Behaviors, Bullying Victimization and Suicidal Ideation in a National Sample of High School Students: Implications of a Sexual Double Standard
Hailee K. Dunn, MPH
,
Annie Gjelsvik, PhD
,
Deborah N. Pearlman, PhD
,
Melissa A. Clark, PhD
Received: November 5, 2013; Received in revised form: April 24, 2014; Accepted: June 19, 2014;
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2014.06.008
Abstract
Purpose
The sexual double standard is the notion that women are more harshly judged for their sexual behaviors than men. The purpose of this study was to investigate if the sexual double standard could explain gender differences in bullying victimization among adolescents and the extent to which that relationship correlated with depression and suicidal ideation.
Methods
Analyses were conducted using a sample of high school students (n = 13,065) from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a cross-sectional and national school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Data were assessed using multiple logistic regression, gender-stratified analyses, and interaction terms.
Findings
Students who engaged in sexual intercourse (sexually active) had higher odds of being bullied. When this association was stratified by gender, odds of being bullying increased for girls (odds ratio [OR], 1.83; 95% CI, 1.58–2.13) and decreased for boys (OR, 0.94; 95% CI, 0.77–1.16). Sexually active students who were bullied also displayed more than five times (OR, 5.65; 95% CI, 4.71–6.78) the adjusted odds of depression and three times (adjusted OR, 3.38; 95% CI, 2.65–4.32) the adjusted odds of suicidal ideation compared with students who reported neither of those behavioral characteristics. When stratified by gender, girls had slightly higher odds of depression and suicidal ideation but overall, the odds remained strong for both genders.
Conclusions
Results provide some evidence that a sexual double standard exists and may play a prominent role in bullying victimization among girls. Therefore, addressing the sexual double may be important to consider when tailoring school bullying intervention programs.

Moi supposes there are a group of parents who don’t want conflict and give in because “everyone else is doing it.” Remember the everyone else is often the lowest common denominator. Some parents feel they must be their child’s BFF. Wrong. You are supposed to be the parent. Some one has to be in charge. Russell provide some excellent resources for managing the media. Find resources for managing media https://www.parentmap.com/article/resources-for-managing-kids-media

Dr. Wilda has been just saying for quite a while.

Resources

Popwatch’s Miley Cyrus Pole Dance Video http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/08/10/miley-cyrus-pole-dancing-at-the-teen-choice-awards-rather-unfortunate-yes/

Baby Center Blog Comments About Miley Cyrus Pole Dance http://blogs.babycenter.com/celebrities/billy-ray-cyrus-defends-mileys-artistic-pole-dancing/

The Sexualization of Children http://www.tellinitlikeitis.net/2009/03/the-sexualization-of-children-and-adolescents-epidemic.html

Related:

Let’s speak the truth: Values and character training are needed in schools http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/lets-speak-the-truth-values-and-character-training-are-needed-in-schools/

Do ‘grown-ups’ have to be reminded to keep their clothes on in public? Apparently so http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/02/09/do-grown-ups-have-to-be-reminded-to-keep-their-clothes-on-in-public-apparently-so/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

http://drwilda.com/

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Attendance Works report: School absence sets students back

2 Sep

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process. Too many parents are not prepared to help their child have a successful education experience. Julia Steiny has an excellent article at Education News, Julia Steiny: Chronic Absenteeism Reveals and Causes Problems. http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/julia-steiny-chronic-absenteeism-reveals-and-causes-problems/

Joy Resmovits reported in the Huffington Post article, School Absence Can Set Students Back Between 1 And 2 Years: Report:

As the debate rages about the best way to fix America’s public schools — from heated rhetoric on the role of standardized testing to wonkier discussions about the intricacies of curricula — a new report is arguing that reformers have overlooked a game-changing solution: addressing absenteeism.
While it may seem obvious that students who miss more school would not perform as well as other students, a new report released Tuesday shows just how much of a difference attendance can make. According to the report, written by nonprofit advocacy group Attendance Works, about 1 in 5 American students — between 5 million and 7.5 million of them — misses a month of school per year. The report suggests that missing three or more days of school per month can set a student back from one to two full years of learning behind his or her peers.
“All our investment in instruction and Common Core and curriculum development will be lost unless kids are in school to benefit from it,” said Hedy Chang, the group’s director and co-author of the report. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/02/school-absence_n_5739084.html

Here is the summary from Attendance Works:

State-by-State Analysis Shows Impact of Poor Attendance on NAEP Scores
A state-by-state analysis of national testing data demonstrates that students who miss more school than their peers consistently score lower on standardized tests, a result that holds true at every age, in every demographic group and in every state and city tested.
The analysis, Absences Add Up: How School Attendance Influences Student Success, is based on the results of the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and was released today by Attendance Works as the start of Attendance Awareness Month. The unique research shows:
• Poor attendance is a national challenge. About one in five students nationwide reported missing 3 or more days of school during the month before taking the NAEP test; if this persisted throughout the year, those students would miss more than a month of school in excused or unexcused absences.
• Student attendance matters for academic performance. In many cases, the students with more absences displayed skill levels one to two years below their peers.
• Poor attendance contributes to achievement gaps. Students living in poverty and those from communities of color were more likely to miss too much school. That said, poor attendance is associated with weaker test scores in every demographic and socioeconomic group.
“This study gives us a compelling snapshot of how poor attendance links to poor performance,” said Hedy Chang, director of Attendance Works, “Cities and states now need to use their own data to paint a deeper, more complete picture of the magnitude and concentration of chronic absenteeism in their schools. We recommend examining how many students miss 10% or more of the entire school year for any reason.”
NAEP, considered the Nation’s Report Card, is given every two years to a sample of fourth- and eighth-grade students in all 50 states and 21 large cities. In addition to testing math and reading skills, NAEP asks students a series of non-academic questions, including how many days they missed in the month before the exam. The data analysis showed a significant dropoff in scores for students with three or more absences in the prior month. About 20 percent of fourth- and eighth-graders reported missing that much school.
“The NAEP results tell us so much more than simply how students perform on a particular test,” said Alan Ginsburg, the researcher who conducted the analysis of the testing data and co-authored the report. “The attendance question opens a door to why student perform as they do.”
Experts project that 5 million to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school every year, but there is not yet a commonly defined nationwide metric for assessing student-level absenteeism. Schools report school-wide attendance averages and truancy rates for students who miss school without an excuse. But the definition of truancy varies from state to state, and it doesn’t account for excused absences, which also affect student achievement.
“Whether the absences are excused or unexcused, missing too much school can leave third-graders unable to read proficiently, sixth-graders failing classes and ninth-graders headed toward dropping out,” said Chang of Attendance Works. “Our best efforts to improve student achievement and fix failing schools won’t work if the students aren’t coming to class.” http://www.attendanceworks.org/research/absences-add/

Children will have the most success in school if they are ready to learn. Ready to learn includes proper nutrition for a healthy body and the optimum situation for children is a healthy family. Many of societies’ problems would be lessened if the goal was a healthy child in a healthy family.

See:

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/

School Absenteeism, Mental Health Problems Linked http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/12/25/school-absenteeism-mental-health-problems-linked/32937.html

A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early Grades http://www.nccp.org/publications/pub_771.html

Don’t skip: Schools waking up on absenteeism

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44704948/ns/today-education_nation/t/dont-skip-schools-waking-absenteeism/

Resources:

US Department of Education Helping Series which are a number of pamphlets to help parents and caregivers http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html

How Parents Can Help Their Child Prepare for School Assignments http://mathandreadinghelp.org/how_can_parents_help_their_child_prepare_for_school_assignments.html

Getting Young Children Ready to Learn http://www.classbrain.com/artread/publish/article_37.shtml

Related:

We give up as a society: Jailing parents because kids are truant

http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/18/we-give-up-as-a-society-jailing-parents-because-kids-are-truant/

Hard truths: The failure of the family

http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/hard-truths-the-failure-of-the-family/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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University of Texas Center for Brain Health study: The brains of risk-taking teens are different

17 Aug

We live in a society with few personal controls and even fewer people recognize boundaries which should govern their behavior and how they treat others. Many parents want tips about how to talk with their kids about risky behaviors and whether they should spy on their children.
Perhaps the best advice comes from Carleton Kendrick in the Family Education article, Spying on Kids

Staying connected
So how do you make sure your teens are on the straight and narrow? You can’t. And don’t think you can forbid them to experiment with risky behavior. That’s what they’re good at during this stage, along with testing your limits. You can help them stay healthy, safe, and secure by doing the following:
• Keep communicating with your teens, even if they don’t seem to be listening. Talk about topics that interest them.
• Respect and ask their opinions.
• Give them privacy. That doesn’t mean you can’t knock on their door when you want to talk.
• Set limits on their behavior based on your values and principles. They will grudgingly respect you for this.
• Continually tell them and show them you believe in who they are rather than what they accomplish.
• Seek professional help if your teen’s abnormal behaviors last more than three weeks.
A 1997 landmark adolescent health study, which interviewed over 12,000 teenagers, concluded that the single greatest protection against high-risk teenage behavior, like substance abuse and suicide, is a strong emotional connection to a parent. Tough as it may be, you should always try to connect with them. And leave the spying to James Bond. It will only drive away the children you wish to bring closer.

In truth, a close relationship with your child will probably be more effective than spying. Put down that Blackberry, iPhone, and Droid and try connecting with your child. You should not only know who your children’s friends are, but you should know the parents of your children’s friends. Many parents have the house where all the kids hang out because they want to know what is going on with their kids. Often parents volunteer to chauffeur kids because that gives them the opportunity to listen to what kids are talking about. It is important to know the values of the families of your kid’s friends. Do they furnish liquor to underage kids, for example? How do they feel about teen sex and is their house the place where kids meet for sex? Lisa Frederiksen has written the excellent article, 10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex, Drugs & Alcohol http://www.drugfree.org/10-tips-for-talking-to-teens-about-sex-drugs-alcohol/ which was posted at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids http://www.drugfree.org/
According to a Center for Brain Health study, some teens are more prone to risky behavior than others because of differences in their brains.

Science Digest reported in the article, Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens:

According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for adolescents. Compared to the two leading causes of death for all Americans, heart disease and cancer, a pattern of questionable decision-making in dire situations comes to light in teen mortality. New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas investigating brain differences associated with risk-taking teens found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk.
“Our brains have an emotional-regulation network that exists to govern emotions and influence decision-making,” explained the study’s lead author, Sam Dewitt. “Antisocial or risk-seeking behavior may be associated with an imbalance in this network.”
The study, published June 30 in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, looked at 36 adolescents ages 12-17; eighteen risk-taking teens were age- and sex-matched to a group of 18 non-risk-taking teens. Participants were screened for risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and physical violence and underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scans to examine communication between brain regions associated with the emotional-regulation network. Interestingly, the risk-taking group showed significantly lower income compared to the non-risk taking group.
“Most fMRI scans used to be done in conjunction with a particular visual task. In the past several years, however, it has been shown that performing an fMRI scan of the brain during a ‘mind-wandering’ state is just as valuable,”said Sina Aslan, Ph.D., President of Advance MRI and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.”In this case, brain regions associated with emotion and reward centers show increased connection even when they are not explicitly engaged.”
The study, conducted by Francesca Filbey, Ph.D., Director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research of Addictive Behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth and her colleagues, shows that risk-taking teens exhibit hyperconnectivity between the amygdala, a center responsible for emotional reactivity, and specific areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with emotion regulation and critical thinking skills. The researchers also found increased activity between areas of the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens, a center for reward sensitivity that is often implicated in addiction research….
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140815102326.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

Citation:

Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens
Date: August 15, 2014

Source: Center for BrainHealth
Summary:
Brain differences associated with risk-taking teens have been investigated by researchers who found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk. “Our brains have an emotional-regulation network that exists to govern emotions and influence decision-making,” explained the study’s lead author. “Antisocial or risk-seeking behavior may be associated with an imbalance in this network.”
Here is the blog post from the Center for Brain Health:
Study: Brain imaging shows brain differences in risk-taking teens
By: The Center for BrainHealth
Thursday, August 14, 2014
According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for adolescents. Compared to the two leading causes of death for all Americans, heart disease and cancer, a pattern of questionable decision-making in dire situations comes to light in teen mortality. New research from the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas investigating brain differences associated with risk-taking teens found that connections between certain brain regions are amplified in teens more prone to risk.
“Our brains have an emotional-regulation network that exists to govern emotions and influence decision-making,” explained the study’s lead author, Sam Dewitt. “Antisocial or risk-seeking behavior may be associated with an imbalance in this network.”
The study, published June 30 in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, looked at 36 adolescents ages 12-17; eighteen risk-taking teens were age- and sex-matched to a group of 18 non-risk-taking teens. Participants were screened for risk-taking behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, sexual promiscuity, and physical violence and underwent functional MRI (fMRI) scans to examine communication between brain regions associated with the emotional-regulation network. Interestingly, the risk-taking group showed significantly lower income compared to the non-risk taking group.
“Most fMRI scans used to be done in conjunction with a particular visual task. In the past several years, however, it has been shown that performing an fMRI scan of the brain during a ‘mind-wandering’ state is just as valuable,”said Sina Aslan, Ph.D., President of Advance MRI and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas.“In this case, brain regions associated with emotion and reward centers show increased connection even when they are not explicitly engaged.”
The study, conducted by Francesca Filbey, Ph.D., Director of Cognitive Neuroscience Research of Addictive Behaviors at the Center for BrainHealth and her colleagues, shows that risk-taking teens exhibit hyperconnectivity between the amygdala, a center responsible for emotional reactivity, and specific areas of the prefrontal cortex associated with emotion regulation and critical thinking skills. The researchers also found increased activity between areas of the prefrontal cortex and the nucleus accumbens, a center for reward sensitivity that is often implicated in addiction research.
“Our findings are crucial in that they help identify potential brain biomarkers that, when taken into context with behavioral differences, may help identify which adolescents are at risk for dangerous and pathological behaviors in the future,” Dewitt explained.
He also points out that even though the risk-taking group did partake in risky behavior, none met clinical criteria for behavioral or substance use disorders.
By identifying these factors early on, the research team hopes to have a better chance of providing effective cognitive strategies to help risk-seeking adolescents regulate their emotions and avoid risk-taking behavior and substance abuse. http://www.brainhealth.utdallas.edu/blog_page/study-brain-imaging-shows-brain-differences-in-risk-taking-teens

So, in answer to the question should you spy on your Kids? Depends on the child. Some children are more susceptible to peer pressure and impulsive behavior than others. They will require more and possibly more intrusive direction. Others really are free range children and have the resources and judgment to make good decisions in a variety of circumstances. Even within a family there will be different needs and abilities. The difficulty for parents is to make the appropriate judgments and still give each child the feeling that they have been treated fairly. Still, for some kids, it is not out of line for parents to be snoops, they just might save the child and themselves a lot of heartache.

Resources:

Sexting Information: What every parent should know about sexting.

http://www.noslang.com/sexting.php

Social Networking and Internet Safety Information for Parents: Sexting

http://internet-safety.yoursphere.com/sexting/

Teen Sexting Tips

http://www.safeteens.com/teen-sexting-tips/

Related:

New study about ‘sexting’ and teens

https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/new-study-about-sexting-and-teens/

Sexting’ during school hours

http://drwilda.com/2012/08/05/sexting-during-school-hours/

Children and swearing

http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/children-and-swearing/

Does what is worn in school matter?

http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/does-what-is-worn-in-school-matter/

Teen dating violence on the rise

http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/teen-dating-violence-on-the-rise/

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

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University of Virginia study: Tell kids that middle school is not the end of life, cool kids in middle school often have problems later

4 Aug

Javier Panzar reported in the Los Angeles Times article, ‘Cool’ kids in middle school struggle in their 20s, study finds:

In the study, published Thursday in the journal Child Development, scientists tracked nearly 200 13-years-olds in the Southeastern United States for 10 years, gauging how much they valued their popularity, how important appearance was in seeking out friends and if they used drugs or had romantic relationships.
The study found that young teens who acted old for their age by sneaking into movies, forming early romantic relationships, shoplifting and basing friendships on appearance were seen by peers as popular. But as these “pseudomature” teens and their less adventurous counterparts matured, their behavior was no longer linked with popularity.
Instead, they were thought to be less socially competent by their peers and had more problems with substance abuse, said Joseph Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia and lead author on the study.
Allen said the average “cool” teen, by age 22, had a 45% greater rate of problems due to substance use and a 22% greater rate of criminal behavior compared with the average teen in the study.
“Teens are intimidated by these kids, and parents are intimidated because they think that these pseudomature kids are on the fast track,” Allen said in an interview Thursday with the Los Angeles Times. “These kids are on the fast track, but it’s really to a dead end.
“They are gaining the appearance of maturity, but they are not gaining actual maturity.”
Researchers suggest that these kids spend so much time trying to gain status, they don’t develop the positive social skills needed for meaningful friendships.
The study followed 86 male and 98 female middle school students for a 10-year period beginning in 1998, and it yielded some surprises, Allen said. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-cool-kids-study-20140612-story.html

Here is the University of Virginia news release:

News Updates
For Middle Schoolers, Research Shows It’s Cool Not to Be Cool
06/16/2014
New research by Youth-Nex faculty affiliate Joseph Allen shows that trying to being cool in early teens predicts more problems in early adulthood.
“According to the study, which surveyed 184 seventh- and eighth-graders and then followed up with them 10 years later, the kids who were involved in minor delinquent behaviors or precocious romance and obsessed with physical appearance and social status were much worse off in adulthood than their less “cool” friends.
Allen found that at 22 or 23 years old, these kids had 45 percent higher rates of alcohol and drug problems and 22 percent higher rates of criminal behavior; their ratings of social competency — their ability to have normal and positive relationships with others — were 24 percent lower than their peers.”
Read Study. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/cdev.12250/pdf
Wall Street Journal Video: “How Long Does the ‘Cool Kid’ Effect Last?” http://live.wsj.com/video/how-long-does-the-cool-kid-effect-last/5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78.html#!5B2198BA-501C-43CF-9EEC-7B26C0575F78

New York Times, “Thirteen in Years, but 10 or 15 in Thoughts and Action” http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/18/thirteen-in-years-but-10-or-15-in-thoughts-and-action/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=1&
Other Media:

CNN Video – Cool kids study offers ‘revenge’ for nerds http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/12/living/cool-kids-study-parents-duplicate-2/

The Boston Globe, “Being a ‘cool’ kid has downside later on, study shows” http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/06/26/being-cool-kid-has-downside-later-study-shows/93xNSnbVBSxdCh5YTQgGmK/story.html

The Washington Post – The middle school ‘cool kids’ are not alright http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/06/12/the-middle-school-cool-kids-are-not-alright/

Business Insider – Researchers Figured Out What Really Happens To Cool Kids When They Grow Up http://www.businessinsider.com/being-popular-in-high-school-leads-to-problems-in-adulthood-2014-6#ixzz34o7Ix28L

Here is the news release from the Society for Research in Child Development:

12-Jun-2014
[ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ]

Contact: Hannah Klein
hklein@srcd.org
202-289-0320
Society for Research in Child Development

New study sheds light on what happens to ‘cool’ kids
Teens who tried to act cool in early adolescence were more likely than their peers who didn’t act cool to experience a range of problems in early adulthood, according to a new decade-long study. The study, by researchers at the University of Virginia, appears in the journal Child Development.
While cool teens are often idolized in popular media—in depictions ranging from James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause to Tina Fey’s Mean Girls—seeking popularity and attention by trying to act older than one’s age may not yield the expected benefits, according to the study.
Researchers followed 184 teens from age 13, when they were in seventh and eighth grades, to age 23, collecting information from the teens themselves as well as from their peers and parents. The teens attended public school in suburban and urban areas in the southeastern United States and were from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.
Teens who were romantically involved at an early age, engaged in delinquent activity, and placed a premium on hanging out with physically attractive peers were thought to be popular by their peers at age 13. But over time, this sentiment faded: By 22, those once-cool teens were rated by their peers as being less competent in managing social relationships. They were also more likely to have had significant problems with alcohol and drugs, and to have engaged in criminal activities, according to the study.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behavior might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviors to try to appear cool, at least to a subgroup of other teens,” says Joseph P. Allen, Hugh P. Kelly Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, who led the study. “So they became involved in more serious criminal behavior and alcohol and drug use as adolescence progressed. These previously cool teens appeared less competent—socially and otherwise—than their less cool peers by the time they reached young adulthood.”
###
The study was funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Mental Health.
Summarized from Child Development, What Ever Happened To The ‘Cool’ Kids? Long-Term Sequelae Of Early Adolescent Pseudomature Behavior by Allen, JP, Schad, MM, Oudekerk, B, and Chango, J (University of Virginia). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.
Middle school aged students are particularly vulnerable because they are in the midst of emotional and physical transitions.

Goodlettsville Middle School posted a good list of characteristics of the average middle school student:

Developmental Characteristics of Middle School Students
Intellectual Development:
Are egocentric; argue to convince, and exhibit independent, critical thought
• Face decisions that may affect long term academic values
• Are intensely curious
• Personal-social concerns dominate, academics are secondary
• Move to abstract ways of thinking which allow for:
o projection of thoughts to the future
o establishing of goals
o consideration of ideas contrary to fact
o questioning of attitudes, behaviors, and values
o ability to think about thinking and how they learn
• Prefer active over passive learning experiences and cooperative learning activities
• Enjoy learning skills to apply to real life problems and situations
Physical Development:
Concerned about their physical appearance
• Experience accelerated physical development marked by increases in weight and height
• Experience fluctuations in metabolism causing extreme restlessness and listlessness
• Mature at varying rates; girls develop physically earlier than boys
• Lack physical health and have poor level of endurance, strength, and flexibility
• Have appetites for peculiar tastes; you adolescents may overtax their digestive systems with large amounts of improper foods
Psychological Development:
Easily offended and sensitive to criticism
• Exhibit erratic emotions and behavior
• Are moody and restless; often feel self-conscious and alienated, lack self-esteem, and are introspective
• Are optimistic and hopeful
• Search for adult identity and acceptance
• Strive for a sense of individual uniqueness
• Are vulnerable to one-sided arguments
• Exaggerate simple occurrences and believe that person issues are unique to themselves
• Have an emerging sense of humor
• Have emotions that are frightening and poorly understood, often triggered by hormonal imbalances. These may cause regression to more childish behavior patterns
Social Development:
Act out unusual or drastic behavior. At times, they may be aggressive, daring, boisterous, and argumentative.
• Confused and frightened by new school settings that are large and impersonal
• Are fiercely loyal to peer group values and sometimes cruel and insensitive to those outside of the peer group
• Are rebellious toward parents, but still strongly dependent on parental values
• Negative interactions with peers, parents, and teachers may compromise ideals and commitments
• Challenge authority figures and test limits of accepted behavior
• Distrust relationships with adults who show lack of sensitivity to adolescent needs
• Use peers and media role models as sources for standards of behavior
• Sense the negative impact of adolescent behavior on parents and teachers
• Desire love and acceptance from significant adults
Moral and Ethical Development:
Ask broad unanswerable questions about the meaning of life
• Depend on influence of home and church for moral and ethical choices and behaviors
• Explore the moral and ethical issues that confront them in the curriculum, the media, and daily interactions with their families and peer groups
• Are idealistic and have a strong sense of fairness in human relationships
• Are reflective, introspective, and analytical about their thoughts and feelings
• Experience thoughts and feeling of awe and wonder related to their expanding intellectual and emotional awareness
• Face hard moral and ethical questions for which they are unprepared to cope http://www.mnps.org/Page49120.aspx

There are no perfect people, no one has a perfect life and everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, children do not come with instruction manuals, which give specific instructions about how to relate to that particular child. Further, for many situations there is no one and only way to resolve a problem. The Child Development Institute has a good article about how to help your child develop healthy self esteem. http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/child-development/self-esteem/

Resources:

Characteristics of Middle Grade Students http://pubs.cde.ca.gov/tcsii/documentlibrary/characteristicsmg.aspx

Middle School Education – Developmental Characteristics http://www.davidson.k12.nc.us/education/components/scrapbook/default.php?sectiondetailid=16059

The Young Adolescent Learner http://www.learner.org/workshops/middlewriting/images/pdf/W1ReadAdLearn.pdf

Traits & Characteristics of Middle School Learners http://everydaylife.globalpost.com/traits-characteristics-middle-school-learners-17814.html

Association for Middle Level Education: AMLE http://www.amle.org/

Know your students: Nature of the middle school student http://undsci.berkeley.edu/teaching/68_nature.php

NEA – Brain Development in Young Adolescents http://www.nea.org/tools/16653.htm

Emotional Development in Middle School | Education.com http://www.education.com/reference/article/emotional-development-middle-school/

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