Tag Archives: Children and Families

Drexel University School of Public Health study: Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

7 Feb

Moi said in Schools have to deal with depressed and troubled children:
Both the culture and the economy are experiencing turmoil. For some communities, the unsettled environment is a new phenomenon, for other communities, children have been stressed for generations. According to the article, Understanding Depression which was posted at the Kids Health site:

Depression is the most common mental health problem in the United States. Each year it affects 17 million people of all age groups, races, and economic backgrounds.
As many as 1 in every 33 children may have depression; in teens, that number may be as high as 1 in 8. http://kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/feelings/understanding_depression.html

Schools are developing strategies to deal with troubled kids.

Andrew M. Seaman of Reuters reported in Parents’ depression may affect kids’ school performance:

Children perform worse in school when their parents are diagnosed with depression, suggests a study from Sweden.

The study found a significant negative link between parents’ depression and kids’ school performance, said senior author Brian Lee, of the Drexel University School of Public Health in Philadelphia.

“We obviously know that depression is a bad thing like any other mental health outcome,” Lee said. “It’s less recognized that mental health outcomes affect other people than the people themselves. So for parents or guardians, a vulnerable population would be their children.”

Previous studies found children with depressed parents are more likely to have problems with brain development, behavior and emotions, along with other psychiatric problems, Lee and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry. Few studies have looked at school performance, however.

For the new study, they used data from more than 1.1 million children born in Sweden between 1984 and 1994.

Three percent of the mothers and about 2 percent of fathers were diagnosed with depression before their children finished their last required year of school, which occurs around age 16 in Sweden.

Overall, when parents were diagnosed with depression during their children’s lifetime, the kids’ grades suffered. A mother’s depression appeared to affect daughters more than sons, they note.

Lee characterized the link between parental depression and children’s school performance as “moderate.”

On the range of factors that influence a child’s school performance, Lee said parental depression falls between a family’s economic status and parental education, which is one of the biggest factors in determining a child’s success in school.

The researchers caution that depression may have been undermeasured in the population. Also, they can’t say that a parent’s depression actually causes children to perform worse in school…. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-school-depression-parents-idUSKCN0VC2VS

Citation:

Parental depression associated with worse school performance by children

Date:      February 3, 2016

Source:   The JAMA Network Journals

Summary:

Having parents diagnosed with depression during a child’s life was associated with worse school performance at age 16 a new study of children born in Sweden reports.

Journal References:

  1. Hanyang Shen, Cecilia Magnusson, Dheeraj Rai, Michael Lundberg, Félice Lê-Scherban, Christina Dalman, Brian K. Lee. Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917
  2. Myrna M. Weissman. Children of Depressed Parents—A Public Health Opportunity. JAMA Psychiatry, 2016; DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2967

Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden ONLINE FIRST

Hanyang Shen, MPH, MSc1; Cecilia Magnusson, MD, PhD2,3; Dheeraj Rai, MRCPsych, PhD4,5; Michael Lundberg, MPH2,3; Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD1; Christina Dalman, MD, PhD2,3; Brian K. Lee, PhD, MHS1,6

[+] Author Affiliations

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online February 03, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2015.2917

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ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT | INTRODUCTION | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES

Importance  Depression is a common cause of morbidity and disability worldwide. Parental depression is associated with early-life child neurodevelopmental, behavioral, emotional, mental, and social problems. More studies are needed to explore the link between parental depression and long-term child outcomes.

Objective  To examine the associations of parental depression with child school performance at the end of compulsory education (approximately age 16 years).

Design, Setting, and Participants  Parental depression diagnoses (based on the International Classification of Diseases, Eighth Revision [ICD-8], International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision [ICD-9], and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision [ICD-10]) in inpatient records from 1969 onward, outpatient records beginning in 2001, and school grades at the end of compulsory education were collected for all children born from 1984 to 1994 in Sweden. The final analytic sample size was 1 124 162 biological children. We examined the associations of parental depression during different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years, as well as any time before the child’s final year of compulsory schooling) with the final school grades. Linear regression models adjusted for various child and parent characteristics. The dates of the analysis were January to November 2015.

Main Outcome and Measure  Decile of school grades at the end of compulsory education (range, 1-10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest).

Results  The study cohort comprised 1 124 162 children, of whom 48.9% were female. Maternal depression and paternal depression at any time before the final compulsory school year were associated with worse school performance. After covariate adjustment, these associations decreased to −0.45 (95% CI, −0.48 to −0.42) and −0.40 (−0.43 to −0.37) lower deciles, respectively. These effect sizes are similarly as large as the observed difference in school performance between the lowest and highest quintiles of family income but approximately one-third of the observed difference between maternal education of 9 or less vs more than 12 years. Both maternal depression and paternal depression at different periods (before birth, after birth, and during child ages 1-5, 6-10, and 11-16 years) generally were associated with worse school performance. Child sex modified the associations of maternal depression with school performance such that maternal depression had a larger negative influence on child school performance for girls compared with boys.

Conclusions and Relevance  Diagnoses of parental depression throughout a child’s life were associated with worse school performance at age 16 years. Our results suggest that diagnoses of parental depression may have a far-reaching effect on an important aspect of child development, with implications for future life course outcomes.                                                                                     http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2488039

Here is the press release from Drexel University:

Parental Depression Negatively Affects Children’s School Performance

February 03 2016

A new study has found that when parents are diagnosed with depression, it can have a significant negative impact on their children’s performance at school.

Researchers at Drexel University led a team including faculty from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and the University of Bristol in England in a cohort study of more than a million children born from 1984 until 1994 in Sweden. Using computerized data registers, the scientists linked parents’ depression diagnoses with their children’s final grades at age 16, when compulsory schooling ends in Sweden.

The research indicated that children whose mothers had been diagnosed with depression are likely to achieve grades that are 4.5 percentage points lower than peers whose mothers had not been diagnosed with depression. For children whose fathers were diagnosed with depression, the difference is a negative four percentage points.

Put into other terms, when compared with a student who achieved a 90 percent, a student whose mother or father had been diagnosed with depression would be more likely to achieve a score in the 85–86 percent range.

The magnitude of this effect was similar to the difference in school performance between children in low versus high-income families, but was smaller than the difference for low versus high maternal education (low family income: -3.6 percentage points; low maternal education -16.2 percentage points).

How well a student does in school has a large bearing on future job and income opportunities, which has heavy public health implications, explained Félice Lê-Scherban, PhD, assistant professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health. On average in the United States, she said, an adult without a high school degree earns half as much as one of their peers with a college degree and also has a life expectancy that is about 10 years lower.

“Anything that creates an uneven playing field for children in terms of their education can potentially have strong implications for health inequities down the road,” Lê-Scherban said.

Some differences along gender lines were observed in the study. Although results were largely similar for maternal and paternal depression, analysis found that episodes of depression in mothers when their children were 11–16 years old appeared to have a larger effect on girls than boys. Girls scored 5.1 percentage points lower than their peers on final grades at 16 years old when that factor was taken into account. Boys, meanwhile, only scored 3.4 percentage points lower.

Brian Lee, PhD, associate professor in the Dornsife School of Public Health, said there were gender differences in the study’s numbers, but didn’t want to lose focus of the problem parental depression presents as a whole.

“Our study — as well as many others — supports that both maternal and paternal depression may independently and negatively influence child development,” Lee said. “There are many notable sex differences in depression, but, rather than comparing maternal versus paternal depression, we should recognize that parental depression can have adverse consequences not just for the parents but also for their children.”

Depression diagnoses in a parent at any time during the child’s first 16 years were determined to have some effect on the child’s school performance. Even diagnoses of depression that came before the child’s birth were linked to poorer school performance. The study posited that it could be attributed to parents and children sharing the same genes and the possibility of passing on a disposition for depression.

The study, “Associations of Parental Depression With Child School Performance at Age 16 Years in Sweden,” whose lead author was Drexel alumna Hanyang Shen, was published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Media Contact:
Frank Otto
fmo26@drexel.edu
215.571.4244

If you or your child needs help for depression or another illness, then go to a reputable medical provider. There is nothing wrong with taking the steps necessary to get well.

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:
1. About.Com’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm

  1. Psych Central’s Depression In Young Children http://depression.about.com/od/child/Young_Children.htm
  2. Psychiatric News’ Study Helps Pinpoint Children With Depression http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/newsarticle.aspx?articleid=106034
  3. Family Doctor’s What Is Depression? http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/depression.html
  4. WebMD’s Depression In Children http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-children
  5. Healthline’s Is Your Child Depressed?

http://www.healthline.com/hlvideo-5min/how-to-help-your-child-through-depression-517095449

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

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

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences study: Single mothers more likely to live in poverty

1 Sep

The increased rate of poverty has profound implications if this society believes that ALL children have the right to a good basic education. 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? Because 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. There is a lot of economic stress in the country now because of unemployment and underemployment. Children feel the stress of their parents and they worry about how stable their family and living situation is.

Science Daily reported Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they’re penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study.

“Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income gap does not decrease by much. Single mothers are far more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, and they do not catch up over time,” said Karen Kramer, a U of I assistant professor of family studies.

In 2012, 28 percent of all U.S. children lived with one parent. Of that number, 4.24 million single mothers lived below the poverty line compared to 404,000 single fathers, she noted.
The single most important factor that allows single-parent families to get out of poverty is working full-time, she said. “A 2011 study shows that in single-parent families below the poverty line at the end, only 15.1 percent were employed full-time year-round.”

Previous studies show that 39 percent of working single mothers report receiving unearned income, assumed to be child support. That means fathers are contributing only 28 percent of child-rearing costs in single-mother households, she said.

The pathway into single-parent households differs by gender, she said. “Single fathers are more likely to become single parents as the result of a divorce; single mothers are more likely never to have been married,” she explained.

“Divorced single parents tend to be better off financially and are more educated than their never-married counterparts. The most common living arrangement for children after a divorce is for mothers to have custody. Single fathers with custody are more likely to have a cohabiting partner than single mothers, and that partner is probably at least sharing household tasks. Single mothers are more likely to be doing everything on their own,” she said.

Often single mothers have both the stress of raising children alone and crippling financial stress, she added….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150831163743.htm

Citation:

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds
Date: August 31, 2015

Source: University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

Summary:

Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they are penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a new study.

Journal Reference:

1. Karen Z. Kramer, Laurelle L. Myhra, Virginia S. Zuiker, Jean W. Bauer. Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades: 1990–2010. Gender Issues, 2015; DOI: 10.1007/s12147-015-9144-3

Here is the press release:

Single mothers much more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, study finds
Published August 31, 2015

URBANA, Ill. – Single mothers earn significantly less than single fathers, and they’re penalized for each additional child they have even though the income of single fathers remains the same or increases with each added child in their family. Men also make more for every additional year they invest in education, further widening the gender gap, reports a University of Illinois study.

“Single mothers earn about two-thirds of what single fathers earn. Even when we control for such variables as occupation, numbers of hours worked, education, and social capital, the income gap does not decrease by much. Single mothers are far more likely to live in poverty than single fathers, and they do not catch up over time,” said Karen Kramer, a U of I assistant professor of family studies.

In 2012, 28 percent of all U.S. children lived with one parent. Of that number, 4.24 million single mothers lived below the poverty line compared to 404,000 single fathers, she noted.
The single most important factor that allows single-parent families to get out of poverty is working full-time, she said. “A 2011 study shows that in single-parent families below the poverty line at the end, only 15.1 percent were employed full-time year-round.”

Previous studies show that 39 percent of working single mothers report receiving unearned income, assumed to be child support. That means fathers are contributing only 28 percent of child-rearing costs in single-mother households, she said.

The pathway into single-parent households differs by gender, she said. “Single fathers are more likely to become single parents as the result of a divorce; single mothers are more likely never to have been married,” she explained.

“Divorced single parents tend to be better off financially and are more educated than their never-married counterparts. The most common living arrangement for children after a divorce is for mothers to have custody. Single fathers with custody are more likely to have a cohabiting partner than single mothers, and that partner is probably at least sharing household tasks. Single mothers are more likely to be doing everything on their own,” she said.

Often single mothers have both the stress of raising children alone and crippling financial stress, she added.
Society still stigmatizes single mothers, she noted. “People think: How did you get in this position? It’s irresponsible to be a single mother with so many kids. Now you don’t have time to work.”
She pointed out that the role of women as caretakers saturates every aspect of our culture. “Women perform most caregiving work for children, elders, and dependent persons, both within their own families and as paid employees,” she said.

“We need to encourage women to invest in education. And, as policymakers, we need to make sure that women and men get the same return on that investment,” she said.

Kramer recommended that more emphasis and pressure should be placed on fathers and their ability to pay child support and spousal maintenance; raising the minimum wage to a living wage; and providing similar benefits and rewards for part-time work as the ones full-time workers get.

Affordable housing in a safe neighborhood, access to public transportation, food support, child care and health care for single mothers should also be supported, she added.

Kramer noted that single mothers who don’t participate in Social Security because they are not working are setting themselves up for lifelong poverty.

“Social Security is designed to protect those who have lengthy work histories or women who get married. Single motherhood presents a continuing crisis that requires efforts to end women’s poverty by enforcing anti-discrimination laws and offering opportunities and training for better-paying positions,” Kramer said.
“Comparison of Poverty and Income Disparity of Single Mothers and Fathers Across Three Decades, 1990-2010” appears in a recent issue of Gender Issues. Co-authors are Karen Z. Kramer of the University of Illinois, Laurelle L. Myhra of the Native American Community Clinic in Minneapolis, and Virginia S. Zuiker and Jean W. Bauer of the University of Minnesota. Funding was supplied by USDA.

News Source:
Karen Z. Kramer, 217-244-3974

News Writer:
Phyllis Picklesimer, 217-244-2827
http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/single-mothers-much-more-likely-live-poverty-single-fathers-study-finds

This comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to? Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with baby mama. Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

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Dr. Wilda Reviews: AAPD and UW ‘Dental Home Day’

25 May

Moi was very pleased to be invited to Dental Home Day which was held at the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry in conjunction with Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), and the foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). She would like to acknowledge Erika J. Hoeft, AAPD Public Relations, Dr.Beverly Largent, President of the AAPD Foundation, Paul Amundsen, MNA, CFRE of Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children and Steve Steinberg, UW School of Dentistry Director of Communications. They were extremely informative and gracious in answering moi’s questions.

Readers may ask, what is the purpose of Dental Home Day. According to the HSHC site:

Sponsored by Sunstar Americas, Inc., Dental Home Day is our annual service day held in conjunction with the AAPD Annual Session. In partnership with a clinic or dental school in the AAPD host city, AAPD members from across the country volunteer and HSHC provides grants covering the cost of the event and ongoing dental care for participating children. Dental Home Day applications are by invitation only. http://www.healthysmileshealthychildren.org/

Since the AAPD Annual Meeting was in Seattle, they partnered with the UW Dental School. A shout out to San Antonio, the AAPD 69th Annual Session will be held May 26-29, 2016 in San Antonio, Texas. Since referrals to Dental Home Day are limited, children who may qualify should be referred early. http://www.aapd.org/join/benefits/

Readers may ask why children need a pediatric dentist and why is dental care so important for children. According to the AARP:

The statistics are alarming. The rate of tooth decay in primary (baby) teeth of children aged 2 to 5 years increased nearly 17 percent from 1988-1994 to 1999-
2004. Based on the most recent data, 28 percent of children aged 2 to 5 years in the entire U.S. population are affected by tooth decay. 19 By the age of 3, 5 percent
to 10 percent of U.S. children have oral health issues. 19 By age 5, about 60 percent of U.S. children will have had caries at some point, including the 40 percent of children who have it when they enter kindergarten. 4,20

The issue is not just that kids have caries—it’s that, for many kids, caries is not being treated and is turning into more serious problems….http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/7/State_of_Little_Teeth_Final.pdf

See, Frequently Asked Questions http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/#37
A pediatric dentist tends to the special needs of children.

One group who may be more comfortable with a pediatric dentist are those with special needs:

The AAPD defines special health care needs as “any physical, developmental, mental, sensory, behavioral, cognitive, or emotional impairment or limiting condition that requires medical management, health care intervention, and/or use of specialized services or programs. The condition may be congenital, developmental, or acquired through disease, trauma, or environmental cause and may impose limitations in performing daily self-maintenance activities or substantial limitations in a major life activity. Health care for individuals with special needs requires specialized knowledge acquired by additional training, as well as increased awareness and attention, adaptation, and accommodative measures beyond what are considered routine…”3
http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_SHCN.pdf

It was emphasized that pediatric dentists want to see children smile because the children are not only healthier, but feel more confident.

The UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry hosted Dental Home Day. Here is the press release:

May 14, 2015

Dental Home Day kicks off year of care for 150 local children
About 150 Seattle-area children will receive a year’s fully subsidized dental care as part of Dental Home Day, an event on May 20 conducted by the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry and Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children (HSHC), the Foundation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).

Dental Home Day, which takes place in conjunction with AAPD’s annual session, calls attention to the importance of giving every child a “dental home” – a continuing relationship with a dentist that addresses oral health in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. The AAPD convenes in Seattle this year from May 21 to May 24.

Dental Home Day, which is sponsored by Sunstar Americas Inc., will take place at The Center for Pediatric Dentistry in Seattle’s Magnuson Park. The Center, a clinical partnership between the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, opened in 2010, thanks to a $5 million founding gift from Delta Dental of Washington and the Washington Dental Service Foundation. Its mission is to provide not only a high standard of pediatric dentistry but also to conduct research and identify best practices in children’s oral health.

“We’re delighted to be hosting this event to provide care for dozens of children who have limited access to dental services,” said Dr. Rebecca Slayton, director of the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry. “Dental Home Day is an extension of our goal of making dental care as accessible as possible for all children, especially those who have the greatest need.”

The participating children – who have already been selected – will receive not only checkups, cleanings and restorative work as time permits on May 20, but follow-up care for a year thereafter. The care will be funded by $30,000 in grants from HSHC. Children received invitations to Dental Home Day through schools, social service agencies, pediatricians and other referral sources. The Center’s dental faculty and dental residents will be joined for the day by about 60 volunteer AAPD member dentists who will consult with the local dentists and guide patients through the clinic.

“This is the third year of our collaboration with Sunstar on Dental Home Day, and the UW Center for Pediatric Dentistry has pulled out all the stops,” said Dr. Beverly Largent, the HSHC president and a pediatric dentist from Paducah, Ky., who will be a Dental Home Day volunteer. “Not only do we anticipate this year’s Dental Home Day to be the largest turnout yet, but our grant to The Center will help support ongoing care for the next year.”
In addition to dental treatment, the young patients will enjoy some entertaining diversions on May 20. Appearances are scheduled by Seattle professional sports mascots including Mariners Moose and the Seahawks’ Blitz, plus Captain Amerigroup and Dr. Health E. Hound of United Healthcare. There will also be games, prizes, story time and a photo booth.

“This will be a lot of fun for the children, but there’s a very serious message behind Dental Home Day,” said Dr. Joel Berg, dean of the UW School of Dentistry and AAPD past president. “One of the most important things we can do with events like this is to spread awareness of the toll that dental disease takes on children. Caries, or tooth decay, is the most common childhood disease, and what’s truly frustrating is that most of it is preventable.”

Dr. Berg added: “We want to let people know that with early treatment, prevention and good dental habits, most children can have a lifetime of great dental health. And establishing a dental home is a key part of that.” http://thecenterforpediatricdentistry.com/dental-home-day-kicks-off-year-of-care-for-150-local-children/

Moi’s observation was the day was well organized and ran smoothly. There are a couple of key observations moi would make about what is a civil and civilized society.
Moi will frame this review with three quotes:

1. “Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.”
~Cardinal Roger Mahony, In a 1998 letter, Creating a Culture of Life

2. Luke 12:48 For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men entrust much, they will require and demand all the more.

3. The Boy and the Starfish
A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked he could see a young boy in the distance, as he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water.
Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.
As the man approached even closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had been washed up on the beach and, one at a time he was throwing them back into the water.
The man asked the boy what he was doing, the boy replied,”I am throwing these washed up starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die through lack of oxygen. “But”, said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening on hundreds of beaches along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”
The boy looked down, frowning for a moment; then bent down to pick up another starfish, smiling as he threw it back into the sea. He replied,
“I made a huge difference to that one!”
~Author Unknown~

150 children were cared for during Dental Home Day. This figure represents a small percentage of the children who need help. The pediatric dentists who give their time and treasure to support the AAPD Foundation came to their profession from many paths and circumstances, but they now represent the privileged in America. They are given the privilege of leadership, of course much is expected. People in helping professions may not be able to help everyone, but they can do their best to make a difference to those whose lives they touch. There are some very hard questions for any society, particularly one with the resources of a country like the U.S., about how the society treats its weakest and smallest members. Dental Home Day is like the little boy and the starfish, not every child is helped, but it makes a huge difference to those who are chosen. See, Healthy Smiles, Healthy Children Partners With 22 Organizations And Commits More Than $1.1 Million in Grants To Underserved Childrenhttp://www.aapd.org/healthy_smiles_healthy_children_partners_with_22_organizations_and_commits_more_than_11_million_in_grants_to_underserved_children/

Dr. Wilda gives a thumbs up to Dental Home Day. A shout out to San Antonio in 2016 to begin getting the word out to poor children in need of dental care.

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Brookings study: Father’s education level influences the life chances of their children

7 Dec

Moi has been saying for decades that the optimum situation for raising children is a two-parent family for a variety of reasons. This two-parent family is an economic unit with the prospect of two incomes and a division of labor for the chores necessary to maintain the family structure. Parents also need a degree of maturity to raise children; after all, you and your child should not be raising each other.

Eric Schulzke of Deseret News reported in the article, Like father like child: why your future may be closely tied to your father’s income and education:

A child’s odds of breaking out of poverty or gaining a college education are heavily shaped by the father’s income and education level, says Richard Reeves of the Brookings Institution.

In a couple of graphs that unpack piles of data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics at the University of Michigan, Reeves breaks education and income levels down into quintiles and shows the close connection between a father’s level and how far his children go.

Whether you see that as a glass half empty or glass half full depend on your starting point, Reeves acknowledges. “If you assume that in an ideal world, where you would end up would bear no relation to where you started.” That is, he argues, if we had real equality of opportunity, 20 percent of every group would end up in the other four groups in the next generation.

Instead, 41 percent of kids whose father had top-level educational achievement stay there, and 36 percent of those who start in the bottom income bracket will remain there.

There is some mobility, of course. Of those who start in the bottom fifth of income levels, 35 percent end up in the middle class or above, which is roughly equal to the 36 percent who stay put….                                                                                                                                                           http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865616732/Like-father-like-child-why-your-future-may-be-closely-tied-to-your-fathers-income-and-education.html?pg=all

See, Children with married parents are better off — but marriage isn’t the reason why     http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/08/children-with-married-parents-are-better-off-but-marriage-isnt-the-reason-why/

Here is the relevant portion from The Inheritance of Education by Richard V. Reeves and Joanna Venator:

Educated Dad = Educated Kid

The two matrices look pretty similar – no surprise, given that income and education are tightly correlated. But in one respect there appears to be less mobility in terms of education: the replication of top-quintile status. Almost half (46%) the children of top-quintile parents ended up in the top education quintile themselves, and three in four (76%) stayed in one of the top two quintiles. The equivalent measures of ‘stickiness’ at the top for income are 41% and 65%.

This finding echoes research showing large, and possibly growing, gaps in educational attainment by social and economic background. The trend towards assortative mating – like marrying like – will likely strengthen the intergenerational transmission of high educational status. Of course education is one of main factors behind intergenerational income persistence, but it also troubling in its own right. The ethical demand for equality of opportunity in terms of education is even greater than for income. If a high level of education is effectively inherited, the ideal of meritocracy will move even further from our reach….                                                                    http://www.brookings.edu/blogs/social-mobility-memos/posts/2014/10/27-intergenerational-education-mobility-reeves

This is a problem which never should have been swept under the carpet and if the chattering classes, politicians, and elite can’t see the magnitude of this problem, they are not just brain dead, they are flat-liners. There must be a new women’s movement, this time it doesn’t involve the “me first” philosophy of the social “progressives” or the elite who in order to validate their own particular life choices espouse philosophies that are dangerous or even poisonous to those who have fewer economic resources. This movement must urge women of color to be responsible for their reproductive choices. They cannot have children without having the resources both financial and having a committed partner. For all the talk of genocide involving the response and aftermath of “Katrina,” the real genocide is self-inflicted.

So, a behavior that statistically is more damaging than consuming sugary drinks is never condemned. The child born to a single poor mother is usually condemned to follow her into a life of poverty. Yet, the same rigor of dissuasion is not applied to young impressionable women who are becoming single mothers in large numbers as is applied to regular Coke or Pepsi addicts. Personal choice is involved, some of the snarky could categorize the personal choice as moronic in both cases. Government intervention is seen as the antidote in the case of sugary drinks, but not single motherhood. Why? Because we like to pick the morons we want government to control. The fact of the matter is that government control is just as bad in the case of sugary drinks as it would be in regulating a individual’s reproductive choice. The folks like Mayor Bloomberg who want government to control some behavior really don’t want to confront the difficult, for them, political choice of promoting individual personal values and responsibility. It is much easier to legislate a illusory solution. So, the ruling elite will continue to focus on obesity, which is a major health issue, while a disaster bigger than “Katrina” and “Sandy “ sweeps across the country with disastrous results.

Related:

Hard times are disrupting families

http://drwilda.com/2011/12/11/hard-times-are-disrupting-families/

3rd world America: The link between poverty and education

http://drwilda.com/2011/11/20/3rd-world-america-the-link-between-poverty-and-education/

3rd world America: Money changes everything

http://drwilda.com/2012/02/11/3rd-world-america-money-changes-everything/

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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/

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

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©

http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©

http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©

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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. ©

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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