Princeton University study: A tale of a racist robot and AI from the web

26 Aug

Jenna Goudreau of Business Insider wrote in 13 surprising ways your name affects your success:

If your name is easy to pronounce, people will favor you more….

In a New York University study, researchers found that people with easier-to-pronounce names often have higher-status positions at work. One of the psychologists, Adam Alter, explains to Wired, “When we can process a piece of information more easily, when it’s easier to comprehend, we come to like it more.” In a further study, Alter also found that companies with simpler names and ticker symbols tended to perform better in the stock market.

If your name is common, you are more likely to be hired….

In a Marquette University study, the researchers found evidence to suggest that names that were viewed as the least unique were more likable. People with common names were more likely to be hired, and those with rare names were least likely to be hired. That means that the Jameses, Marys, Johns, and Patricias of the world are in luck.

Uncommon names are associated with juvenile delinquency….

A 2009 study at Shippensburg University suggested that there’s a strong relationship between the popularity of one’s first name and juvenile criminal behavior. Researchers found that, regardless of race, young people with unpopular names were more likely to engage in criminal activity. The findings obviously don’t show that the unusual names caused the behavior, but merely show a link between the two things. And the researchers have some theories about their findings. “Adolescents with unpopular names may be more prone to crime because they are treated differently by their peers, making it more difficult for them to form relationships,” they write in a statement from the journal’s publisher. “Juveniles with unpopular names may also act out because they … dislike their names.”

If you have a white-sounding name, you’re more likely to get hired….

In one study cited by The Atlantic, white-sounding names like Emily Walsh and Greg Baker got nearly 50% more callbacks than candidates with black-sounding names like Lakisha Washington and Jamal Jones. Researchers determined that having a white-sounding name is worth as much as eight years of work experience.

If your last name is closer to the beginning of the alphabet, you could get into a better school….

For a study published in the Economics of Education Review, researchers studied the relationship between the position in the alphabet of more than 90,000 Czech students’ last names and their admission chances at competitive schools. They found that even though students with last names that were low in the alphabet tended to get higher test scores overall, among the students who applied to universities and were on the margins of getting admitted or not, those with last names that were close to the top of the alphabet were more likely to be admitted.

If your last name is closer to the end of the alphabet, you’re more likely to be an impulse spender…

According to one study, people with last names such as Yardley or Zabar may be more susceptible to promotional strategies like limited-time offers. The authors speculate that spending your childhood at the end of the roll call may make you want to jump on offers before you miss the chance.

Using your middle initial makes people think you’re smarter and more competent….

According to research published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, using a middle initial increases people’s perceptions of your intellectual capacity and performance. In one study, students were asked to rate an essay with one of four styles of author names. Not only did the authors with a middle initial receive top marks, but the one with the most initials, David F.P.R. Clark, received the best reviews.

You are more likely to work in a company that matches your initials….

Since we identify with our names, we prefer things that are similar to them. In a Ghent University study, researchers found that people are more likely to work for companies matching their own initials. For example, Brian Ingborg might work for Business Insider. The rarer the initials, the more likely people were to work for companies with names similar to their own.

If your name sounds noble, you are more likely to work in a high-ranking position….

In a European study, researchers studied German names and ranks within companies. Those with last names such as Kaiser (“emperor”) or König (“king”) were in more managerial positions than those with last names that referred to common occupations, such as Koch (“cook”) or Bauer (“farmer”). This could be the result of associative reasoning, a psychological theory describing a type of thinking in which people automatically link emotions and previous knowledge with similar words or phrases.

If you are a boy with a girl’s name, you could be more likely to be suspended from school….

For his 2005 study, University of Florida economics professor David Figlio studied a large Florida school district from 1996 to 2000 and found that boys with names most commonly given to girls misbehaved more in middle school and were more likely to disrupt their peers. He also found that their behavioral problems were linked with increased disciplinary problems and lower test scores.

If you are a woman with a gender-neutral name, you may be more likely to succeed in certain fields….

According to The Atlantic, in male-dominated fields such as engineering and law, women with gender-neutral names may be more successful. One study found that women with “masculine names” like Leslie, Jan, or Cameron tended to be more successful in legal careers.

Men with shorter first names are overrepresented in the c-suite.

In 2011, LinkedIn analyzed more than 100 million user profiles to find out which names are most associated with the CEO position. The most common names for men were short, often one-syllable names like Bob, Jack, and Bruce. A name specialist speculates that men in power may use nicknames to offer a sense of friendliness and openness.

Women at the top are more likely to use their full names….

In the same study, LinkedIn researchers found that the most common names of female CEOs include Deborah, Cynthia, and Carolyn. Unlike the men, women may use their full names in an attempt to project professionalism and gravitas, according to the report. …

http://www.businessinsider.com/how-your-name-affects-your-success-2015-8

A Michigan State University study finds that the names of Black males affect their life expectancy.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160326105659.htm

Mojtaba Arvin wrote in the Machine Learning article, The robot that became racist: AI that learnt from the web finds white-sounding names ‘pleasant’ and …

Humans look to the power of machine learning to make better and more effective decisions.

However, it seems that some algorithms are learning more than just how to recognize patterns – they are being taught how to be as biased as the humans they learn from.

Researchers found that a widely used AI characterizes black-sounding names as ‘unpleasant’, which they believe is a result of our own human prejudice hidden in the data it learns from on the World Wide Web.

Researchers found that a widely used AI characterizes black-sounding names as ‘unpleasant’, which they believe is a result of our own human prejudice hidden in the data it learns from on the World Wide Web

Machine learning has been adopted to make a range of decisions, from approving loans to determining what kind of health insurance, reports Jordan Pearson with Motherboard.

A recent example was reported by Pro Publica in May, when an algorithm used by officials in Florida automatically rated a more seasoned white criminal as being a lower risk of committing a future crime, than a black offender with only misdemeanors on her record.

Now, researchers at Princeton University have reproduced a stockpile of documented human prejudices in an algorithm using text pulled from the internet.

HOW A ROBOT BECAME RACIST

Princeton University conducted a word associate task with the popular algorithm GloVe, an unsupervised AI that uses online text to understand human language.

The team gave the AI words like ‘flowers’ and ‘insects’ to pair with other words  that the researchers defined as being ‘pleasant’ or ‘unpleasant’ like ‘family’ or ‘crash’ – which it did successfully.

Then algorithm was given a list of white-sounding names, like Emily and Matt, and black-sounding ones, such as Ebony and Jamal’, which it was prompted to do the same word association.

The AI linked the white-sounding names with ‘pleasant’ and black-sounding names as ‘unpleasant’.

Princeton’s results do not just prove datasets are polluted with prejudices and assumptions, but the algorithms currently being used for researchers are reproducing human’s worst values – racism and assumption…                                                                                                                 https://www.artificialintelligenceonline.com/19050/the-robot-that-became-racist-ai-that-learnt-from-the-web-finds-white-sounding-names-pleasant-and/

See, The robot that became racist: AI that learnt from the web finds white-sounding names ‘pleasant’ and black-sounding names ‘unpleasant’     http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3760795/The-robot-racist-AI-learnt-web-finds-white-sounding-names-pleasant-black-sounding-names-unpleasant.html

Here is a portion of the draft:

Semantics derived automatically from language

corpora necessarily contain human biases

Aylin Caliskan-Islam1 , Joanna J. Bryson 1,2 , and Arvind Narayanan1

1Princeton University

2 University of Bath

Address correspondence to aylinc@princeton.edu, bryson@conjugateprior.org, arvindn@cs.princeton.edu.

+

Draft date August 25, 2016.

ABSTRACT

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are in a period of astounding growth. However, there are concerns that these technologies may be used, either with or without intention, to perpetuate the prejudice and unfairness that unfortunately characterizes many human institutions. Here we show for the first time that human-like semantic biases result from the application of standard machine learning to ordinary language—the same sort of language humans are exposed to every day. We replicate a spectrum of standard human biases as exposed by the Implicit Association Test and other well-known

psychological studies. We replicate these using a widely used, purely statistical machine-learning model—namely, the GloVe word embedding—trained on a corpus of text from the Web. Our results indicate that language itself contains recoverable and accurate imprints of our historic biases, whether these are morally neutral as towards insects or flowers, problematic as towards race or gender, or even simply veridical, reflecting the status quo for the distribution of gender with respect to careers or first

names. These regularities are captured by machine learning along with the rest of semantics. In addition to our empirical findings concerning language, we also contribute new methods for evaluating bias in text, the Word Embedding Association Test (WEAT) and the Word Embedding Factual Association Test (WEFAT). Our results have implications not only for AI and machine learning, but also for the fields of psychology, sociology, and human ethics, since they raise the possibility that mere exposure to everyday language can account for the biases we replicate here…..

http://randomwalker.info/publications/language-bias.pdf

See, Top 20 ‘Whitest’ and ‘Blackest’ Names      http://abcnews.go.com/2020/top-20-whitest-blackest-names/story?id=2470131

Moi wrote in Black people MUST develop a culture of success: Michigan State revokes a football scholarship because of raunchy rap video.

The question must be asked, who is responsible for MY or YOUR life choices? Let’s get real, certain Asian cultures kick the collective butts of the rest of Americans. Why? It’s not rocket science. These cultures embrace success traits of hard work, respect for education, strong families, and a reverence for success and successful people. Contrast the culture of success with the norms of hip-hop and rap oppositional culture. See, Hip-hop’s Dangerous Values
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1107107/posts and Hip-Hop and rap represent destructive life choices: How low can this genre sink? https://drwilda.com/2013/05/01/hip-hop-and-rap-represent-destructive-life-choices-how-low-can-this-genre-sink/

Resources:

Culture of Success
http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/culture-success

How Do Asian Students Get to the Top of the Class?
http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/teaching-values/481-parenting-students-to-the-top.gs

Related:

Is there a model minority?
https://drwilda.com/2012/06/23/is-there-a-model-minority/

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

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

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Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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https://drwilda.com/

University of Chicago study: Infants develop early understanding of social nature of food

23 Aug

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/

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                                                                                                                     http://www.apa.org/pi/families/poverty.aspx

Science Daily reported in Infants develop early understanding of social nature of food:

Infants develop expectations about what people prefer to eat, providing early evidence of the social nature through which humans understand food, according to a new study conducted at the University of Chicago.

The study, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found infants expect people to share food preferences unless they belong to different social groups. Their understanding changes when it comes to disgust toward a food, with infants expecting such reactions to transcend the boundaries of social groups.

“Even before infants appear to make smart choices about what substances to ingest, they form nuanced expectations that food preferences are fundamentally linked to social groups and social identity,” said Zoe Liberman, a University of California, Santa Barbara assistant professor who completed the research while a UChicago doctoral student.

In past studies researchers found infants could watch what other people ate in order to learn whether a food was edible. The new study looks beyond learning objective properties about foods to examine the expectations infants hold around who will agree or disagree on food preferences.

The study has important implications for policymakers working on public health, particularly obesity. The findings underscore the need to look beyond just teaching children which foods are healthy when combating obesity to focus on the social nature of decisions surrounding what to eat.

“For humans, food choice is a deeply social and cultural affair. These new findings show that infants are tuning into critical information for understanding the social world, as well as for reasoning about food,” said Amanda L. Woodward, the William S. Gray Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Additional authors of the study were Kathleen R. Sullivan, social science analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Katherine Kinzler, associate professor at Cornell University….                                                                                                                                           https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160822140701.htm

Citation:

Infants develop early understanding of social nature of food

Study finds preferences follow social groups and language; disgust seen as universal

Date:        August 22, 2016

Source:     University of Chicago

Summary:

A new study finds infants develop expectations about what people prefer to eat, providing early evidence of the social nature through which humans understand food.

Journal Reference:

  1. Zoe Liberman, Amanda L. Woodward, Kathleen R. Sullivan, Katherine D. Kinzler. Early emerging system for reasoning about the social nature of food. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201605456 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1605456113

Here is the press release from the University of Chicago:

Infants develop early understanding of social nature of food

Study finds preferences follow social groups and language; disgust seen as universal

By Mark Peters

August 22, 2016

Press Inquiries

Infants develop expectations about what people prefer to eat, providing early evidence of the social nature through which humans understand food, according to a new study conducted at the University of Chicago.

The study, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found infants expect people to share food preferences unless they belong to different social groups. Their understanding changes when it comes to disgust toward a food, with infants expecting such reactions to transcend the boundaries of social groups.

“Even before infants appear to make smart choices about what substances to ingest, they form nuanced expectations that food preferences are fundamentally linked to social groups and social identity,” said Zoe Liberman, a University of California, Santa Barbara assistant professor who completed the research while a UChicago doctoral student.

In past studies researchers found infants could watch what other people ate in order to learn whether a food was edible. The new study looks beyond learning objective properties about foods to examine the expectations infants hold around who will agree or disagree on food preferences.

The study has important implications for policymakers working on public health, particularly obesity. The findings underscore the need to look beyond just teaching children which foods are healthy when combating obesity to focus on the social nature of decisions surrounding what to eat.

“For humans, food choice is a deeply social and cultural affair. These new findings show that infants are tuning into critical information for understanding the social world, as well as for reasoning about food,” said Amanda L. Woodward, the William S. Gray Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago.

Additional authors of the study were Kathleen R. Sullivan, social science analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and Katherine Kinzler, associate professor at Cornell University.

In conducting the study, researchers used a method based on the duration infants look to determine their expectations: Infants tend to look longer at events they find relatively more surprising.

For example, monolingual infants in the study consistently looked longer when actors who spoke the same language disagreed on their food choice. The same was true when actors who spoke different languages agreed on their food choice. The reactions suggest monolingual infants expected food preferences to be consistent within a single linguistic group, but not necessarily the same across groups.

Responses were different for infants raised in bilingual environments. Bilingual infants in the study expected food preferences to be consistent even across linguistic groups, suggesting diverse social experiences may make children more flexible in determining which people like the same foods.

When it came to disgust for a food, infants looked longer when actors disagreed over a food being disgusting, even when the actors came from different social groups. The finding suggests infants might be vigilant toward potentially dangerous foods, and expect all people to avoid foods that are disgusting, regardless of their social group.                                                                                                                    https://news.uchicago.edu/article/2016/08/22/infants-develop-early-understanding-social-nature-food

The issue of childhood obesity is complicated and there are probably many factors. If a child’s family does not model healthy eating habits, it probably will be difficult to change the food preferences of the child.

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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Virginia Tech study: Government-Funded School Meals May Increase Obesity Risk

21 Aug

The “Weight of the Nation” conference focused on the public health aspects of obesity. Obesity is an important issue for schools because many children are obese and aside from health risks, these children are often targets for bullying. In Childhood obesity: Recess is being cut in low-income schools moi said:

The goal of this society should be to raise healthy and happy children who will grow into concerned and involved adults who care about their fellow citizens and environment. In order to accomplish this goal, all children must receive a good basic education and in order to achieve that goal, children must arrive at school, ready to learn. There is an epidemic of childhood obesity and obesity is often prevalent among poor children. The American Heart Association has some great information about Physical Activity and Children                                                            http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Physical-Activity-and-Children_UCM_304053_Article.jsp#.TummU1bfW-c

Education News reported in Government-Funded School Meals May Increase Obesity Risk:

A Virginia Tech researcher has found that government-funded meals in schools are causing financially struggling youth to be at greater risk of becoming overweight.

The free-lunch programs may actually be one of the causes of the nationwide obesity epidemic. Wen You, an associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said:

“While well-intentioned, these government funded school meal programs that are aimed at making kids healthy are in fact making participating students more at risk of being overweight. This study identifies the hardest battles in crafting policy to alleviate children in low-income populations being overweight.”

The study was published in the journal Health Economics.

Professor You discovered that kids who were more apt to be overweight were from families that qualified for and engaged in the school breakfast and lunch programs, with no breaks from the program throughout their elementary and intermediate academic years. These are the kids who eat one-third or one-half of their daily diets at their schools.

“We found that the longer children were in the programs, the higher their risk of being overweight. We also saw the most negative effect of the government-funded school meal programs in the South, the Northeast, and rural areas of the country. The question now is what to do in order to not just fill bellies, but make sure those children consume healthy and nutritious food — or at least not contribute to the obesity epidemic.”

Additionally, the study found that kids in the South experienced the most notable impact on their weight in the fifth grade, and in the Northeast, the largest impact came in the eighth grade….       http://www.educationnews.org/k-12-schools/government-funded-school-meals-may-increase-obesity-risk/

See, Students in government-funded school meal programs at higher risk of being overweight        https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160811085627.htm

Citation:

Students in government-funded school meal programs at higher risk of being overweight

Date:             August 11, 2016

Source:         Virginia Tech

Summary:

Government-funded school meals are putting financially vulnerable children at risk of being overweight, a researcher has found. As many of the millions of kids who eat government-funded breakfasts or lunches head back to school this fall, most of them will participate in meal programs that may be part of the cause of the nation-wide obesity epidemic. Students from low-income families and those who live in the Northeast, South, and rural America are most susceptible to the problem, suggests a new report.

Journal Reference:

  1. Kristen Capogrossi, Wen You. The Influence of School Nutrition Programs on the Weight of Low-Income Children: A Treatment Effect Analysis. Health Economics, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/hec.3378

Here is the press release from Virginia Tech:

Students participating in government-funded school meal programs at higher risk of being overweight, Virginia Tech researcher finds

August 11, 2016

Agricultural and applied economics Associate Professor Wen You discovered that vulnerable populations being fed government-funded school meals were at a higher risk of being overweight.

Government-funded school meals are putting financially vulnerable children at risk of being overweight, a Virginia Tech researcher has found.

As millions of kids who eat government-funded breakfasts or lunches head back to school this fall, most of them will participate in meal programs that may be part of the cause of the nationwide obesity epidemic.

Students from low-income families and those who live in the Northeast, South, and rural America are most susceptible to the problem.

“While well-intentioned, these government funded school meal programs that are aimed at making kids healthy are in fact making participating students more at risk of being overweight,” said Wen You, associate professor of agricultural and applied economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This study identifies the hardest battles in crafting policy to alleviate children in low-income populations being overweight.”

You’s findings were recently published in the journal Health Economics.

You found that those children who were most likely to be overweight came from families who participate in both the school breakfast and lunch programs consistently throughout their elementary and intermediate school years. These children consume one-third to one-half of their daily meals at school. The study examined data collected from 1998 to 2007.

“We found that the longer children were in the programs, the higher their risk of being overweight. We also saw the most negative effect of the government-funded school meal programs in the South, the Northeast, and rural areas of the country,” You said. “The question now is what to do in order to not just fill bellies, but make sure those children consume healthy and nutritious food — or at least not contribute to the obesity epidemic.”

The study also found in the South the most significant impact on child weight was in the fifth grade, and in the Northeast, in the eighth grade.

The study comes on the heels of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which raises the school meals’ nutrition quality standards and the Community Eligibility Provision  that allows schools in high-poverty areas to provide free meals to all students. The new legislation took effect in 2014-2015 school year.

“It’s potentially troubling since even the nutritional targets of previous standards were not being met satisfactorily prior to this new legislation, and now there are potentially millions more kids who could be affected by accessing free school meals,” said You, who did not have data to assess the impact of the newly adopted pieces of legislation in her study.

You and her colleague Kristen Capogrossi, a former doctoral student at Virginia Tech and now an economist at RTI International, examined both long-term and short-term school meal programs participation effects and the specific short-term participation effect of those students whose families may have experienced intermittent poverty and switched participation status along the way.

They found that long-term participation posed the largest risk of being overweight. The study utilized a nationally representative longitudinal data of 21, 260 students who were followed from kindergarten to eighth grade and controlled for the self-selection and income effects to examine school meal programs’ influence on the change in students’ body mass index.

The study utilized statistical methods to match students who were eligible and chose not to participate in the school meal programs with students who chose to participate to ensure comparability. The team also examined a subgroup of students who changed their program participation status along the way and confirmed the short-term risk of being overweight imposed by the school lunch program.

The study reveals the need for improving the school meal programs’ effectiveness at promoting better nutrition among school-age children. Although the research is limited at looking at the school meal programs as a whole, it uncovers the need to go beyond merely raising nutrition standards to comprehensively designing how the programs can enable schools to provide not just healthy food that meets standards, but also healthy food that will be acceptable and appetizing to children.

“Policymakers need to consider all the aspects of school meal programs – from availability and affordability to nutritional content and tastiness. It is important to have extra policy support that will allow funding for programs, such as chef-to-school and farm-to-school, as well as culinary training for cafeteria staff so kids actually enjoy eating what is ultimately prepared for them,” said You. “This study also helps to identify the regions that are most in need and calls for targeted policy design,” she said.

The study was funded in part by the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics Center for Targeted Studies and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Written by Amy Loeffler

Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 12 to include the years that the data was collected.

Contact:

540-231-5417                                                                                                                                            https://vtnews.vt.edu/articles/2016/08/080916-wenyou.html

Physically fit children are not only healthier, but are better able to perform in school.

Related:

Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

School dinner programs: Trying to reduce the number of hungry children
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/28/school-dinner-programs-trying-to-reduce-the-number-of-hungry-children/

Children, body image, bullying, and eating disorders
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/children-body-image-bullying-and-eating-disorders/

The Healthy Schools Coalition fights for school-based efforts to combat obesity
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/05/12/the-healthy-schools-coalition-fights-for-school-based-efforts-to-combat-obesity/

Seattle Research Institute study about outside play
https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/childrens-physical-activity/

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/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
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Journal of Pediatrics: Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices

14 Aug

Moi wrote in Should there be advertising in schools?

Joanna Lin of California Watch has written an interesting article which was posted at Huffington Post. In the article, Corporate Sponsorship In Schools Can Harm Students, Experts Say, Lin describes how cash strapped districts are using ad dollars to make up budget shortfalls.

For schools facing shrinking budgets, a branded scoreboard on the football field or advertisement on a school bus can bring some much-needed cash. But such corporate sponsorships also could undermine students’ critical thinking skills, education policy experts warn.

While commercialism in schools can directly harm students — marketing sodas and candy undermines nutrition curriculums, for instance — it also might discourage students from thinking critically about the brands, messages or topics sponsored in their schools, according to a report released by the National Education Policy Center.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/corporate-sponsorship-in-_n_1084072.html?ref=email_share

The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hair-styling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe.                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/tag/advertising-and-children/

Science Daily reported in Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices:

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view between 1,000 and 2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown that there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and the amount and type of food consumed. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Twenty-three children, 8-14 years old, rated 60 food items on how healthy or tasty they were. Dr. Amanda Bruce and researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and University of Missouri-Kansas City then studied the children’s brain activity while watching food and non-food commercials and undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). According to Dr. Bruce, “For brain analyses, our primary focus was on the brain region most active during reward valuation, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.” During the brain scan, children were asked whether they wanted to eat the food items that were shown immediately after the commercials.

The researchers found that, overall, the children’s decisions were driven by tastiness rather than healthfulness. However, taste was even more important to the children after watching food commercials compared with non-food commercials; faster decision times (i.e., how quickly the children decided whether they wanted to eat the food item shown) also were observed after watching food commercials. Additionally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortices of the children were significantly more active after watching food commercials….                                                     https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160812073647.htm

Citation:

Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices

Date:        August 12, 2016

Source:    Elsevier Health Sciences

Summary:

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view 1,000-2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and amount and type of food consumed. In a new study, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda S. Bruce, Stephen W. Pruitt, Oh-Ryeong Ha, J. Bradley C. Cherry, Timothy R. Smith, Jared M. Bruce, Seung-Lark Lim. The Influence of Televised Food Commercials on Children’s Food Choices: Evidence from Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activations. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.067

Here is the press release from Elsevier:

Research And Journals

Study of Brain Activity Shows that Food Commercials Influence Children’s Food Choices

Cincinnati, OH, August 12, 2016

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view between 1,000 and 2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown that there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and the amount and type of food consumed.  In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Twenty-three children, 8-14 years old, rated 60 food items on how healthy or tasty they were. Dr. Amanda Bruce and researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and University of Missouri-Kansas City then studied the children’s brain activity while watching food and non-food commercials and undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). According to Dr. Bruce, “For brain analyses, our primary focus was on the brain region most active during reward valuation, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.” During the brain scan, children were asked whether they wanted to eat the food items that were shown immediately after the commercials.

The researchers found that, overall, the children’s decisions were driven by tastiness rather than healthfulness.  However, taste was even more important to the children after watching food commercials compared with non-food commercials; faster decision times (i.e., how quickly the children decided whether they wanted to eat the food item shown) also were observed after watching food commercials.  Additionally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortices of the children were significantly more active after watching food commercials.

Food marketing has been cited as a significant factor in food choices, overeating, and obesity in children and adolescents.  The results of this study show that watching food commercials may change the way children value taste, increasing the potential for children to make faster, more impulsive food choices.  Notes Dr. Bruce, “Food marketing may systematically alter the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of children’s food decisions.”

Notes for editors
The article is “The Influence of Televised Food Commercials on Children’s Food Choices: Evidence from Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activations,” by Amanda S. Bruce, PhD, Stephen W. Pruitt, PhD, Oh-Ryeong Ha, PhD, Bradley C. Cherry, JD, Timothy R. Smith, MD, Jared M. Bruce, PhD, and Seung-Lark Lim, PhD (doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.067). It appears in The Journal of Pediatrics (2016), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Becky Lindeman at +1 513 636 7140 or journal.pediatrics@cchmc.org to obtain copies.

About The Journal of Pediatrics
The Journal of Pediatrics is a primary reference for the science and practice of pediatrics and its subspecialties. This authoritative resource of original, peer-reviewed articles oriented toward clinical practice helps physicians stay abreast of the latest and ever-changing developments in pediatric medicine. The Journal of Pediatrics is ranked 6th out of 120 pediatric medical journals (2015 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters). www.jpeds.com

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Becky Lindeman
Journal of Pediatrics
+1 513 636 7140
journal.pediatrics@cchmc.org

Advertising, if it is allowed in schools, must be handled with great care. It is not just the ads, it is the values that the individual ad and the totality of all ads represent. It is imperative that schools look at their values before approving ads. For example, are the ads promoting healthy nutrition and eating habits? Are the ads promoting an unrealistic body image for adolescents? Are the ads promoting a purely materialistic lifestyle which encourages purchases of high priced clothing, electronics, or vehicles which are not in line with the income of most children? Are the ads in line with the school or district’s mission statement?

It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society.

Our goal should be:

A Healthy Child In A Healthy Family Who Attends A Healthy School In A Healthy Neighborhood. ©

Resources:

NEA Today: Cash-Strapped Schools Open Their Doors to Advertising http://neatoday.org/2011/11/03/cash-strapped-schools-open-their-doors-to-advertising/

Yale Rudd Center for Food & Obesity

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do.aspx?id=154

Junk Food Ads Tips

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/junk-food-ads-tips

Media and Technology Resources for Educators
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators

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

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
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Brigham and Women’s Hospital study: Breastfeeding associated with better brain development, neurocognitive outcomes

31 Jul

Most medical personnel probably advise new mothers to breastfeed their babies. Alexandra Sifferlin wrote in the Time article, Why New Mothers Stop Breast-Feeding:

While nearly all mothers start breast-feeding their newborns, about half stop after a few weeks. The latest study explains why.
A team of researchers conducted over 2,700 interviews with 532 first-time mothers multiple times after they gave birth, starting 24 hours after delivery and ending at 60 days postpartum, about their breast-feeding choices. They report in the journal Pediatrics that women who worried from the start about their ability to nurse their infants were more likely to switch to formula sooner than those who didn’t have these concerns.
By the third day after delivering, over half of these women were worried about their babies’ ability to latch on, while 44% were concerned about breast-feeding pain, and 40% about their capacity to produce enough milk to nourish their infants.
These results support earlier studies that found that new moms often don’t have proper support and education about breast-feeding, which can lead to anxiety and a greater likelihood of stopping nursing. In January, TIME reported that hospitals may not offer women the resources they need to encourage women and address their anxiety…
http://healthland.time.com/2013/09/23/why-new-mothers-stop-breastfeeding/

See, Is the Medical Community Failing Breastfeeding Moms? http://healthland.time.com/2013/01/02/is-the-medical-community-failing-breastfeeding-moms/
There are some very good reasons why mothers should breastfeed their babies.

UNICEF Mozambique has a concise statement regarding the benefits of breastfeeding:

  1. Breastmilk alone is the best food and drink for an infant for the first six months of life. No other food or drink, not even water, is usually needed during this period. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/1.html 2. Newborn babies should be given to the mother to hold immediately after delivery. They should have skin-to-skin contact with the mother and begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/2.html 3. Almost every mother can breastfeed successfully. Breastfeeding the baby frequently causes production of more milk. The baby should breastfeed at least eight times daily, day and night, and on demand. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/3.html 4. Breastfeeding helps protect babies and young children against dangerous illnesses. It also creates a special bond between mother and child. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/4.html 5. Bottle feeding and giving a baby breastmilk substitutes such as infant formula or animal milk can threaten the baby’s health and survival. If a woman cannot breastfeed her infant, the baby can be fed expressed breastmilk or, if necessary, a quality breastmilk substitute from an ordinary clean cup. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/5.html 6. If a woman is infected with HIV, there is a risk that she can pass the infection to her infant through breastfeeding. In the first six months, this risk is much greater if the infant is fed both breastmilk and other liquids and foods than if fed breastmilk alone. Therefore, it is recommended that the baby receives breastmilk alone for the first six months, unless it is acceptable, feasible, affordable, sustainable and safe to give breastmilk substitutes (infant formula) exclusively. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/6.html 7. A woman employed away from her home can continue to breastfeed her child. She should breastfeed as often as possible when she is with the infant and express her breastmilk when they are apart so that another caregiver can feed it to the baby in a clean and safe way. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/7.html 8. After 6 months of age, when babies begin to eat foods, breastfeeding should continue for up to two years and beyond because it is an important source of nutrition, energy and protection from illness. http://www.factsforlifeglobal.org/04/8.html For more information, please contact: Arild Drivdal, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, tel. (+258) 21 481 100; email: maputo@unicef.org http://www.unicef.org/mozambique/media_9256.html

See, the Benefits of Breastfeeding https://www.llli.org/nb/nbbenefits.html

Science Daily reported in Breastfeeding associated with better brain development, neurocognitive outcomes:

A new study, which followed 180 pre-term infants from birth to age seven, found that babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function.

The findings were published online in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Our data support current recommendations for using mother’s milk to feed preterm babies during their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. This is not only important for moms, but also for hospitals, employers, and friends and family members, so that they can provide the support that’s needed during this time when mothers are under stress and working so hard to produce milk for their babies,” says Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, a researcher and physician in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author.

Researchers studied infants born before 30 weeks gestation that were enrolled in the Victorian Infant Brain Studies cohort from 2001-2003. They determined the number of days that infants received breast milk as more than 50 percent of of their nutritional intake from birth to 28 days of life. Additionally, researchers examined data related to regional brain volumes measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at each baby’s term equivalent age and at seven years old, and also looked at cognitive (IQ, reading, mathematics, attention, working memory, language, visual perception) and motor testing at age seven.

The findings show that, accross all babies, infants who received predominantly breast milk on more days during their NICU hospitalization had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume, an area important for processing and transmitting neural signals to other parts of the brain, at term equivalent age, and by age seven, performed better in IQ, mathematics, working memory, and motor function tests. Overall, ingesting more human milk correlated with better outcomes, including larger regional brain volumes at term equivalent and improved cognitive outcomes at age 7….                                                                                                                                                 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160729092524.htm

Citation:

Breastfeeding associated with better brain development, neurocognitive outcomes

Date:         July 29, 2016

Source:     Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Summary:

A new study, which followed 180 pre-term infants from birth to age seven, found that babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function.

Journal Reference:

  1. Mandy B. Belfort, MD, MPH et al. Breast Milk Feeding, Brain Development, and Neurocognitive Outcomes: A 7-Year Longitudinal Study in Infants Born at Less Than 30 Weeks’ Gestation. The Journal of Pediatrics, July 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.045

Here is the press release:

Breastfeeding Associated with Better Brain Development And Neurocognitive Outcomes

Published: July 29, 2016.
Released by Brigham and Women’s Hospital

A new study, which followed 180 pre-term infants from birth to age seven, found that babies who were fed more breast milk within the first 28 days of life had had larger volumes of certain regions of the brain at term equivalent and had better IQs, academic achievement, working memory, and motor function.

The findings were published online Friday, July 29, in The Journal of Pediatrics.

“Our data support current recommendations for using mother’s milk to feed preterm babies during their neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) hospitalization. This is not only important for moms, but also for hospitals, employers, and friends and family members, so that they can provide the support that’s needed during this time when mothers are under stress and working so hard to produce milk for their babies,” says Mandy Brown Belfort, MD, a researcher and physician in the Department of Newborn Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and lead author.

Researchers studied infants born before 30 weeks gestation that were enrolled in the Victorian Infant Brain Studies cohort from 2001-2003. They determined the number of days that infants received breast milk as more than 50 percent of of their nutritional intake from birth to 28 days of life. Additionally, researchers examined data related to regional brain volumes measured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at each baby’s term equivalent age and at seven years old, and also looked at cognitive (IQ, reading, mathematics, attention, working memory, language, visual perception) and motor testing at age seven.

The findings show that, accross all babies, infants who received predominantly breast milk on more days during their NICU hospitalization had larger deep nuclear gray matter volume, an area important for processing and transmitting neural signals to other parts of the brain, at term equivalent age, and by age seven, performed better in IQ, mathematics, working memory, and motor function tests. Overall, ingesting more human milk correlated with better outcomes, including larger regional brain volumes at term equivalent and improved cognitive outcomes at age 7.

“Many mothers of preterm babies have difficulty providing breast milk for their babies, and we need to work hard to ensure that these mothers have the best possible support systems in place to maximize their ability to meet their own feeding goals. It’s also important to note that there are so many factors that influence a baby’s development, with breast milk being just one,” says Belfort.

Researchers note some limitations on the study, including that it was observational. Although they adjusted for factors such as differences in maternal education, some of the effects could possibly be explained by other factors that were not measured, such as greater maternal involvement in other aspects of infant care.

Belfort adds that future studies using other MRI techniques could provide more information about the specific ways in which human milk intake may influence the structure and function of the brain. Future work is also needed to untangle the role of breastfeeding from other types of maternal care and nurturing on development of the preterm baby’s brain.

There are disadvantages for bottle fed babies. The University of Wisconsin Health Center succinctly discussed the disadvantages of bottle feeding in Bottle-Feeding: Disadvantages for Babies:

Bottle-Feeding: Disadvantages for Babies
Topic Overview
Infant formulas take two times longer for a baby to digest than breast milk. The slower digestion of infant formula can affect:
Feeding frequency. Babies who take infant formula usually want to feed less often than babies who are breast-feeding.
Sleeping patterns. Babies who take infant formula may sleep longer at night once they are about 2 months old. But babies who are breast-fed usually catch up shortly after, at about 3 to 5 months of age.
Bowel movements. Infant formula causes formed, brown stools that have a noticeable odor. Breast milk causes loose, yellow stools that have less odor.
Breast milk, unlike formula, has antibodiesClick here to see more information.. Breast-feeding may lower your child’s risk for many types of infections and allergies. Breast milk may also help protect your child from some health problems, such as eczema, asthma, and diabetes. For more information, see the topic Breast-Feeding.
Related Information
Last Revised: August 1, 2011
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD – Pediatrics & Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, MDCM, CSPQ, FRCPC – Pediatrics
http://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/special/bottlefeeding-disadvantages-for-babies/tj8029.html

See, Breast-Feeding vs. Bottle-Feeding http://psychcentral.com/lib/breast-feeding-vs-bottle-feeding/0001228
Researchers are looking at the link between baby formula and adult obesity.

Kathleen Miles reported in the Huffington Post article, Baby Formula May Increase Risk Of Adult Obesity, Diseases, Study Says:

Formula-fed babies may grow too quickly and may be more susceptible than breastfed babies to obesity and other chronic diseases later in life, a new study says.
Five formula-fed baby rhesus monkeys grew faster and larger than five breastfed rhesus monkey babies, and had higher insulin levels after just one week, lead study author Carolyn Slupsky, a researcher at University of California, Davis, told The Huffington Post. The study was funded by Fonterra Research and Development Centre, an arm of the New Zealand-based global dairy giant, which makes baby formula, and was published in the June issue of Journal of Proteome Research.
“This is the fist time somebody has glimpsed into the mechanism of what’s going on with formula,” Slupsky said. The results, she said, should be “a call to arms to the formula companies to come up with better formulas that are going to ensure the health of our future population.”
The UC Davis researchers closely monitored the monkey babies’ weight and feeding, and took weekly blood and urine samples for three months.
In addition to having higher insulin and amino acid levels, the formula-fed babies had microbes in their digestive tracts that were “completely different” than those in the breastfed babies, the study says. This may put formula-fed babies at a higher risk of a wide range of health issues, such as obesity, diabetes, liver problems and cardiovascular disease, Slupsky said.
Part of the difference may be explained by an excess of protein in formula milk. Human milk is 8 percent to 9 percent protein, and rhesus monkey milk is 11.6 percent protein. But formula has 18.3 percent protein. “The quality of protein in formula is not the same as in human milk, so formula companies decided to add more of it to make up for any deficits,” Slupsky explained. “But that may be problematic.”
A study in 2010 suggested that parents may overfeed bottle-fed babies, while breastfed babies limit their intake because they have to work hard to get it. Slupsky said she does not think that was a factor in her study because the formula-fed baby monkeys fed themselves by sucking on a bottle when they were hungry.
Slupsky said researchers at UC Davis are working with formula companies to create formula that more closely resembles human breast milk.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/12/baby-formula-disease-study_n_3728706.html

Citation:

Early Diet Impacts Infant Rhesus Gut Microbiome, Immunity, and Metabolism
Aifric O’Sullivan ‡§, Xuan He ‡, Elizabeth M. S. McNiven ‡, Neill W. Haggarty , Bo Lönnerdal ‡, and Carolyn M. Slupsky *‡§
‡Department of Nutrition, §Department of Food Science and Technology, One Shields Avenue,University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, United States
Fonterra Ingredients Innovation, Fonterra Co-operative Group, Private Bag 11029, Fitzherbert Dairy Farm Road, Palmerston North, New Zealand
J. Proteome Res., 2013, 12 (6), pp 2833–2845
DOI: 10.1021/pr4001702
Publication Date (Web): May 7, 2013
Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society
*E-mail: cslupsky@ucdavis.edu. Ph: (530) 752-6804. Fax:(530) 752-8966.
http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/pr4001702?journalCode=jprobs

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/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Minnesota study: Transit and training crucial to connecting unemployed with jobs

30 Jul

Among the barriers to employment cited by CAREERwise  Education is transportation:

Common Barriers to Employment

  • Age

  • Criminal record

  • Disabilities

  • Disadvantaged background

  • Domestic violence

  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse

  • Education

  • Employer biases

  • Has a child with special needs

  • Housing issues or homelessness

  • Job search skills

  • Lacks basic and employability skills

  • Limited English proficiency

  • Long-term welfare recipient

  • Mental illness

  • Needs training

  • Needs child care assistance

  • No high school diploma

  • No transportation

  • Gaps in employment                                                http://www.careerwise.mnscu.edu/jobs/barriers-employment.html

Dean Baker wrote in How to Fight Poverty Through Full Employment:

One of the most effective ways to combat poverty among current and future generations is to maintain a full employment economy. The point should be straightforward: when the labor market is strong, or “tight,” it offers increased employment opportunities for those at the bottom. Disadvantaged workers are not only more likely to find employment in a tight labor market, they are also in a better position to secure higher wages as employers are forced to compete for labor. This can allow millions of workers the opportunity to raise themselves and their families out of poverty…. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/35279-how-to-fight-poverty-through-full-employment

See, Transportation, Jobs, and Economic Growth   http://www.accessmagazine.org/articles/spring-2011/transportation-jobs-economic-growth/

Science Daily reported in Transit and training crucial to connecting unemployed with jobs:

According to a new University of Minnesota study, the mismatch between unemployed workers and job vacancies is a serious problem in the Twin Cities region and it appears to have worsened since the turn of the millennium. The biggest concentrations of unemployed workers lack fast or frequent transit service to some of the richest concentrations of job vacancies, particularly vacancies in the south and southwest metro.

The new study analyzes such employment mismatches in the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area and examines the potential of a new approach that integrates transit planning and workforce development.

“Transit plays a crucial role in connecting the unemployed with job opportunities, but it could be even more effective if efforts to get the unemployed to those job vacancies were better coordinated with efforts to give them the skills they need for those job vacancies,” said principal investigator Yingling Fan, who conducted the study with research fellow Andrew Guthrie. “Our research lays out an approach to reconcile those mismatches by coordinating transit planning, job training and job placement services.”

Disadvantaged job seekers often may be qualified for many entry-level jobs but have no way of reaching employment centers, which frequently are in the suburbs. What’s more, these job seekers may be able to reach many nearby jobs easily but lack needed qualifications….              https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160729111302.htm

Citation:

Transit and training crucial to connecting unemployed with jobs

Date:         July 29, 2016

Source:     University of Minnesota

Summary:

The mismatch between unemployed workers and job vacancies is a serious problem in the Twin Cities region and it appears to have worsened since the turn of the millennium, new research indicates. The biggest concentrations of unemployed workers lack fast or frequent transit service to some of the richest concentrations of job vacancies, particularly vacancies in the south and southwest metro.

Here is the press release from the University of Minnesota:

Transit and training crucial to connecting unemployed with jobs

June 27, 2016

Contacts

Transit and training crucial to connecting Twin Cities unemployed with job opportunities. Disadvantaged job seekers often may be qualified for many entry-level jobs but have no way of reaching employment centers, which frequently are in the suburbs. What’s more, these job seekers may be able to reach many nearby jobs easily but lack needed qualifications.

According to a new University of Minnesota study, the mismatch between unemployed workers and job vacancies is a serious problem in the Twin Cities region and it appears to have worsened since the turn of the millennium. The biggest concentrations of unemployed workers lack fast or frequent transit service to some of the richest concentrations of job vacancies, particularly vacancies in the south and southwest metro.

The new study analyzes such employment mismatches in the Twin Cities seven-county metropolitan area and examines the potential of a new approach that integrates transit planning and workforce development.

“Transit plays a crucial role in connecting the unemployed with job opportunities, but it could be even more effective if efforts to get the unemployed to those job vacancies were better coordinated with efforts to give them the skills they need for those job vacancies,” said principal investigator Yingling Fan, who conducted the study with research fellow Andrew Guthrie. “Our research lays out an approach to reconcile those mismatches by coordinating transit planning, job training and job placement services.”

Disadvantaged job seekers often may be qualified for many entry-level jobs but have no way of reaching employment centers, which frequently are in the suburbs. What’s more, these job seekers may be able to reach many nearby jobs easily but lack needed qualifications.

Efforts to address these mismatches often focus on transportation—such as improved or specialized public transit services—and skill-building and occupational training programs. Policymakers have generally separated the two.

“The Twin Cities region is in the midst of major expansion of the transit system and it will have consequences in terms of travel patterns and development patterns for decades,” Fan said. “That allows coordinated job training and transit planning efforts to make a big, long-lasting impact.”

The research team’s policy recommendations center on finding “sweet spots” for coordinated transit planning and workforce development and creating a future transit system to serve the needs of disadvantaged workers.

A key element of the study involves GIS maps developed by the researchers showing the concentrations of the unemployed, overlaid with patterns of job vacancies, for the entire region, between 2001 and 2013. They compared transit-accessible job vacancies for specific occupations to determine mismatch patterns.

For example, a band of cities with the highest job vacancies in manufacturing—jobs that have comparatively lower educational requirements—surround Minneapolis to the west and north. The highest concentrations of unemployment, however, are in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The team then developed multiple transit planning, job creation, and workforce development policy scenarios, generating similar maps for each.

The study was sponsored by Hennepin County, the Jay and Rose Phillips Family Foundation of Minnesota, and the McKnight Foundation.

“McKnight Foundation focuses on our low-income people and places that have been left out of the picture previously. Dr. Fan’s research pulls these areas together so policy-makers can see how policy can connect, reinforce, support, and provide benefit to the people that we care about,” said Eric Muschler, program director with the McKnight Foundation.

Fan, an associate professor with the University of Minnesota Humphrey School of Public Affairs, collaborates with the Center for Transportation Studies as a faculty scholar. CTS is nationally renown for developing, fostering, and spreading innovation in transportation.

More about this research, including a two-page research brief and the full research report, is available at cts.umn.edu/research/featured/transitandworkforce.

To visit the research website, click here   http://www.cts.umn.edu/research/featured/transitandworkforce

The Atlantic article Stranded: How America’s Failing Public Transportation Increases Inequality:

That means America’s inadequate public transit leaves many Americans hoping to better themselves stuck—both metaphorically and quite literally.

There is no silver bullet. Kanter says that creating rapid bus service could help increase efficiency and could be completed fairly quickly and require fewer funds than, say, laying rails. And as my colleague Alana Semuels wrote in a recent piece, more public-private partnership may be a solution that helps cash-strapped public systems increase their reach. According to Kanter, the problem has to be addressed, and quickly, especially in the face of growing economic disparity. “We need to think about how important forms of transportation are to the economy and quality of life. And we have to reinvest.”                                                                                            http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/05/stranded-how-americas-failing-public-transportation-increases-inequality/393419/

Without affordable housing and practical and affordable transportation choices, many will remain stuck in poverty.

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City University London study: Infants prefer toys typed to their gender

24 Jul

Some in society are pushing the concept of gender-neutral.  Alina Tugend wrote Engendering Sons: Is It Doable—or Even Desirable—to Raise Gender-Neutral Children?

Overcoming gender disparities may require us to take a more nuanced approach to problem solving. For example, if we want more girls and women, who are now woefully underrepresented, to take more science, technology, engineering, and math classes, and we agree that it’s not innate ability holding them back, the answer might be to show scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to be attractive and caring rather than nerdy. Or change the physical environment of classrooms and laboratories to make them more appealing to girls.

Then again, does this counter or reinforce gender stereotypes? Good people disagree.

One thing that’s easy to forget, as Janet Hyde points out, is that variations within genders are greater than variations between them. I see the truth of that in my own home. Both my boys are into sports, but one is far more talkative and intellectually curious, while the other ranks higher on intuition and emotional intelligence. If they were a boy and a girl, it would be easy to attribute these differences to gender. As it is, I guess I’ll have to blame—or credit—the vast and ever-shifting mishmash of biology, parenting, peer influence, and culture.                                                                                      http://alumni.berkeley.edu/california-magazine/winter-2014-gender-assumptions/engendering-sons-it-doable-or-even-desirable

One study points to the idea that gender concept starts early.

Science Daily reported in Infants prefer toys typed to their gender:

Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL.

The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated.

The research therefore suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.

To investigate the gender preferences seen with toys, the researchers observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The toys used in the study were a doll, a pink teddy bear and a cooking pot for girls, while for boys a car, a blue teddy, a digger and a ball were used.

The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N=40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N=29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N=32).

Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys….

“Our results show that there are significant sex differences across all three age groups, with the finding that children in the youngest group, who were aged between 9-17months when infants are able to crawl or walk and therefore make independent selections, being particularly interesting; the ball was a favourite choice for the youngest boys and the youngest girls favoured the cooking pot.”                                                                                                                     https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160715114739.htm

Citation:

Infants prefer toys typed to their gender, says study

Date:        July 15, 2016

Source:    City University

Summary:

Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study. The research suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.

Journal Reference:

  1. Brenda K. Todd, John A. Barry, Sara A. O. Thommessen. Preferences for ‘Gender-typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months. Infant and Child Development, 2016; DOI: 10.1002/icd.1986

View Full Article (HTML) Enhanced Article (HTML) Get PDF (128K)

Keywords:

  • sex differences;
  • toy preference;
  • play;
  • infancy;
  • gender differences

Many studies have found that a majority of boys and girls prefer to play with toys that are typed to their own gender but there is still uncertainty about the age at which such sex differences first appear, and under what conditions. Applying a standardized research protocol and using a selection of gender-typed toys, we observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N = 40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N = 29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N  = 32). Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed with regard to biological predispositions, cognitive development and environmental influences on toy preference. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Here is the press release from City University:

Infants prefer toys typed to their gender, says study

Research suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys

First published Wednesday, 20th July, 2016 • by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL.

The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated.

The research therefore suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.

To investigate the gender preferences seen with toys, the researchers observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The toys used in the study were a doll, a pink teddy bear and a cooking pot for girls, while for boys a car, a blue teddy, a digger and a ball were used.

The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N=40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N=29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N=32).

Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys.

Speaking about the study, Dr Brenda Todd, a senior lecturer in psychology at City University said:

“Sex differences in play and toy choice are of interest in relation to child care, educational practice and developmental theory. Historically there has been uncertainty about the origins of boys’ and girls’ preferences for play with toys typed to their own sex and the developmental processes that underlie this behaviour. As a result we set out to find out whether a preference occurs and at what age it develops.

“Biological differences give boys an aptitude for mental rotation and more interest and ability in spatial processing, while girls are more interested in looking at faces and better at fine motor skills and manipulating objects. When we studied toy preference in a familiar nursery setting with parents absent, the differences we saw were consistent with these aptitudes. Although there was variability between individual children, we found that, in general, boys played with male-typed toys more than female-typed toys and girls played with female-typed toys more than male-typed toys.

“Our results show that there are significant sex differences across all three age groups, with the finding that children in the youngest group, who were aged between 9–17 months when infants are able to crawl or walk and therefore make independent selections, being particularly interesting; the ball was a favourite choice for the youngest boys and the youngest girls favoured the cooking pot.”

‘Preferences for ‘Gender-typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months’ by Brenda K. Todd et al is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development. View the full article   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/icd.1986/full

Melanie Phillips of the Spectator wrote in It’s dangerous and wrong to tell all children they’re ‘gender fluid’:

In short, the political class is obsessed by gender issues. I trust you are, too. Surely you can reel off the differences between trans, intersex, polygender, asexual, gender–neutral and genderqueer? Do keep up. We’re all gender fluid now, no?

No. Gender is not fluid. What is fluid, however, is the language.

The notion that gender can be deconstructed in accordance with ideology started in the 1970s when (ironically, in view of the Greer row) it was promoted by feminists for whom gender was not a biological fact but a social construct. But it’s not. Gender derives from a complex relationship between biological sex and behaviour. And nature and nurture are not easily separable. Some unfortunates feel they are trapped in the wrong gender. Surgery may or may not resolve this confusion. Many who change sex still don’t feel comfortable; tragically, some even commit suicide.

Crucially, however, such people are desperate to make that change. That’s because for trans people gender is certainly not irrelevant but is of all–consuming importance. Yet Miller and her committee would deprive them of the ability to announce their new sexual identity on passports or other official documents.

Is this not, by Miller’s own logic, cruelty to trans people? But of course logic doesn’t come into this. Gender politics is all about subjective feelings. It has nothing to do with fairness or equality. It embodies instead an extreme egalitarianism which holds that any evidence of difference is a form of prejudice….                                                                                                                            http://www.spectator.co.uk/2016/01/its-dangerous-and-wrong-to-tell-all-children-theyre-gender-fluid/

The only that is certain is the PC class will hate the City University study.

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