Tag Archives: Children’s Health

Queens University Belfast study: New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods

7 May

The U.S. has a child obesity problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Child Obesity facts:

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2
In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1
Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.4
Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.5,6
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm

Moi discussed child nutrition in Dr. Wilda Reviews book: Super Baby Foods https://drwilda.com/tag/baby-food/

Science Daily reported in New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods:

In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170504161538.htm

Citation:

New research shows illegal levels of arsenic found in baby foods
Date: May 4, 2017
Source: Queen’s University Belfast
Summary:
Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, new research concludes.
Journal Reference:
1. Antonio J. Signes-Pastor, Jayne V. Woodside, Paul McMullan, Karen Mullan, Manus Carey, Margaret R. Karagas, Andrew A. Meharg. Levels of infants’ urinary arsenic metabolites related to formula feeding and weaning with rice products exceeding the EU inorganic arsenic standard. PLOS ONE, 2017; 12 (5): e0176923 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0176923

Here is the press release from Queens University:

Queen’s Research Shows Illegal Levels of Arsenic Found in Baby Foods
4/05/2017

Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast have found that almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU
In January 2016, the EU imposed a maximum limit of inorganic arsenic on manufacturers in a bid to mitigate associated health risks. Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s have found that little has changed since this law was passed and that 50 per cent of baby rice food products still contain an illegal level of inorganic arsenic.
Professor Meharg, lead author of the study and Professor of Plant and Soil Sciences at Queen’s, said: “This research has shown direct evidence that babies are exposed to illegal levels of arsenic despite the EU regulation to specifically address this health challenge. Babies are particularly vulnerable to the damaging effects of arsenic that can prevent the healthy development of a baby’s growth, IQ and immune system to name but a few.”
Rice has, typically, ten times more inorganic arsenic than other foods and chronic exposure can cause a range of health problems including developmental problems, heart disease, diabetes and nervous system damage.
As babies are rapidly growing they are at a sensitive stage of development and are known to be more susceptible to the damaging effects of arsenic, which can inhibit their development and cause long-term health problems. Babies and young children under the age of five also eat around three times more food on a body weight basis than adults, which means that, relatively, they have three times greater exposures to inorganic arsenic from the same food item.
The research findings, published in the PLOS ONE journal today, compared the level of arsenic in urine samples among infants who were breast-fed or formula-fed before and after weaning. A higher concentration of arsenic was found in formula-fed infants, particularly among those who were fed non-dairy formulas which includes rice-fortified formulas favoured for infants with dietary requirements such as wheat or dairy intolerance. The weaning process further increased infants’ exposure to arsenic, with babies five times more exposed to arsenic after the weaning process, highlighting the clear link between rice-based baby products and exposure to arsenic.
In this new study, researchers at Queen’s also compared baby food products containing rice before and after the law was passed and discovered that higher levels of arsenic were in fact found in the products since the new regulations were implemented. Nearly 75 per cent of the rice-based products specifically marketed for infants and young children contained more than the standard level of arsenic stipulated by the EU law.
Rice and rice-based products are a popular choice for parents, widely used during weaning, and to feed young children, due to its availability, nutritional value and relatively low allergic potential.
Professor Meharg explained: “Products such as rice-cakes and rice cereals are common in babies’ diets. This study found that almost three-quarters of baby crackers, specifically marketed for children exceeded the maximum amount of arsenic.”
Previous research led by Professor Meharg highlighted how a simple process of percolating rice could remove up to 85 per cent of arsenic. Professor Meharg adds: “Simple measures can be taken to dramatically reduce the arsenic in these products so there is no excuse for manufacturers to be selling baby food products with such harmful levels of this carcinogenic substance.
“Manufacturers should be held accountable for selling products that are not meeting the required EU standard. Companies should publish the levels of arsenic in their products to prevent those with illegal amounts from being sold. This will enable consumers to make an informed decision, aware of any risks associated before consuming products containing arsenic.”
Find out more about the ground-breaking research taking place at the The Institute for Global Food Security.
Media inquiries to Suzanne Lagan, Communications Office at Queen’s University Belfast on Tel: 028 90 97 5292 or email suzanne.lagan@qub.ac.uk

Parents may wish to consider making their own baby food.

WebMD offers advice on preparing baby food in Starter Guide to Baby Food & Nutrition http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-food-nutrition-9/making-baby-food?page=3

Parenting offers the following advice in 10 Best Ways to Feed Your Baby:

Here are 10 strategies that, from that first spoonful of solids, will help you to raise a child who will learn to eat—and love—everything.

1 Time those first bites right “The best time to feed your baby solids for the first time is when he’s feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed—in the morning or right after a nap,” says Karen Ansel R.D., a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (ADA) in Long Island, New York, and co-author of the upcoming book The Baby and Toddler Cookbook: Fresh, Homemade Foods for a Healthy Start….
2 Bombard her with variety After your baby has gotten used to the act of eating, introduce new foods rapidly, suggests Dr. Greene. Be creative….
3 Try, try again The carrots were a bust—so try again in a couple of days. Repeat as necessary. Studies say about three out of four moms throw in the towel after their baby refuses a new food five or fewer times. The problem is, research shows it can take up to 15 tries before a child will accept a new food….
4 Spice things up “There’s no research that says we have to give babies a bland diet,” says Jeannette Bessinger, co-founder of realfoodmoms.com and author of Great Expectations: Best Food for Your Baby & Toddler. “Once they’re enjoying a food plain, introduce it with mild herbs and spices.” Blend cilantro into avocado, nutmeg into sweet potatoes, cinnamon into apples, suggests Tracy…..
5 Help him connect to food Hand your baby an avocado and say “avocado.” If learning and using any signs with your baby, also make the sign for it. “Naming foods—and signing them—helps kids recognize those foods really early on,” says Dr. Greene….
6 Keep her close in the kitchen If you’ve ever felt guilty for parking your baby in an exersaucer while you made dinner, hear this: It may make her a better eater. She sees your relationship with food; she smells the garlic roasting, the soup simmering, which helps build that familiarity with foods. Get your child involved in cooking early…..
7 Sit down together Bringing your baby to the dinner table allows him to see you enjoying food. Plus, research links regular family meals with a slew of benefits for kids, including higher self-esteem and better academic performance. If eating together Monday through Friday is impossible, do it on the weekends…..
8 Be a supermodel Research shows clearly that when it comes to encouraging your child to eat something, it’s what you do—not what you say—that matters. So what if you are a picky eater? Don’t call attention to it, advises Ansel….
9 Make meals enticing When you’re dealing with a “discriminating” toddler, it’s tempting to push her to eat some broccoli or even to bribe her with dessert. Instead, encourage her to eat things by making them look delicious—and fun. Serve foods in colorful bowls. Offer dips—try hummus, yogurt and cottage cheese. Make faces on pancakes and sandwiches with cut-up fruits and vegetables….
10 Relax So what if your neighbor’s toddler eats sushi? This is not a competition. “All kids are different, and that includes their taste preferences,” notes Johnson….
Superfoods to make part of your menu:

One of the main reasons we want our kids to love eating everything is that a varied diet delivers a range of healthful nutrients. Here are three nutritious foods your kid should eat—but might be resistant to trying—and delicious serving suggestions from chef Geoff Tracy, co-author of Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler.

Fish is a good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for babies’ growing brains….
Lentils provide fiber, protein and iron, an important nutrient for infants and toddlers….
Green vegetables deliver a variety of nutrients, including beta carotene (important for a healthy immune system) and folate (a B vitamin that supports the healthy growth of new cells)….
http://www.parenting.com/article/best-ways-to-feed-baby

Many hospitals offer free or low-cost parenting classes. Love-to-know offers this advice in Parenting Classes in My Area:

How to Find Parenting Classes in Your Area
The approach you take to finding nearby courses may be dictated somewhat by the area in which you live; the denser the population, the more classes will be available.
Hospital Outreach Programs
Many hospitals cultivate partnerships with the community by offering a variety of outreach and educational programs. Parenting classes are sometimes offered. Many of these courses focus on how to parent newborns and how to help children adjust to a new baby in the home. In addition, parenting classes that are held at hospitals often include CPR classes and other first aid instruction. For more information, or to find out if the hospital or hospitals in your area offer any type of parenting class, contact the hospital and keep an eye on your local newspaper. Hospitals typically promote outreach and educational programs in the newspapers and online; check the hospital’s website as well.
Doctor’s Advice
In many cases, pediatricians and family physicians are quite knowledgeable regarding family programs in the area. Contact your doctor and your child’s pediatrician to find out if any classes or programs currently exist. In addition, sometimes several doctors who run a practice together may promote community seminars that focus on a variety of topics, including family related subjects.
Health Departments
People often overlook the wide variety of resources available at their local health departments. From free and reduced-fee vaccinations to physical exams and educational seminars, the health department’s goal is to serve the public. Contact your local health department to find out if it offers any parenting classes. In addition, ask to be placed on the health department’s mailing list, if available, to learn about all of the programs that offered throughout the year.
YMCA and Other Health Clubs
The YMCA, as well as other health clubs in the area, is often an excellent source for family activities. While these classes will probably charge a fee, there may be financial help available for those who can’t afford to pay but are in need of a parenting class in the area.
School Guidance Programs
Many schools reach out to the community through a variety of programs, including free parenting classes. These classes are typically led by local psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and social workers. Contact your local school system’s central office for more information.
PTA, PTO, and Other Organizations
In addition to parenting programs that are promoted by a local school system, parent-teacher organizations, like a PTA or PTO, as well as other civic organizations in the area may offer parenting classes. These will typically be well advertised through the newspaper, radio stations, local marquees, and online, but if you still aren’t sure, contact your local school or chamber of commerce for more information.
http://kids.lovetoknow.com/child-behavior-development-parenting/parenting-classes-my-area

Our goal as a society should be a healthy child living 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©
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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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American College of Pediatrics statement: Transgenderism of children is child abuse

4 Mar

The Gender Spectrum says this:

Parents have a very powerful role to play in a gender-expansive youth’s life. Research has shown that supportive parenting can significantly affect our children’s positive outlook on their lives, their mental health and their self-esteem. On the other hand, rejecting parenting practices are directly correlated to gender-expansive and transgender youth being more depressed and suicidal. Research shows that the most crucial thing we as parents can do is to allow our children to be exactly who they are.…                  https://www.genderspectrum.org/explore-topics/parenting-and-family/

A key question is how much the parental role affects gender identification? The American College of Pediatrics released a statement regarding transgender identity.

Here is the statement:

Gender Ideology Harms Children

Updated January 2017 

The American College of Pediatricians urges healthcare professionals, educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.

  1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of male and female, respectively – not genetic markers of a disorder. The norm for human design is to be conceived either male or female. Human sexuality is binary by design with the obvious purpose being the reproduction and flourishing of our species. This principle is self-evident. The exceedingly rare disorders of sex development (DSDs), including but not limited to testicular feminization and congenital adrenal hyperplasia, are all medically identifiable deviations from the sexual binary norm, and are rightly recognized as disorders of human design. Individuals with DSDs (also referred to as “intersex”) do not constitute a third sex.1
  2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one. No one is born with an awareness of themselves as male or female; this awareness develops over time and, like all developmental processes, may be derailed by a child’s subjective perceptions, relationships, and adverse experiences from infancy forward. People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.2,3,4
  3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking. When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such. These children suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria (GD), formerly listed as Gender Identity Disorder (GID), is a recognized mental disorder in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-V).5 The psychodynamic and social learning theories of GD/GID have never been disproved.2,4,5
  4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous. Reversible or not, puberty- blocking hormones induce a state of disease – the absence of puberty – and inhibit growth and fertility in a previously biologically healthy child.6
  5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.5
  6. Pre-pubertal children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. This combination leads to permanent sterility. These children will never be able to conceive any genetically related children even via artificial reproductive technology. In addition, cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to cardiac disease, high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke, diabetes, and cancer.7,8,9,10,11
  7. Rates of suicide are nearly twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBTQ – affirming countries.12What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88% of girls and 98% of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?
  8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse. Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.

Michelle A. Cretella, M.D.
President of the American College of Pediatricians

Quentin Van Meter, M.D.
Vice President of the American College of Pediatricians
Pediatric Endocrinologist

Paul McHugh, M.D.
University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical School and the former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital

Originally published March 2016
Updated August 2016
Updated January 2017

CLARIFICATIONS in response to FAQs regarding points 3 & 5:

Regarding Point 3: “Where does the APA or DSM-V indicate that Gender Dysphoria is a mental disorder?”

The APA (American Psychiatric Association) is the author of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition(DSM-V). The APA states that those distressed and impaired by their GD meet the definition of a disorder. The College is unaware of any medical literature that documents a gender dysphoric child seeking puberty blocking hormones who is not significantly distressed by the thought of passing through the normal and healthful process of puberty.
From the DSM-V fact sheet:

“The critical element of gender dysphoria is the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition.”
“This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”

Regarding Point 5:  “Where does the DSM-V list rates of resolution for Gender Dysphoria?”

On page 455 of the DSM-V under “Gender Dysphoria without a disorder of sex development” it states: Rates of persistence of gender dysphoria from childhood into adolescence or adulthood vary. In natal males, persistence has ranged from 2.2% to 30%. In natal females, persistence has ranged from 12% to 50%.”  Simple math allows one to calculate that for natal boys: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 2.2% = 97.8% (approx. 98% of gender-confused boys)  Similarly, for natal girls: resolution occurs in as many as 100% – 12% = 88% gender-confused girls

The bottom line is this:  Our opponents advocate a new scientifically baseless standard of care for children with a psychological condition (GD) that would otherwise resolve after puberty for the vast majority of patients concerned.  Specifically, they advise:  affirmation of children’s thoughts which are contrary to physical reality; the chemical castration of these children prior to puberty with GnRH agonists (puberty blockers which cause infertility, stunted growth, low bone density, and an unknown impact upon their brain development), and, finally, the permanent sterilization of these children prior to age 18 via cross-sex hormones. There is an obvious self-fulfilling nature to encouraging young GD children to impersonate the opposite sex and then institute pubertal suppression. If a boy who questions whether or not he is a boy (who is meant to grow into a man) is treated as a girl, then has his natural pubertal progression to manhood suppressed, have we not set in motion an inevitable outcome? All of his same sex peers develop into young men, his opposite sex friends develop into young women, but he remains a pre-pubertal boy. He will be left psychosocially isolated and alone. He will be left with the psychological impression that something is wrong. He will be less able to identify with his same sex peers and being male, and thus be more likely to self identify as “non-male” or female. Moreover, neuroscience reveals that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain which is responsible for judgment and risk assessment is not mature until the mid-twenties. Never has it been more scientifically clear that children and adolescents are incapable of making informed decisions regarding permanent, irreversible and life-altering medical interventions. For this reason, the College maintains it is abusive to promote this ideology, first and foremost for the well-being of the gender dysphoric children themselves, and secondly, for all of their non-gender-discordant peers, many of whom will subsequently question their own gender identity, and face violations of their right to bodily privacy and safety.

For more information, please visit this page on the College website concerning sexuality and gender issues.

A PDF version of this page can be downloaded here: Gender Ideology Harms Children

References:

  1. Consortium on the Management of Disorders of Sex Development, “Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Disorders of Sex Development in Childhood.” Intersex Society of North America, March 25, 2006. Accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.dsdguidelines.org/files/clinical.pdf.
  2. Zucker, Kenneth J. and Bradley Susan J. “Gender Identity and Psychosexual Disorders.” FOCUS: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychiatry. Vol. III, No. 4, Fall 2005 (598-617).
  3. Whitehead, Neil W. “Is Transsexuality biologically determined?” Triple Helix (UK), Autumn 2000, p6-8. accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transsexuality.htm; see also Whitehead, Neil W. “Twin Studies of Transsexuals [Reveals Discordance]” accessed 3/20/16 from http://www.mygenes.co.nz/transs_stats.htm.
  4. Jeffreys, Sheila. Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. Routledge, New York, 2014 (pp.1-35).
  5. American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (451-459). See page 455 re: rates of persistence of gender dysphoria.
  6. Hembree, WC, et al. Endocrine treatment of transsexual persons: an Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2009;94:3132-3154.
  7. Olson-Kennedy, J and Forcier, M. “Overview of the management of gender nonconformity in children and adolescents.” UpToDate November 4, 2015. Accessed 3.20.16 from http://www.uptodate.com.
  8. Moore, E., Wisniewski, & Dobs, A. “Endocrine treatment of transsexual people: A review of treatment regimens, outcomes, and adverse effects.” The Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2003; 88(9), pp3467-3473.
  9. FDA Drug Safety Communication issued for Testosterone products accessed 3.20.16: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm161874.htm.
  10. World Health Organization Classification of Estrogen as a Class I Carcinogen: http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/ageing/cocs_hrt_statement.pdf.
  11. Eyler AE, Pang SC, Clark A. LGBT assisted reproduction: current practice and future possibilities. LGBT Health 2014;1(3):151-156.
  12. Dhejne, C, et.al. “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden.” PLoS ONE, 2011; 6(2). Affiliation: Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. Accessed 3.20.16 from http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016885.

http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children

It would be interesting to study the mental health orientation of parents whose children identify as transgender along with the family dynamic.

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https://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Bergen study: Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring

3 Oct

There are numerous reasons why smoking is considered bad for an individual and there are numerous research studies which list the reasons. Studies are showing how bad second hand smoke is for children. A MNT article, Smoking During Pregnancy May Lower Your Child’s Reading Scores:

Babies born to mothers who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day while pregnant have lower reading scores and a harder time with reading tests, compared with children whose mothers do not smoke.
This is the conclusion of a recent study conducted by researchers at Yale School of Medicine and published in The Journal of Pediatrics in November 2012. The reading tests measured how well children read out loud and understood what they were reading.

This isn’t the first study to suggest that smoking in pregnancy may affect a child’s future health and development. A study released in August 2012 said that smoking during pregnancy increases a child’s risk of asthma. In addition, a 2009 study linked smoking during pregnancy to behavioral problems among 3 and 4 year olds boys…. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/253100.php

An Inserm and Pierre and Marie Curie University study adds behavior problems to the list of woes children of smokers suffer.

Science Daily reported in Early exposure to tobacco can cause behavioral problems in children:

Researchers from Inserm and Pierre and Marie Curie University (UPMC), in collaboration with the university hospitals of 6 French cities, have analysed data on pre- and postnatal exposure to tobacco in the homes of 5,200 primary school children. They show that this exposure is associated with a risk of behavioural disorders in children, particularly emotional and conduct disorders. The association is stronger when exposure takes place both during pregnancy and after birth. These data show the risk associated with smoking in early life and its behavioural repercussions when the child is of school-going age.These results are published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The consequences of tobacco exposure are widely documented. It leads to many illnesses, including asthma. However, the potential role of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is much less well known in terms of its link to behavioural problems in children. In this context, the team led by Isabella Annesi-Maesano, Inserm Research Director at Unit 1136, “Pierre Louis Public Health Institute” (Inserm/UPMC) examined the association between pre- and postnatal ETS exposure and behavioural problems in children….

These observations seem to confirm those carried out in animals, i.e. that the nicotine contained in tobacco smoke may have a neurotoxic effect on the brain. During pregnancy, nicotine in tobacco smoke stimulates acetylcholine receptors, and causes structural changes in the brain. In the first months of life, exposure to tobacco smoke generates a protein imbalance that leads to altered neuronal growth….. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/09/150928103029.htm?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

Steven Reinberg reported in the Health Day article, Secondhand Smoke in Infancy May Harm Kids’ Teeth.  http://consumer.healthday.com/kids-health-information-23/cavities-and-dental-news-118/secondhand-smoke-in-infancy-may-harm-kids-teeth-704482.html

Science Daily reported in Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring:

A Norwegian study shows that asthma is three times more common in those who had a father who smoked in adolescence than offspring who didn’t.

It is well known that a mother’s environment plays a key role in child health. However, recent research, including more than 24,000 offspring, suggests that this may also be true for fathers.

“Offspring with a father who smoked only prior to conception had over three times more early-onset asthma than those whose father had never smoked,” says Professor Cecilie Svanes at the Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen (UiB).

Early debut increases risk

The study shows that both a father’s early smoking debut and a father’s longer smoking duration before conception increased non-allergic early-onset asthma in offspring. This is equally true with mutual adjustment, and adjusting for the number of cigarettes smoked and years since quitting smoking.

“The greatest increased risk for their children having asthma was found for fathers having their smoking debut before age 15. Interestingly, time of quitting before conception was not independently associated with offspring asthma,” Svanes says.

Smoking fathers may influence gene control in children

Concerning mother’s smoking, the research found more offspring asthma if the mother smoked around pregnancy, consistent with previous studies. However, no effect of maternal smoking only prior to conception was identified. The difference from father’s smoking suggests effects through male sperm cells.

“Smoking is known to cause genetic and epigenetic damage to spermatozoa, which are transmissible to offspring and have the potential to induce developmental abnormalities,” explains Svanes.

It is previously known that nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring. Father’s lifestyle and age appear, however, to be reflected in molecules that control gene function.

“There is growing evidence from animal studies for so called epigenetic programming, a mechanism whereby the father’s environment before conception could impact on the health of future generations,” Svanes says….                                                                                                       https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160928135903.htm

Citation:

Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring

Date:         September 28, 2016

Source:     University of Bergen

Summary:

Offspring with a father who smoked prior to conception had more than three times higher chance of early-onset asthma than children whose father had never smoked. Both a father’s early smoking debut and a father’s longer smoking duration before conception increased non-allergic early-onset asthma in offspring. This suggests that not only the mother’s environment plays a key role in child health, but also the father’s lifestyle, shows a new study including 24,000 children.

Journal Reference:

  1. Cecilie Svanes, Jennifer Koplin, Svein Magne Skulstad, Ane Johannessen, Randi Jakobsen Bertelsen, Byndis Benediktsdottir, Lennart Bråbäck, Anne Elie Carsin, Shyamali Dharmage, Julia Dratva, Bertil Forsberg, Thorarinn Gislason, Joachim Heinrich, Mathias Holm, Christer Janson, Deborah Jarvis, Rain Jögi, Susanne Krauss-Etschmann, Eva Lindberg, Ferenc Macsali, Andrei Malinovschi, Lars Modig, Dan Norbäck, Ernst Omenaas, Eirunn Waatevik Saure, Torben Sigsgaard, Trude Duelien Skorge, Øistein Svanes, Kjell Torén, Carl Torres, Vivi Schlünssen, Francisco Gomez Real. Father’s environment before conception and asthma risk in his children: a multi-generation analysis of the Respiratory Health In Northern Europe study. International Journal of Epidemiology, 2016; dyw151 DOI: 10.1093/ije/dyw151

Here is the press release from the University of Bergen:

Smoking fathers increase asthma-risk in future offspring.

A Norwegian study shows that asthma is three times more common in those who had a father who smoked in adolescence than offspring who didn’t.

SMOKING FATHERS: If you smoke as a young man, your future offspring will have a higher risk of getting asthma.

By Kim E. AndreassenPublished: 22.09.2016 (Last updated: 28.09.2016)

It is well known that a mother’s environment plays a key role in child health. However, recent research, including more than 24,000 offspring, suggests that this may also be true for fathers.

“Offspring with a father who smoked only prior to conception had over three times more early-onset asthma than those whose father had never smoked,” says Professor Cecilie Svanes at the Centre for International Health, Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen (UiB).

Early debut increases risk

The study shows that both a father’s early smoking debut and a father’s longer smoking duration before conception increased non-allergic early-onset asthma in offspring. This is equally true with mutual adjustment, and adjusting for the number of cigarettes smoked and years since quitting smoking.

“The greatest increased risk for their children having asthma was found for fathers having their smoking debut before age 15. Interestingly, time of quitting before conception was not independently associated with offspring asthma,” Svanes says.

The study is published in the scientific magazine International Journal of Epidemiology

Smoking fathers may influence gene control in children

Concerning mother’s smoking, the research found more offspring asthma if the mother smoked around pregnancy, consistent with previous studies. However, no effect of maternal smoking only prior to conception was identified. The difference from father’s smoking suggests effects through male sperm cells.

“Smoking is known to cause genetic and epigenetic damage to spermatozoa, which are transmissible to offspring and have the potential to induce developmental abnormalities,” explains Svanes.

It is previously known that nutritional, hormonal and psychological environment provided by the mother permanently alters organ structure, cellular response and gene expression in her offspring. Father’s lifestyle and age appear, however, to be reflected in molecules that control gene function.

“There is growing evidence from animal studies for so called epigenetic programming, a mechanism whereby the father’s environment before conception could impact on the health of future generations,” Svanes says.

Welding increases risk

Svanes and her team also investigated whether parental exposure to welding influenced asthma risk in offspring, with a particular focus on exposures in fathers prior to conception.

The study shows that paternal welding increased offspring asthma risk even if the welding stopped prior to conception. Smoking and welding independently increased offspring asthma risk, and mutual adjustment did not alter the estimates of either.

“For smoking and welding starting after puberty, exposure duration appeared to be the most important determinant for the asthma risk in offspring,” says Cecilie Svanes.

FACTS

Smoking fathers study

  • Cecilie Svanes investigated whether parental smoking and exposure to welding influenced asthma risk in offspring, with a particular focus on exposures in fathers prior to conception.
  • The study was conducted on a population-based cohort from seven Northern European research centres (RHINE study).
  • The experiences of more than 24,000 offspring, of which over 6000 had smoking and/or welding fathers, were included in the study The participants were from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia.
  • The researches wanted to identify  vulnerable periods during male reproductive development by addressing whether potential preconception effects were related to exposure age, exposure duration, and time from quitting exposure until conception.
  • This research is part of the ECRHS study, and contributes to the large EU funded project “Ageing Lungs in European Cohorts.

http://www.uib.no/en/news/100994/smoking-fathers-increase-asthma-risk-future-offspring

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. ©

Resources:

  1. A History of Tobacco
    http://archive.tobacco.org/History/Tobacco_History.html
  2. American Lung Association’s Smoking and Teens Fact Sheet Women and Tobacco Use
    African Americans and Tobacco Use
    American Indians/Alaska Natives and Tobacco Use
    Hispanics and Tobacco Use
    Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders and Tobacco Use
    Military and Tobacco Use
    Children/Teens and Tobacco Use
    Older Adults and Tobacco Use
    http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/specific-populations.html
  3. Center for Young Women’s Health A Guide for Teens http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/smokeinfo.html
  4. Kroger Resources Teens and Smoking
    http://kroger.staywellsolutionsonline.com/Wellness/Smoking/Teens/
  5. Teens Health’s Smoking
    http://kidshealth.org/teen/drug_alcohol/tobacco/smoking.html
  6. Quit Smoking Support.com
    http://www.quitsmokingsupport.com/teens.htm

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Pediatrics study: TV Ratings System Downplays Sex, Violence, Smoking

30 Aug

Some one told moi a story about a woman who wanted to introduce her 12 year old son to culture. The way she set about the introduction was to buy tickets for the entire Ring by Wagner. Perhaps, her son thoroughly enjoyed the Ring. More likely, he probably developed a hatred for opera. About the time that school starts around the beginning of September, many arts organizations begin their season. It is good to introduce your child to all types of artistic endeavors, but one should chose wisely by looking for cues as to what the child’s interests are and having an awareness of content. Barbara J. Wilson, Ph.D. wrote the thoughtful article, What’s Wrong with the Ratings? http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/whats-wrong-ratings

Education News reported in Report: TV Ratings System Downplays Sex, Violence, Smoking:

A new study recently published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that the TV rating system currently in place in the United States is inaccurate and does not always reflect the true amount of violence, smoking, and drinking occurring in television shows.

The study found TV Parental Guidelines ratings to be ineffective in three out of the four behaviors studied.  In addition, at least one risk factor was noted in every show, including shows for children as young as seven.

In all, researchers looked at 17 TV shows for instances of violence, sexual behavior, alcohol use, and smoking.  Findings suggest shows that held a rating of TV-Y7, intended for children age seven or older, had similar levels of violence as shows rated TV-MA, meant for mature audiences only.

“From prior research, we know that youth between 8 and 18 years consume, on average, 7.5 hours a day of media content,” said Joy Gabrielli, lead author of the study and a clinical child psychologist at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Gabrielli added that young children and teens watch shows on televisions as well as on additional forms of digital media, such as telephones and tablets.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandated the creation of a TV rating system and a hardware, or V-chip, that would allow parents to block any questionable content.  As a result, the TV Parental Guidelines were created in addition to a monitoring board to ensure accuracy, uniformity, and consistency of the guidelines, reports Susan Scutti for CNN.

Violence was found in 70% of all episodes looked at for at least 2.3 seconds per episode minute.  Meanwhile alcohol was seen in 58% of episodes for 2.3 seconds per minute, sexual behavior in 53% of shows for 0.26 seconds per minute, and smoking in 31% of shows for 0.54 seconds per minute.

Shows rated TV-Y7 were found to show significantly less substance abuse.  However, other rating categories did not discriminate substance use as well, which was seen as much in shows rated TV-14 as they were in shows rated TV-MA.

TV ratings were found to be the most effective for sexual behavior and gory violence.

http://www.educationnews.org/technology/report-tv-ratings-system-downplays-sex-violence-smoking/

See, TV rating system not accurate, little help to parents, study says     http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/22/health/tv-ratings-not-accurate-parents/

Citation:

Advertising Disclaimer »

Pediatrics

August 2016

Industry Television Ratings for Violence, Sex, and Substance Use

Joy Gabrielli, Aminata Traore, Mike Stoolmiller, Elaina Bergamini, James D. Sargent

Download PDF

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To examine whether the industry-run television (TV) Parental Guidelines discriminate on violence, sexual behavior, alcohol use, and smoking in TV shows, to assess their usefulness for parents.

METHODS: Seventeen TV shows (323 episodes and 9214 episode minutes) across several TV show rating categories (TVY7, TVPG, TV14, and TVMA) were evaluated. We content-coded the episodes, recording seconds of each risk behavior, and we rated the salience of violence in each one. Multilevel models were used to test for associations between TV rating categories and prevalence of risk behaviors across and within episodes or salience of violence.

RESULTS: Every show had at least 1 risk behavior. Violence was pervasive, occurring in 70% of episodes overall and for 2.3 seconds per episode minute. Alcohol was also common (58% of shows, 2.3 seconds per minute), followed by sex (53% of episodes, 0.26 seconds per minute), and smoking (31% of shows, 0.54 seconds per minute). TV Parental Guidelines did not discriminate prevalence estimates of TV episode violence. Although TV-Y7 shows had significantly less substance use, other categories were poor at discriminating substance use, which was as common in TV-14 as TV-MA shows. Sex and gory violence were the only behaviors demonstrating a graded increase in prevalence and salience for older-child rating categories.

CONCLUSIONS: TV Parental Guidelines ratings were ineffective in discriminating shows for 3 out of 4 behaviors studied. Even in shows rated for children as young as 7 years, violence was prevalent, prominent, and salient. TV ratings were most effective for identification of sexual behavior and gory violence.

What’s Known on This Subject:

A voluntary, industry-run TV Parental Guidelines rating system has existed for 20 years to help parents decide which shows are appropriate for children; yet the usefulness of TV ratings in discriminating shows on risk-behavior depiction remains unclear.

What This Study Adds:

Violence was prevalent across all shows, regardless of rating, so parents could not rely on TV Parental Guidelines to screen for this behavior. Only TV-7 consistently predicted lower levels of sex, alcohol, or tobacco, compared with TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA.

Almost 20 years have passed since Congress approved the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In Section 551 (“Parental Choice in Television Programming”), Congress noted: (1) “television influences children’s perceptions of values and behavior common and acceptable in society,” (2) “television shows expose children to many depictions of violence,” (3) “children so exposed are prone to see violence as acceptable and have greater tendency for aggressive behavior,” (4) “casual treatment of sexual material on television erodes parental ability to develop responsible attitudes and behavior in their children,” (5) “parents express grave concern over violent and sexual programming,” and (6) “there is compelling governmental interest in empowering parents to limit these negative influences.”1 Congress instructed the telecommunications industry to develop a television (TV) ratings system and TV manufacturers to integrate hardware (the V-chip) to allow parents to block objectionable content

The TV industry responded that year with the TV Parental Guidelines, structured around a similar self-regulatory system previously developed for motion pictures. Shows are rated by the companies that produce them and classified into rating categories based on content and appropriateness for different age groups. The industry established a TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board to “ensure accuracy, uniformity, and consistency of the guidelines.”2 The rating categories were integrated into programming to allow parents to see the rating for each show and to block by rating (or channel) using V-chip technology.

In the ensuing 20 years, research confirms the prescience of Congress’ expressed concerns. Studies have identified relations between viewing media violence and aggression in children.3,4 Prospective studies have strengthened the notion that viewing sexual content on TV affects risky sexual behavior among adolescents and increases the risk of teen pregnancy.5,6 Moreover, studies have documented a robust relation between seeing depictions of smoking and drinking in movies and youth substance use.710 Subsequently, concerns about media effects on youth behavior appear even more justified by the science, and research suggests that parental guidelines should include behaviors beyond sex and violence, such as alcohol and tobacco use.11

As stated in their own documentation, the TV industry recognized that the usefulness of the TV Parental Guidelines for informing parents would be based in part on their “accuracy, uniformity and consistency.”2 In a literature search on “TV Parental Guidelines” we were able to identify studies that either examined, through content coding, the presence of various risk behaviors1214 or how parents perceive and use the ratings system,1517 but were surprised to find limited tests of its accuracy, uniformity, or consistency across risk behaviors. The present research is a first attempt to quantify violence, sex, and alcohol and tobacco use in a sample of TV programs according to the TV Parental Guideline rating category.

Methods

We selected TV shows across 4 rating categories (ie, TV-Y7, TV-PG, TV-14, and TV-MA) as defined by the TV Parental Guidelines.2 TV-Y7 is defined as being “directed to older children” (age 7 years and above). TV-PG is defined as “parental guidance suggested” and may “contain material that parents may find unsuitable for younger children.” TV-14 is denoted as “parents strongly cautioned,” as it is a program that “contains material that many parents would find unsuitable for children under 14 years of age.” TV-MA is listed as “mature audience only,” because it is a program “specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17.” Seven shows were purposively chosen because they were popular with youth (identified through the Nielsen list of shows most popular with youth aged 12–17 years), and 10 other shows were purposively chosen given the high likelihood of the presence of risk behaviors with the intent to maximize statistical power to find TV rating effects, if they existed. The 17 shows (154 hours across 323 episodes) with descriptions of air times, ratings, and episodes are provided in Table 1.

TABLE 1

Listing of TV Program Sample

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2016/08/18/peds.2016-0487

Here is the Pediatrics statement on media:

Media and Children

Media is everywhere. TV, Internet, computer and video games all vie for our children’s attention. Information on this page can help parents understand the impact media has in our children’s lives, while offering tips on managing time spent with various media. The AAP has recommendations for parents and pediatricians.

Today’s children are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices. To help kids make wise media choices, parents should monitor their media diet. Parents can make use of established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use.

Studies have shown that excessive media use can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.

By limiting screen time and offering educational media and non-electronic formats such as books, newspapers and board games, and watching television with their children, parents can help guide their children’s media experience. Putting questionable content into context and teaching kids about advertising contributes to their media literacy.

The AAP recommends that parents establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms, and by turning off the TV during dinner. Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content. It is important for kids to spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play.

Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Additional Resources

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Pages/Media-and-Children.aspx?rf=32524&nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR%3a+No+local+token

Here is the press release from the American Academy of Pediatrics:

TV Ratings on Sex, Violence and Substance Abuse Offer Little Help to Parents

8/22/2016

Research shows there is a relationship between young people seeing sexual content on television and the risk of teen pregnancy, seeing violence and teen aggression, and seeing depictions of smoking and drinking and youth substance use, which is why the US Congress asked the entertainment industry to develop a TV Parental Guidelines rating system over 20 years ago. However, a study conducted by researchers at the C. Everett Koop Institute at Dartmouth and published in the September 2016 Pediatrics (published online Aug. 22), “Industry Television Ratings for Violence, Sex and Substance Use,” shows these industry ratings were ineffective in warning parents about content that might not be appropriate for children to view. Researchers compared 323 episodes of 17 television shows for sex, violence, smoking and drinking, and found that only sex and gore were demonstrably more prevalent in mature rated shows. All other risk behaviors were pervasive across most rating categories, especially interpersonal violence (occurring in 70 percent of episodes) and alcohol use (in 58 percent of shows), but also smoking (31 percent). Study authors concluded that in this sample of shows, the ratings system did little to help parents discriminate and limit exposure to these behaviors. More research is needed across more television shows to monitor and improve the TV Parental Guidelines.
###
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.

https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aap-press-room/Pages/TV-Ratings-on-Sex-Violence-and-Substance-Abuse-Offer-Little-Help-to-Parents.aspx?nfstatus=401&nftoken=00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000&nfstatusdescription=ERROR:+No+local+token

What Questions Should a Parent Ask a Venue About Content?

Does a particular venue have a ratings system for content?

What is the model for the ratings system? Is it like film ratings or ESRB?

How descriptive is the rating system, does it give examples of the type of language or situation which might be problematic?

Where is the rating for each production listed? Is it in the descriptive brochure? Is this information on the web site? Are box office personnel familiar with the ratings?

If a family has concerns about a particular production, how should concerns be addressed to the venue if the family finds the production does not match the rating description?

Families have different viewpoints about what is appropriate content for their child or children. Some families seek out a variety of experiences for their children while others are more restrained in what they feel is appropriate. All families need to ask questions about content to find what is appropriate for their child and their value system.

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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 ©

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

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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/

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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

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