If asked to think of the lasting legacies of Ronald Reagan, you might conjure up the long shadow of US military intervention in Central America or the coordinated attack on organized labor and public-sector programs. Probably few of us would think about the spectacle of Shrek hawking Twinkies. But one lasting consequence of Reagan’s reign is felt by every parent in the country every day: As president, Reagan opened the floodgates to targeted junk food marketing to children and teens.What Ronald Reagan has to do with Dora on your Popsicle package: the backstory behind Shrek hawking Twinkies (and everything else) [more inside]
Why the healthy school lunch program is in trouble. [The Washington Post]
Student E114 is a case in point. E114 -- the identification code she was assigned by researchers studying eating habits at her public elementary school somewhere in the Northeast -- left the lunch line one day carrying a tray full of what looked like a balanced meal: chicken nuggets, some sort of mushy starch, green beans and milk. Exactly 13 minutes later she was done. The chicken nuggets and the starch were gone. But the green beans? Still there in a neat pile and headed straight for the trash. Before/after photos of what students ate.[more inside]
For the past few years, a small group of psychiatrists, researchers, educators, and game designers have run a quiet but intense footrace to become the first to earn FDA approval for a medically sound, prescription-strength video game for ADHD. That’s not a metaphor. They are seeking approval for a game that a doctor can actually prescribe..In this excerpt from his new book, posted on Medium, journalist Greg Toppo discusses a variety of new neurogames and how they may in the future treat conditions like ADHD and anxiety, strengthen skills like multitasking and mindfulness, and reduce the need for pharmaceutical interventions for children. (Fair warning, the article has an animated header image that may annoy, so you may want to scroll right on down past it before you start reading.)
"What They Left Behind" is a 35 minute documentary produced by Sandy Hook Promise. Today, the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut honor the lives of the twenty first graders and six adult helpers who lost their lives in that school shooting. No public events will take place today in Newtown. [more inside]
"During the 2013-2014 flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 46 percent of Americans received vaccinations against influenza, even though it kills about 3,000 people in this country in a good year, nearly 50,000 in a bad one." [more inside]
"Postpartum depression isn’t always postpartum. It isn’t even always depression. A fast-growing body of research is changing the very definition of maternal mental illness, showing that it is more common and varied than previously thought." ‘Thinking of Ways to Harm Her’ and "After Baby, an Unraveling". [more inside]
The trachea, or windpipe, of a young child is about the width of a drinking straw, and if food or a small object is inhaled instead of swallowed, it can block the airway. Even when something is swallowed and becomes lodged in a child’s throat or esophagus, it may compress the trachea enough to impair breathing. After just four minutes without oxygen, a child’s brain can be permanently damaged. - A NYTimes piece gives useful advice on preventing and responding to a young child's choking
" Initially it was thought to be something to house firewood, though it didn’t seem capable of holding much, and the slat that sits perpendicular to the box on the inside wall made little sense. It took observers a while to realize that this contraption was a device for holding children—a “baby tender.”" (via)
From the mid 40s to the mid 50s Coronet Instructional Films were always ready to provide social guidance for teenagers on subjects as diverse as dating, popularity, preparing for being drafted, and shyness, as well as to children on following the law, the value of quietness in school, and appreciating our parents. They also provided education on topics such as the connection between attitudes and health, what kind of people live in America, how to keep a job, supervising women workers, the nature of capitalism, and the plantation System in Southern life. Inside is an annotated collection of all 86 of the complete Coronet films in the Prelinger Archives as well as a few more. Its not like you had work to do or anything right? [more inside]
During his tenure as Mayor of New York City, "public health autocrat" Michael Bloomberg has attempted to regulate trans fats, smoking and sugar-filled sodas. Now, he has a fresh target: moms who don't breastfeed. Beginning September 3, NYC hospitals participating in a new, voluntary program: Latch-On NYC (press release / posters / FAQ -pdf-), will make formula less accessible, to encourage moms of newborns to breastfeed instead of using formula. [more inside]
An experiment done in the 1990s exposed children to various levels of lead. The lawsuit filed in 2001 by the parents of over 100 participants accuses the Kennedy Krieger Institute that the scientists knowingly used the kids as test subjects in toxic dust control study. [more inside]
The Summer 2011 issue of Stanford Medicine Magazine is about "Surviving Survival": The Woman Who Fell To Earth / Khmer Rouge on Trial / A Kid Again / Her Stroke of Insight / RxErcise [more inside]
Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre has seen hunger strikes and rioting. Now the British government has issued a report finding that its children "are being denied urgent medical treatment, handled violently and left at risk of serious harm". The Border and Immigration Minister replies, "If people refuse to go home then detention becomes a necessity." [more inside]
I took my video camera to a Foster Care Alumni meeting and asked seven foster kids to tell me about there experiences in Child Protective Services while wards of the state: Tristen, Andrew, Kyle, Aisha, Elnita, Ashley, Joshua. [more inside]
Progress for Children: A World Fit for Children Statistical Review "reports on how well the world is doing in meeting its commitments for the world’s children. This UNICEF special edition analyses progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in four priority areas for children: promoting healthy lives, providing a quality education, combating HIV and AIDS, and protecting against abuse, exploitation and violence." [more inside]
"All families in OECD countries today are aware that childhood is being reshaped by forces whose mainspring is not necessarily the best interests of the child."
How does your country measure up as a place to raise kids? It turns out that growing up in the UK is a bleaker experience than in any other wealthy country. UNICEF studied all the wealthiest nations (full report PDF here), and the US and UK came in at the bottom on almost all indicators (material wellbeing, health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, behaviours and risks, and the subjective feelings of kids and teens themselves ). Doing best for kids were the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. It turns out that GDP and material wealth alone does not ensure healthier or happier or more well-educated kids--the Czech Republic scored very well despite being one of the poorest nations surveyed.
Outcasts in Their Own Villages "More than one million young women with the condition are scattered throughout the so-called fistula belt that stretches across the southern hem of the Sahara from Eritrea to Mali. Because of their severe incontinence and smell, many have been ostracized by their families and villages and live by themselves or with fellow fistula sufferers. They are the lepers of the desert." [also see]
Another touching, sad, chilling account of obesity in America. The story of Anamarie Regino, a 3-year-old who was abnormally large for her age. Anamarie was taken out of her parents' custody because, it was determined, her life was in jeopardy because of her size. This despite a 550 calorie/day diet and obvious signs that "too much food" wasn't an issue.
The vegan diet can be a killer, at least that's what the State of New York thinks. Was a "strict vegan diet" the cause of a 15-month-old's demise or did New York health officials have a hand in the death?
American cultural hegemony strikes again. (NYT reg. req.) Asian children exposed to an American-made high-sugar, high-fat, pre-processed, fast-food diet now seem to be coming up with American diseases: obesity, diabetes, things like that. My fascination with the article is caused not so much by its content as it is by its tone, though: Known in Chinese as "xiao pangzi," or "little fatties," these roly-poly children seem to be everywhere, the pampered victims of cultures that prize them as emblems of affluence and well-being. Do I sense a certain smugness in this article? Is the author sarcastically reading this as a triumph of American values?
White couple gets black twins, sue IVF clinic. Experts say a mistake could have occurred in one of three ways.The wrong sperm could have been used to fertilise the right egg, the right sperm could have been used to fertilise the wrong egg, or the embryo implanted in the woman may have been another couple's altogether. Although it is not clear whether another couple has laid claim to the children, legal experts say the judge will be expected to make a modern-day judgment of Solomon on who should be considered the babies' legal parents. This is unploughed legal ground. Is there a fair way to sort this out?
Homeless street kids in 3rd world countries adapt to survive and are actually healthier and more likely to survive than are their peers who grow up in poor but intact families in agricultural villages. Experts confounded.
Teddy Bears to watch you While other countries are banning teddy bears from Children's hospital rooms, Japan is putting digital high tech teddy bears that will watch you and inform doctors when you need help.
Nineta's story: Video of a AIDS infected Rumanian kid fighting the medical bureacracy for therapy. Rumania has the highest no of pediatric AIDs cases - a legacy of the Ceausescu days when tainted blood and dirty needes were used regularly for blood transfusions (from WP)
Pollution Linked to Birth Defects in Recent Study. There is no better example of "terrorism" than maiming children simply to further bloat the wallets of the rich. Of course, our fearless right-wing leaders are right on top of the problem.
Mmm Mmm Good. It should not be surprising kids like the stuff. Dried nasal discharge is largely composed of complex sugars, sodium and water -- the same ingredients as most junk foods. Except it is healthier!
Prozac seems to be societies new legal LSD. In the 60's acid could cure anything. If you were feeling down, tune in turn on and drop out and everything will be good. Timothy Leary was a huge part of this whole "acid culture", but as Hunter S. Thompson so eloquently put it "He crashed around America selling consciousness expansion, without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all those people that took him seriously." In the end the acid culture failed, but we have yet to learn the lesson that everything can not be cured with a magic pill or some powder, you can't just add some water and cure societies problems like making instant soup. Could this belief in drugs that Tim Leary promoted during the 60's have lead to the overmedication of children today? Those old acid heads that have since become working stiffs that have kids still believe in the back of their minds in "better living through chemicals" and allow doctors to over prescribe their kids chemicals such as Prozac and Ritalin. Do you think that there could be a connection between this overmedication and school violence?
Everyday life for a teenager with AIDS: Stephanie Lee Ray, a 12-year-old with AIDS, is proving the doctors wrong. She was not supposed to live past age 5, so she lives for every moment. She wants to play and grow and go to school. She has felt the effects of people's ignorance about the disease. She has suffered disapproving stares and comments.Rather than feel sorry for herself, she prefers to educate people to make wise choices. She knows that her life really counts. (The story is almost 2 years old, and the wonderful pix aren't archived with it, but it's worth reading anyway, especially for the feel of a life when any cold or simple fever can become a life-threatening crisis.)
Medicate 'em! No time to bond with your children. Work leave you drained and the kids just will not listen? Let Prozac help. The kids, not you.