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School Health & Wellness News Roundup: Week of April 14, 2014

April 17, 2014

From this week’s news:

  • Raising a Moral Child
    What does it take to be a good parent? We know some of the tricks for teaching kids to become high achievers. For example, research suggests that when parents praise effort rather than ability, children develop a stronger work ethic and become more motivated. Yet although some parents live vicariously through their children’s accomplishments, success is not the No. 1 priority for most parents.
  • All Work, No Play: Why High School Students Should Have Fun
    EdWeek Learning Deeply blog: If playfulness is associated with positive outcomes for both children and adults, shouldn’t the same be true for teenagers? Wouldn’t we assume that secondary instruction should include tasks that ask students to explore, experiment, and improvise? Intuition would say yes. Research, however, is largely silent on the subject.
  •  E-Cigarette Marketing Increasingly Targets Young People, Lawmakers Say
    EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog:
    Manufacturers are stepping up efforts to market electronic cigarettes to children and teens, says a report released by 11 Democrats in Congress this week. Those efforts include an increasing presence on social media, sponsorship of “youth-oriented events,” and candy and fruit-flavored products, the report says.
  • Study finds brain changes in young marijuana users
    Boston Globe:
    Young adults who occasionally smoke marijuana show abnormalities in two key areas of their brain related to emotion, motivation, and decision making, raising concerns that they could be damaging their developing minds at a critical time, according to a new study by Boston researchers. Other studies have revealed brain changes among heavy marijuana users, but this research is believed to be the first to demonstrate such abnormalities in young, casual smokers. The Boston scientists also found that the degree of brain changes appeared to be directly related to the amount participants smoked per week.
  • Once-Concussed Teenagers Found to Be at Higher Risk for Bullying, Suicide
    EdWeek Schooled in Sports blog:
    Teenagers who have suffered a traumatic brain injury such as a concussion are twice as likely to be bullied and roughly three times as likely to attempt suicide compared to those who haven’t, according to a new study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.

School Health & Wellness News Roundup: Week of April 7, 2014

April 11, 2014

From this week’s news:

    • Lifetime Direct Medical Costs of Childhood Obesity $19,000
      An estimate of the lifetime medical costs of an obese child provides a benchmark of the potential per capita savings that could accrue from successful childhood obesity prevention efforts. We reviewed the literature to identify the best current estimate of the incremental lifetime per capita medical cost of an obese child in the United States today relative to a normal weight child. We recommend use of an estimate of $19 000 as the incremental lifetime medical cost of an obese child relative to a normal weight child who maintains normal weight throughout adulthood. The alternative estimate, which considers the reality of eventual weight gain among normal weight youth, is $12 660.
    • 1 in 3 US kids has borderline or high cholesterol
      Contemporary Pediatrics:
      About 1 of every 3 children in the United States aged between 9 and 11 years has a borderline or deleterious cholesterol profile, according to research presented at the recent annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology.
    • Math Anxiety Is Linked to Genetics, Study Finds
      EdWeek Curriculum Matters blog:
      Math anxiety can be explained, at least in part, by genetic factors, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
    • Is the Stress of Poverty to Blame for Academic Failure?
      EdWeek Finding Common Ground blog:
      Every three years, 15 year-olds from around the world take a test to measure proficiency in reading, math and science, and every three years, the results for American students disappoint. Here are the latest: 36th place in math, 28th in science, and 24th in reading. Disappointing, but not the whole story. In US schools where the poverty rate is less than 10% our students finish at or near the top of the world. However, in schools where the poverty rate climbs past 75% the US drops toward the bottom of the pack.

School Health & Wellness News Roundup: Week of March 31, 2014

April 4, 2014

From this week’s news:

  • Why Playing Minecraft Might Be More Healthful For Kids Than TV
    NPR Shots blog:
    Doctors say children shouldn’t log more than two hours a day of screen time, though what with phones, computers and TV most children put in much more. But it may be that not all screens are equally evil. Researchers from the University of Michigan found that sixth-graders who watched a lot of TV were more likely to eat junk food and drink soda than their peers who spent the same amount of time on the computer or playing video games.
  • Daily, vigorous exercise helps kids get or stay fit
    Reuters Health
    : A nine-month after-school exercise program, FITKids, helped young kids lose body fat and improve heart and lung strength compared to kids who didn’t do the program, according to a new trial.
  • Availability of junk food in schools encourages obesity, study finds
    Vancouver Sun
    : Kids who go to schools where sugary drinks are readily available from vending machines or cafeterias are more likely not only to drink them but also to be obese, a new University of B.C. study shows.
  • The Surprising Downside of Becoming One of the Cool Kids
    In a surprising finding, a new study suggests that becoming more popular actually increases the chances of getting bullied. The study, published in the April issue of the American Sociological Review, also found that moving up the social hierarchy and becoming more popular intensified the negative consequences of being victimized—a “higher you fly the harder you fall” scenario.

School Health & Wellness News Roundup: Week of March 24, 2014

March 28, 2014

From this week’s news:

  • Jump In Autism Cases May Not Mean It’s More Prevalent
    NPR: The government’s latest shows that 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder. That’s a remarkable jump from just two years ago, when the figure was 1 in 88, and an even bigger jump from 2007, when it was just 1 in 150. But officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the agency’s skyrocketing estimates don’t necessarily mean that kids are more likely to have autism now than they were 10 years ago.
  • Kids Benefit from Counseling at the Pediatrician’s Office
    NPR Shots blog: Pediatricians often recommend some mental health counseling for children who have behavior problems like defiance and tantrums. But counseling can be hard to find. Children are much more likely to get help if the counselor is right there in the doctor’s office, a study finds.
  • ASCD and CDC Announce Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model
    ASCD: ASCD announced a new Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model that is recommended as a strategy for improving students’ health and learning in our schools. Developed by ASCD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with key leaders from education, public health, and school health fields, the new model combines and builds on elements of the traditional coordinated school health approach and the whole child framework to strengthen a unified and collaborative approach to learning and health.
  • Rudd Report Shows that Children Need to Be Protected from Unhealthy Food Marketing Until at Least Age 14
    Yale Rudd Center: Current food marketing practices present a significant public health threat for older children and teens, according to a report recently released by the Rudd Center. The report suggests that children ages 12 to 14 are highly vulnerable to influence from unhealthy food marketing, and policy solutions are needed to protect children until at least age 14.
  • High-Quality Preschool Could Prevent Chronic Diseases In Adulthood, Study Finds
    WBUR Here & Now: A new study in the journal Science finds that high-quality preschool may prevent chronic diseases in adulthood. Researchers looked at children who were in a preschool program in North Carolina during the 1970s and 80s. The researchers found that when those kids were adults in their 30s, they had significantly better health outcomes, including lower levels of obesity and heart disease.
  • Does Teaching Kids To Get ‘Gritty’ Help Them Get Ahead?
    NPR: It’s become the new buzz phrase in education: “Got grit?” Around the nation, schools are beginning to see grit as key to students’ success — and just as important to teach as reading and math. Experts define grit as persistence, determination and resilience; it’s that je ne sais quoi that drives one kid to practice trumpet or study Spanish for hours — or years — on end, while another quits after the first setback.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of March 10, 2014

March 14, 2014

From this week’s news:

  • Advice For Eating Well On A Tight Budget, From A Mom Who’s Been There
    NPR: Cooking skills are just one barrier to healthy eating. A recent by the nonprofit shows that 85 percent of low-income families say eating healthy is important, but only 53 percent say they cook healthy dinners most weeknights. A majority of the 1,500 respondents said cost and time to plan, shop and cook are the biggest barriers to improving their nutrition. After having dozens of these kinds of conversations a day, Harris decided to put together a shopping guide and recipe book she could hand out to these moms.
  • TV time linked to less sleep for kids
    The more television children watch, the less total sleep they’re getting, according to a small Spanish study. Researchers found that a nine-year-old who watched five hours of television a day, for example, slept an average one hour less a night than a nine-year-old who watched television for less than an hour and a half a day.
  •  Obesity Linked To Lower Grades Among Teen Girls
    Childhood obesity has made it to the forefront of public health issues, both in the United Kingdom and in the United States. Now researchers say that not only does obesity affect a child’s overall health, but it may also lead to poorer school performance among teenage girls. Among boys, the link is less apparent.
  •  Study Links Childhood Obesity to Bedroom Televisions
    EdWeek Rules for Engagement blog:
    Placing a television in a child’s bedroom might be more than just a distraction from their homework—according to a new study, it could also lead to excessive weight gain
  • Teens’ brains make them more vulnerable to suicide
    Boston Globe:
    Aristotle made that observation 2,300 years ago, and since then, not much has changed about the way the adolescent brain behaves. But these days, researchers are beginning to understand exactly why a teenager’s brain is so tempestuous, and what biological factors may make teens’ brains vulnerable to mood disorders, substance abuse, and suicide.
  • Of Cigs And Selfies: Teens Imitate Risky Behavior Shared Online
    Teenagers put a lot of stock in what their peers are doing, and parents are forever trying to push back against that influence. But with the advent of social media, hanging out with the wrong crowd can include not just classmates, but teenagers thousands of miles away on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.

“Making the Grade” Child Trends webinar now posted

March 10, 2014

Last Thursday, City Connects Executive Director Mary Walsh participated in a webinar hosted by Child Trends related to its recent report, “Making the Grade: Assessing the Evidence for Integrated Student Supports.” Child Trends Senior Scholar Kristin Anderson Moore presented the report’s findings, which look at the existing evidence from programs providing supports to students, including City Connects. Joining Mary Walsh as respondents were Daniel Cardinali, President, Communities In Schools and Jane Quinn, Vice President for Community Schools at The Children’s Aid Society and Director of the National Center for Community Schools.

Watch the webinar on Child Trends website here.

For more information:
  • See our post about the Child Trends report here
  • Explore more of City Connects results here

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of March 3, 2014

March 7, 2014

From this week’s news:

  • Students ‘eat more fruits and vegetables’ under new school lunch standards
    Medical News Today:
    In 2012, the US Department of Agriculture updated the guidelines on school lunches, recommending that schools should offer healthier meals to students. New research from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, MA, suggests that these guidelines have increased fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income students. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, is the first to assess how the new recommendations have impacted the diets of students.
  • Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D.
    NYTimes Op/ed:
    The writing is on the chalkboard. Over the next few years, America can count on a major expansion of early childhood education. We embrace this trend, but as health policy researchers, we want to raise a major caveat: Unless we’re careful, today’s preschool bandwagon could lead straight to an epidemic of 4- and 5-year-olds wrongfully being told that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
  • Teens Who Try E-Cigarettes Are More Likely To Try Tobacco, Too
    NPR Shots blog:
    While electronic cigarettes may be marketed as alternatives that will keep teenagers away from tobacco, a study suggests that may not be the case. Trying e-cigarettes increased the odds that a teenager would also try tobacco cigarettes and become regular smokers, the study found. Those who said they had ever used an e-cigarette were six times more likely to try tobacco than ones who had never tried the e-cig.
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