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School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Apr. 13, 2015

April 17, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • Withholding Recess as a Punishment Declines
    Education Week: It’s not uncommon for elementary school teachers to take away recess time to discipline students. Withholding cherished playtime clearly communicates to children that their misbehavior is unacceptable, they argue. But more and more, schools are doing away with withholding recess for disciplinary reasons, pointing to research findings that unstructured play and exercise benefit students both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Adverse childhood events appear to increase the risk of being a hypertensive adult
    Science Daily:
    Children who experience multiple traumatic events, from emotional and sexual abuse to neglect, have higher blood pressures as young adults than their peers, researchers report in the journal Circulation. Researchers found the blood pressure increase resulting from experiencing multiple events wasn’t fully explained by known concurrent risk factors such as being male, black, a low socioeconomic status, inactivity, obesity, and smoking.
  • High school, middle school kids now use more e-cigs than tobacco: CDC
    The Washington Post:
    Findings from the CDC show that between 2013 and 2014, e-cigarette use among high school students increased from 4.5 to 13.4 percent. Usage also more than tripled among middle school students. Only among black students was another tobacco product, cigars, more popular than e-cigarettes. Public health officials fear this startling increase could reverse decades of efforts combating the scourge of smoking.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Apr. 6, 2015

April 10, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • Family Stress Linked to Teen Obesity in Study
    HealthDay: Family stress may put teens at increased risk for being overweight or obese, a new study in the journal Preventive Medicine finds. Researchers analyzed data from more than 4,700 American teens born between 1975 and 1990 to assess the effects of three specific sources of family stress: financial problems, a mother’s poor health, and family disruption. Experiencing family disruption and financial stress, repeatedly throughout childhood, was associated with overweight or obesity by the time adolescent girls turned 18.
  • Study Finds Pattern of Mental & Physical Disorders among US Teens
    Psych Central: An analysis published in Psychosomatic Medicine of U.S. teenagers aged 13 to 18 suggests that every third teenager has suffered from one mental disorder and one physical disease, and these co-occurrences come in specific associations or combinations. Researchers found that depression occurs together with diseases of the digestive system, eating disorders with seizures and anxiety disorders together with arthritis, heart disease as well as diseases of the digestives system.
  • More Black, Latino Teens Say they’re Online ‘Almost Constantly’
    NPR Blog:
    Boys like Facebook, girls like Instagram. Wealthier kids Snapchat. Lower income kids Facebook. And somehow Google+ is still relevant. So says the Pew Research Center’s latest study, “Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015.” Results show 92% of teens report going online daily, 24% say they go online “almost constantly” and 88% of teens 13 to 17 have a phone, and nearly three-quarters have or have access to a smartphone.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Mar. 30, 2015

April 3, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • Family Income Could Affect Kids’ Brain Structures, Study Finds
    Live Science: Children and teens from families with lower incomes have differences in their brain structure compared with wealthier children, a new analysis published in the journal Nature Neuroscience of MRI scans reveal. A correlation between growing up in a lower-income family and having a smaller surface area in brain regions associated with skills that are important for academic success was found. See related article: NBC News “Being Poor Affects Kids’ Brains, Study Finds.”
  • Adverse childhood experiences may increase the risk of asthma, study finds
    Medical News Today: A new study published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology found that being exposed to adverse experiences in childhood – such as witnessing domestic violence or drug abuse – could significantly increase the risk of developing asthma.
  • Study: Parental Smoking Affects Kids into Adulthood
    Education News: Research published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation found that children who live in a household with parents who smoke not only have an increased risk concerning their respiratory and developmental health, but also are more likely to have effects on their cardiovascular health, including a higher risk of developing heart disease, that last into adulthood.
  • New York City To Teens: TXT ME With Mental Health Worries
    NPR Health Blog: The majority of teenagers with mental health issues don’t get help. But maybe if help were just a text message away — they wouldn’t be so hesitant to reach out. That’s the thinking behind NYC Teen Text, a pilot program at 10 New York public high schools that allows teens to get help with mental health issues by text.
  • Tweeners Trust Peers More Than Adults When Judging Risks
    NPR Health Blog: If you are the parent of a preteen, you are all too aware that they suddenly seem to value the opinions of their peers far more than yours. The good news, if there is any, is that you’re not alone. Young teenagers ages 12 to 14 are more influenced by their peers’ opinions than they are by adults’, a study finds. That’s true only for that age group, not for older teens, children or adults.
  • Age matters: Discovering why antidepressants don’t work well for kids
    Science Daily: A new study had researchers seeking answers to why the therapeutic benefit afforded by SSRIs was so limited in children and teenagers. If researchers can uncover the biological mechanisms preventing available treatments from producing antidepressant effects, scientists can then target those mechanisms to develop new antidepressants that will treat childhood and adolescent depression more effectively.
  • American kids are consuming less fast food, study finds
    Medical News Today: A study published in JAMA Pediatrics examines trends in children’s calorie consumption by fast food restaurant type, utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2003-10. Researchers found that the number of children aged 4-19 years consuming fast food on a given day fell from 38.8% in 2003-04 to 32.6% in 2009-10.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Mar. 23, 2015

March 27, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • How to induce kids to eat more fruits and veggies? Hire a chef
    LA Times:
    As part of her efforts to combat child obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama launched the Chefs Move to Schools program in 2010, and the current study set out to test whether it made a difference. The study was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers found that after long-term exposure to the enhanced meals, the chef intervention led to significant increases in the amounts of fruits and vegetables consumed.
  • School Meals: Three Cabinet Secretaries Write in Support of Nutrition Standards
    Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog
    : As politicians on Capitol Hill once again reheat old battles over school meals, leaders of three federal agencies wrote an editorial in support of heightened nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs.
  • Study: US Kids’ Eating Habits Put Them at Risk for Heart Disease
    Education News:
    A new study shows that American children eat too much sugar and salt, do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that too many are overweight. Parents probably already know this to be true, but researchers were extremely concerned by the result. In fact, scientists say these kids are on the path to early heart disease. Of the 8,900 children ages 2 to 11 who were surveyed, none were doing everything right and most were missing the mark on three out of four targets.
  • Learning to Move, Moving to Learn: The Benefits Of PE
    NPR Ed Blog:
    When it comes to kids and exercise, schools need to step up and focus more on quality as well as quantity. And, says Dr. Gregory D. Myer, they need to promote activities that develop motor skills, socialization and fun. Myer helped develop exercise guidelines for youth aimed at reducing sports-related injuries and promoting health. The guidelines call for greater focus on short, interval-like bursts of activity interspersed with rest. It includes core strength building, resistance training, agility and more.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Mar. 16, 2015

March 20, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • Decline in heart health can start in childhood
    Medical News Today: Your heart health, which is optimal for most of us at birth, can decline substantially with unhealthy childhood behaviors, according to research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Findings indicate that, in general, children start with pretty good blood pressure, but if they have a horrible diet, it will drive a worsening body mass index and cholesterol levels.
  • Salty snacks tied to higher blood pressure in youths
    Fox News:
    The U.S. recommends children eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day, but U.S. children ages six to 18 average about 3,300 mg per day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eating two or more salty snacks per day was tied to an increased risk of having one of the highest blood pressure readings in the study, compared to eating no more than one salty snack per day.
  • Recess: An Essential Part of the School Day
    Health Day: Recess is an essential part of children’s school days that can help set students up for success once they head back to the classroom. Yet, many schools are cutting back on recess or not offering quality recess time. This may have unintended negative consequences, a new study from Stanford University researchers found. “Recess isn’t normally considered part of school climate, and often is shortchanged in tight fiscal times, but our research shows that [recess] can be a critical contributor to positive school climate in low-income elementary schools,” said study co-author Milbrey McLaughlin.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Mar. 9, 2015

March 13, 2015

From the week’s news:

  • More K-12 Teachers Finding Benefits in Standing Desks
    Education News:
    Justin Sauer of Delisle Elementary School filled his classroom with standing desks, and now he is now seeing positive results in the students’ ability to pay attention and be engaged with their learning. According to CBC news, parents have reported benefits, too. Three different families have made a point to tell Sauer that their children are sleeping more soundly now that they are expending more energy during the day with standing desks.
  • Minority children may benefit most from school-day exercise
    Medical News Today: Racial/ethnic minority children may benefit the most from school-based opportunities for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), researchers suggest. In researcher observations, less than 40 percent of PE class time was spent in MVPA, highlighting the need for PE classes to be held more than once or twice each week. Researcher also state that school policies should promote daily PE to help children achieve the recommended 60 minutes per day of MVPA.
  • Parents Want Good Eating and Exercise in After-School Programs, Says Survey
    Ed Week Time and Learning Blog: “We’ve known for a long time that after-school, before-school, and summer programs keep kids safe, inspire them to learn, and help working parents,” said Jodi Grant, the executive director of the Afterschool Alliance. A new report makes it clear that they also do a tremendous amount to help keep kids healthy, now and for the future. Among low-income families with a child in an after-school program, 67% said that was a factor in deciding where to send their children.
  • Agriculture Department Expands School Food Training, Mentoring Program
    Ed Week Rules for Engagement Blog: The U.S. Department of Agriculture will expand a school nutrition training and mentoring pilot it launched this year into a nationwide program. The Team Up for School Nutrition Success Initiative provides “tailored technical assistance” and peer-to-peer mentoring to schools as they continue to implement heightened nutrition standards that were created as part of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
  • Why Some Schools Serve Local Food and Others Can’t (Or Won’t)
    NPR Blog: The biggest barriers to going local lie in the details: contract requirements, paperwork and a difference in the scale of need at the school and production on the farm. Schools worry that local products won’t be available and that demanding them will create headaches down the road. The annual farm-to-school census still needs tweaks, like asking whether schools serving local food use corporate distributors or local food hubs. However, for schools, it is getting a lot easier to get locally sourced products.
  • When Combating the Bully, Our Hands Aren’t Tied
    The Huffington Post: As a society, we have to not only work to eradicate bullying, but also to prepare children for it. And the sad truth is, the behavior kids face today is at a new high, or low, depending how you measure it. Thanks to the Internet, cyber bullying is a whole new outlet for kids to attack the weakest members of the social herd outside the classroom. So how can we, as adults, combat this critical issue? Here are a few steps we can take.

School health & wellness news roundup: Week of Mar. 2, 2015

March 6, 2015

From this week’s news:

  • CBT for Kids’ Anxiety Can Have Lasting Benefits
    Psych Central: In a study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, researchers found that patients who did not respond to cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety in childhood had more chronic and enduring patterns of suicidal ideation at seven to 19 years after treatment. These findings suggest the importance of ongoing monitoring of anxious youth who are not successfully treated for later suicidal ideation.
  • Stress May Undermine Heart Benefits of Exercise
    Health Day: The inability to cope well with stress contributes to the risk of heart disease, researcher Scott Montgomery, a professor of epidemiology at Orebro University, found. Montgomery said what he found “striking” was that physical fitness did not protect teens with poor stress-coping skills from developing heart disease later in life. For these people, both exercise and developing strategies to reduce stress might be needed to prevent more heart problems.
  • Kids May Be More Likely to Exercise When Friends Do
    Health Day: Much of the focus on increasing physical activity involves engaging the family and encouraging the patient to be more active, but new research suggests that encouragement may not be sufficient. Children and teens that did physical activities with a friend were far less likely to cite barriers for not exercising, while family participation or encouragement did not have this effect.
  • Playtime Isn’t Just for Preschoolers—Teenagers Need It, Too
    TIME: One of the casualties of current education reform efforts has been the erosion of play, creativity, and joy from teenagers’ classrooms and lives. Researchers have documented a rise in mental health problems among young people that has paralleled a decline in children’s opportunities to play. And while play has gotten deserved press in recent months in the early childhood years, adolescents, too, need time to play, and they need time to play in school.
  • More Children Eat Fruit in School, Study Shows
    The New York Times: Changes made to government-subsidized meals by the Obama administration to get schoolchildren to eat more fruits are having their intended effect. The study, by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, found that from the time the changes went into effect in 2012 through last year, the percentage of students choosing fruit on a cafeteria line increased to 66 percent from 54 percent.
  • Why More Schools Are Letting Their Students Sleep in
    Huffington Post Education: Adolescents have been steadily logging fewer hours of sleep over the last 20 years, according to a recent study. Surveys from the early 1990s found that 52% of 15-year-olds and 36% of 18- year-olds got at least seven hours of shut-eye a night. For teens in 2011 to 2012, those numbers dropped to 43 and 33%, respectively. The American Academy of Pediatrics made a landmark policy statement in 2014 recommending later school start times, and several districts across the country are finding success doing just that.
  • Study: One in five teen girls victim of dating violence
    USA Today: Twenty-one percent of high school girls have been physically or sexually assaulted by someone they dated. Ten percent of high school boys also report having been physically or sexually assaulted by a dating partner, according to a study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in JAMA Pediatrics.
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