From this week’s news:
- Life stress negatively affects poor children’s cognitive development
United Press International: Low-income children exposed to unstable family environments or insensitive caregiving at age of 2 are at increased risk of cognitive delays by age 4, a new study published in the journal Child Development found. While the specific biological or environmental reasons for this are not known, differences in cortisol levels in children in the study at age 2 predicted their cortisol levels as well as cognitive delays at 4.
- Reading, Writing, Required Silence: How Meditation Is Changing Schools and Students
The Huffington Post: In the last seven years Quiet Time, a school-based meditation program, has expanded, and now appears in 18 schools across the country. Through twice-a-day meditation, practitioners believe everyone can access an intensely deep rest that allows the body to repair itself and release deeply rooted stress and tension that sleep never gets rid of. Because the Quiet Time program is relatively new, data on its impact on kids is limited, but early studies point to better grades, fewer suspensions and reports of better mental health among student meditators.
From this week’s news:
- How Schools Can Help Nurture Students’ Mental Health
Mind Shift: Emotional problems are linked to poverty, according to an American Academy of Pediatrics study, and 20 percent of children live in poverty. What’s the proper role for schools in attending to children’s mental health? Some educators and mental health experts have pushed schools to get more involved in preventing emotional and behavior problems and spotting those kids who need help, so that they can be steered toward professionals who can help them. Mental health problems often reveal themselves early in life, and the sooner they’re treated, the thinking goes, the better the outcomes.
- Access to mental health care for teens improving, but less for communities with disparities
Science Daily: Teens in the U.S. have more availability of mental health care than they did two years ago, but access is not equal in all communities, new research suggests. A five year study gauged opportunities for children and teens at the local level in communities across the U.S. surveying over 2,000 adults across the U.S. who work and/or volunteer on behalf of children and teens.
- Survey: School Violence Down, But Security Increasing
Education News: US public schools have expanded security measures by adding safety drills and parent notifications, reports a government survey. The report from the 2013-2014 school year was implemented by the National Center for Education Statistics. It found that 88% of public schools had created a written plan explaining how to respond to an active shooter and 7 out of 10 had drills in place to practice the plan. Approximately three-quarters of schools were using security cameras, and 43% said security personnel were in place at least once a week.
- Active children become healthier teens and less prone to obesity: study
The Sydney Morning Herald: Children who engage in daily physical exercise reap the health benefits as early as their teens, according to a study that will bolster calls for a national response to obesity. The study of 4600 children found those who were more active in late childhood had a lower body weight and lower risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes by their mid-teens.
From this week’s news:
- Study Links Sleep Troubles to Children’s Mental Health
Health Day: There is a link between sleep and young children’s mental health, a new study published in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics suggests. Researchers looked at sleep patterns and the mental health of 1,000 children. They found that those with sleep disorders at age 4 were at increased risk for mental health problems — such as anxiety and depression — at age 6. They also discovered that children with mental health problems at age 4 were at increased risk for sleep disorders at age 6.
- CDC: 1 in 10 Children Diagnosed With ADHD
Health Day: One in 10 children and teens has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number has remained relatively steady since 2007, according to government estimates. Among all age groups combined, 9.5 percent of children and teens had ever been diagnosed with ADHD. Only 3 percent of 4- and 5-year-olds had been diagnosed with ADHD, the report found, but that number jumped to 9.5 percent for children ages 6 to 11.
- Growing interest: School-grown vegetables increase salad selection
Science Daily: If kids grow vegetables, they’re more likely to eat them. A new Cornell study published in Acta Paediatrica shows that when garden grown vegetables were slipped into school salads, kids were over four times as likely to take a salad.
- Childhood obesity influenced by how kids are fed, not just what they eat
Science Daily: As the childhood obesity epidemic increases, researchers are discovering that the way caregivers feed their kids may be just as important as what they give them to eat. It’s estimated that by 2020, 16 million kids under the age of 5 will be obese. Currently, most public health initiatives are focused on promoting healthy eating and physical activity to reverse the trend. However, the origins of childhood obesity may be as much about psychology as biology.