Testing for heart health: What a student’s sports physical will — and will not — tell you

Lancaster Online – DR. PIA FENIMORE

June 1 marked the beginning of what pediatricians call “PIAA season,” the delightful time of year when we see all of our high school athletes for their presports physicals. It’s always a breath of fresh air as we concentrate on health and prevention and move away from the barrage of colds and flu. During this appointment, the athlete is screened for symptoms and signs, as well as family history, of cardiovascular disease. Health care providers perform this screening to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, or SCA. About 2,000 patients younger than 25 experience SCA annually in the United States. Causes vary from congenital heart malformations and electric disturbances in the heart, to illicit drug use or drowning. (more)

Here’s why you should get your child moving

Loop – Meisha-Gay Mattis

According to reports by the Global School-based Student Health Survey (GSSHS), 18.1 per cent of boys and 25.2 per cent of girls are overweight in the 13 to 15 age group, while 5.3 per cent of boys and 6.7 per cent of girls are obese. That was seven years ago. Fast forward to 2017 and the results are jaw dropping. The obesity rate has almost doubled — 10.3 per cent in boys and 9.9 per cent in girls. This epidemic of childhood obesity is why, according to a 2015 report in the New England Journal of Medicine, today’s children are not expected to outlive their parents. (more)

Picky, picky: Strategies to get your kids (or yourself) to try new foods

Florida Today – Ashleigh Spitza

Persnickety, fussy, particular, selective, picky. There are many words to describe people who are less comfortable than most with trying new foods. This struggle, especially common in early childhood, can persist through the teen years and into adulthood. Parents of selective eaters worry whether their child is getting adequate nutrition, while at the same time wanting to avoid making the kitchen table a battleground. (more)

Seriously, Juice Is Not Healthy

The New York Times – Erika R. Cheng, Lauren G. Fiechtner and Aaron E. Carroll

Obesity affects 40 percent of adults and 19 percent of children in the United States and accounts for more than $168 billion in health care spending each year. Sugary beverages are thought to be one of the major drivers of the obesity epidemic. These drinks (think soda and sports drinks) are the largest single source of added sugars for Americans and contribute, on average, 145 added calories a day to our diets. For these reasons, reducing sugary beverage consumption has been a significant focus of public health intervention. Most efforts have focused on sodas. (more)

High-intensity exercise in teenagers could ward off heart disease

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

New research published in Experimental Physiology has indicated potential differences in heart health benefits of differing levels of exercise intensity in teenagers. Teenage years are an important stage of life, with research suggesting it is a time during which heart diseases start to develop. These findings indicate that teenagers who participate in high-intensity exercise have lower blood pressure. (more)

Want your baby to sleep better? Feed them solid food sooner, a study suggests

USA Today – Taylor Seely

A clinical trial in England and Wales separated about 1,300 infants aged 3 months into two groups: One that ate solid foods starting at 3 months old and the other that was exclusively breast fed until 6 months. The researchers found that babies who began eating solid foods at 3 months woke less frequently and slept for longer durations than the babies who started eating at 6 months. (more)

Children eat five times more sugar during summer holidays, study finds

The Independent – Richard Jenkins

British parents will let their children consume up to five times as much sugar during the summer holidays as they would any other time of the year, according to a new poll. A survey of 1,000 parents with children aged two to 17 found sugar intake will significantly increase during the school break. (more)

Footwear habits influence child and adolescent motor skill development

Science Daily – Staff Writer

Researchers show that children and adolescents who spend most of their time barefoot develop motor skills differently from those who habitually wear shoes. Published in Frontiers in Pediatrics, this is the first study to assess the relevance of growing up shod vs. barefoot on jumping, balancing and sprinting motor performance during different stages of childhood and adolescence. Results suggest that regular physical activity without shoes may improve children’s and adolescents’ balancing and jumping skills. (more)

Teenagers can thank their parents’ positive attitude for avoiding obesity

Medical X-Press – Staff Writer

Teenagers are less likely to be overweight if their mum or dad had a positive attitude during pregnancy, a new study by the University of Bristol and Emory University revealed today. Using answers from more than 7000 parents who took part in the Children of the 90s longitudinal study about their personality, mood and attitude during pregnancy; similar answers from their children at age of eight and the child’s fat mass measurement up to the age of 17, researchers have assessed that a mother’s psychological background during pregnancy is a factor associated with teenage weight gain. (more)

To reduce your risk of obesity, it helps to have a mom who follows five healthy habits

Medical X-Press – Melissa Healy

Mothers lead the way for their children. And new research finds that the paths that moms walk (or the couches they sit and smoke on) make a powerful difference in their children’s propensity to become obese. A study that tracked close to 17,000 female nurses and their 24,289 kids has found that women who practiced five healthy habits—maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, consuming no more than moderate quantities of alcohol and not smoking cigarettes—had adolescents that were 75 percent less likely to be very overweight than the children of moms who practiced none of those healthy habits. (more)