Entries in Children's Health (6)


Study: Type 2 Diabetes in Children Harder to Treat

Fuse/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that Type 2 diabetes progresses more rapidly in children than in adults and is harder to treat.

The study, which was released Monday, found the usual oral medicine for Type 2 diabetes stopped working in about half of the young patients within a few years. Doctors also had to add daily shots of insulin to control their blood sugar. Researchers said that they were shocked by how poorly the oral drugs performed because they work much better in adults.

“It’s frightening how severe this metabolic disease is in children,” Dr. David M. Nathan, an author of the study and director of the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital, told the New York Times. “It’s really got a hold on them, and it’s hard to turn around.”

While researchers say aggressive forms of treatment can lower the risks, doctors are still unclear as to why it is so much harder to control in children and teenagers. Researchers say rapid growth and intense hormonal changes are likely factors in how diabetes effects teens.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Black Children Less Likely to Get Pain Meds in ER

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Black children seen in the emergency department for abdominal pain are less likely to receive pain medication than white children, according to a new study.

The research, which also found that black and Hispanic children were more likely to experience an ER stay longer than six hours compared to white children -- even when the same tests were ordered -- raises questions on how race may affect hospital care when it comes to the youngest patients.

The study was presented Saturday at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston.

Lead study author Dr. Tiffani J. Johnson, pediatric emergency medicine fellow at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, says she has a strong interest in improving the quality and equity of care that kids receive in the ER.

"If we don't recognize disparities, we're never going to be able to close the gaps," says Johnson.

Johnson and colleagues used data from the CDC's National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, which included more than 2,000 children from 550 hospitals who visited the ER for abdominal pain between 2006 and 2009.

Black children were 39 percent less likely to receive pain medications compared to white children with similar medical situations. When their pain was severe, rated 7 or higher on a pain scale from 0 to 10, an even larger disparity was observed.

Research shows children are always at greater risk to be under-treated or mistreated compared to adults because of their limited ability to communicate how they feel.

Past research has shown that race can affect the way that adults express their pain. A 2002 study published in the International Journal of Intercultural Relations found that black patients were less likely to disclose the fact that they were in pain than their white counterparts. When they did discuss their pain they were less likely to describe its intensity.

And doctors might also be less skilled in recognizing the pain of certain races. Specifically, doctors were almost twice as likely to underestimate the pain of black patients compared to other ethnicities in a 2007 study from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine.

Whether either of these findings applies to pain in children is simply not known. Johnson says we need additional studies to find out exactly what factors lead to variations in care.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Study: Parents Reading To Hospitalized Infants Can be Beneficial

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- It may come as no surprise, but reading to a newborn child can help improve the relationship between parent and infant. A new study in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics shows that 69 percent of children spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit after birth responded positively after being read to by a parent.

The study sought to find if there was a difference between newborn children spending time with a parent immediately after birth, if going into the NICU made a difference. Surveying 120 families, the study showed 69 percent of parents reported that reading helped them feel closer to their baby, and 86 percent reported it was enjoyable.

Parents also reported an increased sense of control and more intimate feelings with their child after reading.  One study participant shared her feelings on the results with Time magazine.

"Reading gave us a way to stay close. I couldn't talk to her or touch her, but she heard the sound of my voice. That simple activity helped me get through the situation, and I have beautiful memories of the experience,” said Mélissa Asselin, who has a five-year-old daughter with pulmonary hypertension.

The study concluded that parents who read to their babies in neonatal intensive care were three times as likely than other parents to continue to do so in the future.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Efforts to Fight Soaring Obesity Rates: Working or Worthless?

(NEW YORK) -- As childhood obesity rates soar, classroom lessons in nutrition and physical activity like the first lady’s “Let’s Move” campaign are becoming more prevalent. A new study finds while many of these programs are on the right track, there are some crucial pieces missing.

The study involved 26 school-based nutrition interventions in the United States. There, investigators performed a content analysis of kindergarten through 12th-grade school-based nutrition interventions which fit into the study's 10 components proposed for developing future effective school-based nutrition interventions.

Findings from this study reveal that classroom nutrition education (85 percent) followed by parental involvement at home (62 percent) were the two intervention components used most often. Less frequent components included establishment of food service guidelines (15 percent), community involvement (15 percent), inclusion of ethnic/cultural groups (15 percent), inclusion of incentives for schools (12 percent), and involvement of parents at school (eight percent).

This study documents that although many components of nutrition education have been successfully included in our children's school-based interventions, there are still some missing links.

"Schools continue to be an important location for childhood obesity prevention interventions. However, it is imperative that school-based interventions be developed and implemented to achieve maximum results,” said lead author Dr. Mary Roseman, who conducted this work while at the University of Kentucky and the University of Mississippi.

Copyright 2011 ABC Radio News


Children's Health Negatively Impacted by Recession, Study Says

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- More than 15 million children are living in poverty, according to a new report released Monday by the PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

According to the report, which focuses on the effects of the recession on children's well-being, short-term periods of poverty can negatively affect the long-term health of a child.  Additionally, poor nutrition continues to contribute to the growing problem of childhood obesity, given the growing number of food insecure households in the U.S.

Pediatric hospitals have also reported increased cases of physical abuse.  Meanwhile, researchers are concerned that maltreatment of children "will spike as the recession comes to an end."

Authors of the study say they are hoping that federal, state and city governments establish adequate access to "safety net" programs to help combat the negative effect of the recession.

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is expected to discuss the report in a congressional briefing Wednesday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


San Francisco Passes Ordinance on Kids' Meals, Addressing Child Health Issues

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- On Tuesday, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to vote in favor of an ordinance that will limit toy giveaways in children's meals that are excessively high in fat, sodium and calories.

With the 1979 introduction of the McDonald's Happy Meal, fast food chains have used toy giveaways as the primary vehicle to sell more than a billion kids' meals to children 12 and under.

The ordinance's sponsor, Eric Mar, called the regulation a "victory for our children's health," citing "disturbingly high" rates of obesity.

"This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children's health  first and join the range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment," he said.

Local restaurants are also joining the measure along with public health professionals, parents, educators, small business and community advocates. 

Citing the critical value of toy giveaways to fast food chains, McDonald's and its counterparts have gone to great lengths to fight the new rule, from threatening lawsuits to lobbying public officials.  The fast food chains have also touted recent "healthier options" such as apple dippers with a caramel sauce. 

Dr. Carmen Rita Nevarez, vice president of the Public Health Institute, points to the relativity of the term "healthier," and challenges fast food marketers to look at the reality of the current children's health crisis.

"One in three kids are, or will become, sick from the food they eat.  We see it not only in our city's waiting rooms and classrooms, but in our soaring health care bills.  It's time for fast food promotions to stop contravening our efforts to change this reality."

The San Francisco ordinance will take effect December 1, 2011.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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