Entries in Infants (37)


US Teen Birth Rate Fell to Record Low in 2009

E. Dygas/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Fewer teens are having babies in the United States -- but not few enough, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although teen births dropped 37 percent nationwide over the last two decades to an all-time low in 2009, the rate is still nine times higher than in other developed countries.

Despite the plunge, roughly 410,000 teen girls gave birth in 2009 at an estimated cost of $9 billion to U.S. taxpayers, according to the report.

"Many are enrolled in the Medicaid and WIC [Women, Infants and Children] programs to help them during pregnancy,” said Dr. Amy Thompson, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology specializing in teen pregnancy at the University of Cincinnati.

Only half of teen moms earn a high school diploma by age 22 compared with 90 percent of teens who don't have children, according to the report.

Black and Hispanic teens are two-to-three times more likely to give birth than white teens, according to the report. And girls born to teen parents are nearly 33 percent more likely to become teen moms themselves.

The report suggests fewer high school students are having sex, and more of them are using at least one method of birth control. The proportion of students who reported using two methods of contraception, such as condoms and the birth control pill, almost doubled from five percent in 1991 to nine percent in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Free Online Program Offers Help for Children's Sleep Problems

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents have a lot on their minds when it comes to their infants and toddlers, and one of the most common worries is their children's sleeping habits.

About 25 percent of parents believe their child has a sleep disturbance, typically difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep through the night.

Now, there's a new tool that can help put parents at ease.  It's called the Customized Sleep Profile -- a free online program that asks parents of children under the age of three a series of questions about their child's sleep.  Based on the answers, the tool offers comparisons to other children of the same age, categorizes the child as a "good," "excellent" or "disrupted" sleeper, and provides recommendations for helping the child sleep better.

"We wanted to be able to provide families with an easily accessible, free tool they could use to get customized recommendations," said Jodi Mindell, one of the developers of the tool and a professor of psychology at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.  "Most of the information available in print or online doesn't say specifically what you should do for your child."

The recommendations, she said, are based on a wide body of sleep research.

Mindell is also lead author of a study assessing the effectiveness of the online tool.  In the lastest issue of the journal Sleep, Mindell and her fellow researchers found that mothers who used the program and followed the recommendations reported their children slept much better in the two weeks after trying the customized profile.  The majority of mothers said they would continue to use the recommendations after the study period.

"Mothers ... also slept better and had less tension, depression, fatigue and confusion," the authors wrote.

Johnson & Johnson provides the Customized Sleep Profile, but Mindell says it had no involvement in its development or the study, and offered no compensation to the authors.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Child Allergic to Milk? They May Grow Out Of It

BananaStock/Thinkstock(DURHAM, N.C.) -- New studies suggest that many infants outgrow milk allergies over time.

Milk allergy is the most common of childhood allergies, and new research shown at the 2011 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) meeting suggests that about one in three children with the allergy grow out of it within 30 months.

The study, which was conducted by Duke, Johns Hopkins, Mount Sinai, National Jewish, and the University of Arkansas, involved some 500 patients between three and 15 months old. Researchers found that there is a 39.6 percent likelihood that they would outgrow it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Starting Infants on Solid Food Can Lead to Obesity

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Obesity and children. Those two words are in the same sentence more and more as an epidemic of childhood obesity befalls the United States. To combat the issue, parents may be contributing to their kids' excess weight-- without even knowing it. 

A new study suggests that not only what infants eat but when they start eating it can lead to obesity as they grow older.  Published in the journal Pediatrics, it followed 847 infants from before birth until age three.  Their mothers were surveyed about how they fed their babies and when they were started on solid food.   

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents wait until infants are between four and six months old before introducing solid food into their diet.  For the sixty-seven per cent of infants who were breast-fed, there was no association between when they started on solids and obesity, but for the thirty-two per cent of babies fed formula, those introduced to  solid foods earlier  than four months had a six times greater chance of being obese by age three.  The study ended at that age so we don't know if the pattern of obesity continued. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Surgeon General's 'Call to Action' Touts Breastfeeding Benefits

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Seventy-five percent of babies born in the U.S. start out breastfeeding -- however, 13 percent are exclusively breastfed by the end of six months, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and other breastfeeding advocates, including director Spike Lee's wife, Tonya Lewis Lee, are trying hard to increase the percentage of mothers who breastfeed exclusively for six months through the Surgeon General's "Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding."

"One of the most highly effective preventative measures a mother can take to protect her child and her own health is to breastfeed," Benjamin said during a press briefing.

The Surgeon General's "Call to Action" outlines the benefits of breastfeeding such as the reduced risk of diarrhea, ear infections, pneumonia and asthma in babies.  Breastfeeding also can protect against infant obesity.  For mothers, Benjamin adds, the risk of breast and ovarian cancer is significantly diminished.

"Call to Action" also identifies several ways families, communities, health care providers and employers can increase support for breastfeeding.  Among those listed, Dr. Benjamin calls on employers to offer women a "clean and private place other than a bathroom" to nurse or pump breastmilk.  She also says health care systems should "ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding."

The Surgeon General's "Call to Action" will be accompanied with a public service announcement, with ads set to air on 1,200 television stations across the country, according to MedPage Today.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study Finds Breastfed Children Outscored Formula-Fed Classmates

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(SUBIACO, Western Australia) -- From flashcards to DVDs, the list of products touted as baby brain boosters is ever-growing.  But new research that suggests breastfeeding can significantly improve academic achievement later in life is offering food for thought on the impact of neonatal nutrition.

The benefits of breastfeeding for newborns and new moms alike are many.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk is loaded with nutrients that help babies grow and antibodies that stave off infections.  Breastfeeding is also thought to protect against chronic diseases such as diabetes (type 1 and 2), obesity and asthma, and may even ward off certain cancers such as leukemia.

Breastfeeding moms also tend to recover from their deliveries faster, shed their pregnancy weight sooner and have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Because of the perks for moms and tots, the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of life, and continuing to age two or beyond with appropriate complementary foods.

But can breastfeeding actually make babies smarter?

According to the results of an Australian study published in Pediatrics, children who were breastfed for six months or more outscored their formula-fed classmates in tests of reading, writing and math at age 10.  However, the benefits were gender-specific, with only boys achieving significantly higher test scores for reasons that remain unclear.

Several studies have previously linked breastfeeding to later intelligence.  But how breastfeeding confers its brainy benefits remains unclear.  Researchers suspect that components of breast milk that may be missing from formula, such as the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and the long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid (ARA), are essential for optimal brain growth. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


As Breast Milk Sharing Becomes More Popular, FDA Weighs Risks

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Although milk banks have become increasingly popular for mothers and fathers, there is no federal regulation governing the donating and distributing of human milk. The only state-regulated milk banks are in California and New York, where donor milk banks must be licensed tissue banks and are regulated by the state Health Department.

To address the regulatory situation, the Food and Drug Administration held an informational session Dec. 6, where advisers weighed in on the safety, risks and needed regulation for the collection, screening, processing and distribution of human milk.

The meeting came on the heels of an FDA warning issued last week about what it believes are the risks -- including contamination and the spread of illness -- of feeding a baby breast milk from a source other than its mother.

"Milk banks are important in the way that blood banks are important," said Karla Shepard Rubinger, executive director of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine. "Blood banks need oversight and regulations. You ask most people about milk banks and they go 'yucky.' Ask them how they feel about blood banks, and they'll say we need to support them."

According to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, milk banks dispensed a total of 409,077 ounces of milk in 2000. In 2005, that number increased by 45 percent. And demand continues to grow.

While many milk banks voluntarily follow the milk banking association's guidelines, the FDA has recently become aware of for-profit milk banks like Prolacta Bioscience, a large-scale human milk company, and the donation and selling of breast milk through the Internet.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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