Entries in Pediatricians (3)


Movies Show Less Tobacco Use, CDC Study Finds

Michael Matisse/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- Top-grossing, youth-rated films have significantly slowed the frequency of smoking over the past five years, according to a CDC report released Thursday.

The study found that total on-screen tobacco occurrences fell by 72 percent between 2005 and 2010. The average number of smoking incidents per youth-rated movie decreased from 20.1 to 6.8 during the same time period.

Despite the Hollywood's progress, 45 percent of the top-grossing movies still show tobacco use including 31 percent of youth-rated films.

On Thursday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) called for Hollywood producers to continue to cut down use of tobacco in films even further.  The organization of pediatric medical specialists also wants the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to approve new rating policies that would give an "R" rating to films featuring tobacco use.

Saying that on-screen smoking is the biggest threat to child health, AAP President O. Marion Burton, MD, FAAP, doesn't want to compete with glamorized tobacco imagery.

"As pediatricians and parents, we do our best to help kids understand the dangers of tobacco use.  But if we're competing with movies that glamorize smoking to kids, it's an uphill battle," Burton said.

"It’s possible for media companies to change the way they expose children to these images by embracing responsible policies, such as the R-rating, considered to be effective by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those companies that have done so should be commended, and the others should follow suit."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Should Children Be Routinely Tested for Cigarette Smoke Exposure?

Comstock/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Most parents would want their children to be screened for cigarette smoke exposure when they visit their pediatricians, according to a study published Monday in Pediatrics.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children surveyed 477 smoking and non-smoking parents on whether or not they would want to have their children tested for the exposure as part of a routine primary care visit -- and found that 60 percent of them would.

Although tests to measure children's exposure to tobacco smoke exist, they are not currently used in child healthcare settings.  If they were, parents who smoke would get a better idea about whether their efforts to keep their children away from secondhand smoke are successful or not.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Should Doctors Talk to Parents About Guns?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- In Florida, where a five-year-old has just been suspended after bringing a loaded .22-caliber pistol to preschool, a local politician has proposed a bill that would ban doctors from asking parents about guns at home.

"The intention of the bill is to prevent the violation of an individual's right to privacy," State Rep. Jason Brodeur said in a statement to ABC News.  "The bill addresses a violation of privacy rights concerning firearms and seeks to prevent future occurrences of such violations."

Under the proposed legislation -- currently under review by the Criminal Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House of Representatives -- a doctor could face a hefty fine or even jail time for asking a patient or a patient's family about guns in their home.

"Parents don't know what to believe and don't know why their state wants to know if they lawfully own firearms," Brodeur said.  He said the purpose of the bill is to protect families from being denied treatment for refusing to answer questions about guns in their home.

But the proposal has sparked outrage among pediatricians, many of whom say asking parents about guns in the home is not just their right, but their responsibility.

"Including a discussion about gun safety during checkups at a pediatrician's office is no different than encouraging parents to use car seats or keep poisons locked up," said Dr. John Moses, an associate professor of pediatrics at Duke University.  "The issue here is not the right of gun ownership, but simply child safety and the prevention of tragic injuries that can be avoided by proper gun storage."

Gunshot wounds account for one in 25 admissions to pediatric trauma centers in the United States, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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