Parents encouraging teens to diet can cause higher risk of obesity as adult

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- "Diet," it seems, could be another four-letter-word you shouldn't say to your teen.

Parents who encourage their teens to diet could negatively impact their child's weight-related and emotional health for years to come, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal Pediatrics.

"Experiencing parent encouragement to diet as an adolescent was significantly associated with a higher risk of overweight or obesity, dieting, binge eating, engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors, and lower body satisfaction 15 years later as a parent," the study, which followed 556 teens whose parents encouraged dieting over a 15-year period, stated.

The researchers even followed the teens -- who came from diverse racial and socio-economic backgrounds -- as they went on to become parents themselves. Their conclusion? The long-term harm that was a result of parental encouragement to diet as a teen "was transmitted to the next generation."

The study encourages that health care providers should work to educate parents about the potential harm associated with encouraging their adolescent child to diet. OF course, the parents may mean to promote health, but seeing that their child has a high chance of passing on negative behaviors when they have their own children, they might want to take a different approach. An emphasis on healthy eating may accomplish the same goals, without the negative effects.

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Teens using e-cigarettes show evidence of same toxic chemicals as smokers: Study 

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Using e-cigarettes has been promoted as a way to help adult smokers cut back or quit smoking, or at least to minimize the health damage that smoking causes. Teens, even middle schoolers, have taken up e-cigarettes as well. But as researchers continue to study their safety, a new report in Pediatrics shows vaping could lead to the presence of concerning levels of toxic chemicals.

Almost 100 teens from the San Francisco Bay area were examined in the University of California-San Francisco study: 67 teens used e-cigarettes only, 16 used both e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes and 20 didn't smoke or vape at all.

Urine and salivary gland testing looked for breakdown products of toxic chemicals that have been associated with cancer -- and found them in both smokers and vapers -- but not those who didn’t smoke at all.

Those who smoked cigarettes and used e-cigarettes had urine samples that indicated a higher presence of benzene, ethylene oxide, acrylonitrile, acrolein and acrylamide (all associated with higher risks of cancer). Levels were three times as high as those who used just e-cigarettes.

In turn, the “e-cigarette only” group had three times more evidence of the presence of acrylonitrile, acrolein, propylene oxide, acrylamide, and crotonaldehyde as non-users. Those chemicals, as well, are associated with a higher cancer risk.

The researchers write, "The presence of harmful ingredients in e-cigarette vapor has been established; we can now say that these chemicals are found in the body of human adolescents who use these products."

Apparently, the “flavor” of the e-cigarette cartridge matters. Among e-cigarette-users, the levels of acrylonitrile were higher in those who preferred fruit flavors -- compared to candy, tobacco or menthol flavors.

This is significant because 55 percent of e-cigarette users -- and 67 percent of those who smoked and used e-cigs -- preferred fruit flavors.

The study did not go on to see if any of these teens developed cancer.

This is the first study to assess the chemicals in e-cigarettes among adolescent use, highlighting the need to warn teenagers that there is not much known about the possible negative health risks associated with e-cigarettes.

This article was written by Dr. Najibah Rehman, a third-year resident in preventative medicine at the University of Michigan. Dr. Rehman works in the ABC News Medical Unit.

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Day care workers accused of giving toddlers melatonin gummies

iStock/Thinkstock(DES PLAINES, Ill.) -- Three Illinois day care workers have been charged with endangering children after police say they were discovered to be distributing gummy bears with melatonin to toddlers without parental consent.

Officers were called to Kiddie Junction day care in Des Plaines, Illinois, last Friday after the day care’s management reported three caregivers were suspected of distributing the gummies to a classroom of 12 2- and 3-year-old children. The gummies were given to the children to calm them down prior to nap time, police said.

Police said the three caregivers admitted to passing the gummies out to the children and said they believed they would not be harmful since they were an over-the-counter product. They are cooperating with the investigation, police said.

Despite their belief, Cmdr. Christopher Mierzwa of the Des Plaines police told ABC News the bottle of Walgreens-brand gummies clearly stated they were not to be given to children under the age of 16.

Police said they are investigating more than one incident of these gummies being given to kids in the toddler classroom.

The three caregivers -- 32-year-old Kristen Lauletta, 19-year-old Jessica Heyse and 25-year-old Ashley Helfenbein -- have been charged with two counts of endangering the life or health of a child and two counts of battery and are scheduled to appear in court on April 4, police said. Mierzwa said any attorneys retained by the women would not be known until they appear in court.

When reached by ABC News, Kiddie Junction said they were “not interested” in commenting on the case.

All parents who have children attending Kiddie Junction have been contacted by both the day care and the police department and advised of the investigation, police said.

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Some UK supermarkets to ban selling energy drinks to anyone under 16

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Several chain supermarkets in the United Kingdom have begun implementing a voluntary ban on the sale of energy drinks to people under the age of 16.

Waitrose, a chain with more than 350 stores throughout the U.K., today began requiring proof of age for customers buying energy drinks containing more than 150 mg of caffeine per liter.

"As a responsible retailer, we want to sell these products in line with the labelling guidance," Simon Moore, Waitrose’s director of technical and corporate social responsibility, said in a statement on the company’s website. "These drinks carry advice stating that they are not recommended for children, so we’re choosing to proactively act on that guidance, particularly given the widespread concerns which have been raised about these drinks when consumed by under 16s."

Drinks sold in the U.K. that contain more than 150 mg of caffeine per liter must already carry a label alerting customers to high caffeine content, according to guidelines issues by the European Union Food Information Regulation.

The label must include this warning, according to the guidelines, placed near the name of the product: "High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women."

Jamie Oliver, a London-based chef who has taken on the cause of childhood obesity, welcomed the retailers’ actions in a tweet, saying the retailers, "have done the right thing! stopping the sale of energy drinks to children."

The amount of caffeine in one of the energy drinks, 150 mg, is roughly equivalent to two-and-a-half cups of instant coffee, if they are eight ounces each, according to the Mayo Clinic.

It's unclear how much caffeine is safe or unsafe for teens or young children, since studies of its effects are not permitted in children.

For adults, the FDA has cited around 400 milligrams of caffeine a day as an amount not generally associated with dangerous side effects.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advised parents in a 2011 report to keep kids and teens away from energy drinks over concerns about the high levels of caffeine.

"Energy drinks contain substances not found in sports drinks that act as stimulants, such as caffeine, guarana and taurine," the AAP said in a statement at the time. "Caffeine –- by far the most popular stimulant –- has been linked to a number of harmful health effects in children, including effects on the developing neurologic and cardiovascular systems."

In addition to those additives, energy drinks can contain kola nut, yerba mate and cocoa, which bring additional caffeine, according to the report published in Pediatrics.

In 2011, there were 1,499 adolescents aged 12 to 17 who went to emergency rooms for an energy drink related emergencies, up from 1,145 adolescents in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.

Side effects of excess caffeine consumption by children include anxiety, jitteriness, headache, fatigue, irritability, elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations, experts say. The effects can be serious if the child has an underlying heart issue.

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How gender equality and diversity were addressed at 2018 Oscars

ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- In a year that saw a reckoning over sexual misconduct in Hollywood as well as the success of groundbreaking films like Lady Bird and Get Out, the Academy addressed the issues head on -- from the red carpet to Jimmy Kimmel's opening monologue to a powerful clip featuring a diverse group of past and present game changers.

Inclusion was also celebrated in the performances, by the presenters and in the speeches given by winners. One of the most memorable moments of the night came at the end when Frances McDormand was accepting the Oscar for lead actress.

"If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees in every category stand with me tonight," she said, urging Meryl Streep to get up first so others would follow, "the filmmakers, the producers, the director, the cinematographer, the designers..."

"Look around ladies and gentlemen, because we all have stories to tell," she continued, encouraging the Hollywood powerbrokers to take a meeting with them.

She also left the audience with two words: "inclusion rider."

The night began with Kimmel, far from shying away from the issues, joking about Harvey Weinstein and the flap over Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams' salaries on the reshoot of "All the Money in the World."

He also highlighted all the ways "ceilings have been shattered," calling out the first female cinematographer nominee Rachel Morrison, Get Out director Jordan Peele, Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig and the crushing success of Black Panther.

Later in the show, Weinstein accusers Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra joined together to give an emotional tribute to the #MeToo movement and inclusion in Hollywood by way of introducing the video clip.

Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, who was one of the first women to speak out about the now disgraced producer, was featured prominently in the clip saying, "The status quo does not have to be status quo anymore."

She also said future filmmakers have the opportunity to "lionize beauty and truth and justice."

Sorvino and dozens of women accused Weinstein late last year of sexual misconduct, including rape, which allegedly happened over several decades. Though the former movie mogul has admitted to wrongdoing and sought professional help, his spokeswoman told ABC News previously that "any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein."

Still, Weinstein was fired from the company that bears his name, banned from the Producer's Guild of America and expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Other big names included in the Oscars clip include Lee Daniels, Greta Gerwig and Geena Davis.

Gerwig, who is the only woman nominated for best director for her film Lady Bird, asks other women out in the world who want to be writers and directors to "make your movie, we need your movie, I need your movie."

Davis reflects back on her inspiring 1991 film Thelma & Louise and how that was supposed to be the moment when women got a chance to compete with men and be front and center in films.

"That did happen ... but this is now that moment," she said, referencing films like Wonder Woman.

Moonlight director Barry Jenkins, whose film won best picture last year, spoke about seeing women in the screening of "Wonder Woman" crying tears of joy for finally having a place in a man's world.

"[I said to myself] this is what white men feel all the time," he said.

Daniels added that moviegoers should get ready for more films like Get Out.

"We’re here and we're not going anywhere," he closed.

Kobe Bryant, who won his first Oscar for his animated short film, Dear Basketball, clapped back at Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham when he referred to her controversial comments during his acceptance speech. "As basketball players we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble," he quipped. "I’m glad we’re doing much more than that."

But his win also drew mixed reactions on Twitter, where some brought up his alleged sexual assault case from 2003. Bryant was arrested on felony charges, but the case was dropped after his accuser refused to testify.

For most of the night, the push for inclusion and equality was on full display. For their performance of the Oscar nominated Stand Up for Something, Common and Andra Day were joined on stage by transgender activist Janet Mock, Sandy Hook mom Nicole Hockley, Black Lives Matter's Patrisse Cullors and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke among others.

Announcing the nominees for best director, Emma Stone introduced "these four men and Greta Gerwig."

This year's Oscars also featured the first transgender presenter, Daniela Vega, who appears in Chile's "A Fantastic Woman," which won the Oscar for best foreign film, and Yance Ford, the first transgender filmmaker to be nominated for an Oscar for his documentary "Strong Island."

Earlier on the red carpet, Sorvino and her date for the night, Judd, spoke about the Time's Up gender equality campaign and legal fund.

"This movement isn't stopping," Sorvino said. "We're going forward until we have a safe and equitable world for women."

Judd, who was one of the first accusers of Weinstein to go public, said she has been telling her story since 1997 when it happened. "Finally the world is able to hear," she said.

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Debate hits home for families dealing with myths about violence, mental illness

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- When Gayle Giese heard about the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, about 20 miles north of her home in Broward County, Fla., she said one of her first thoughts was, “Oh my gosh, they’re going to blame this on mental illness.”

She thought of her 26-year-old son Andrew, who has schizophrenia.

“He’s a wonderful person with a terrible illness,” she said.

Giese says Andrew is extremely sensitive. “He gets upset when he hears about violence of any kind,” she said, adding that she decided to tell him about the shooting before he heard about it on TV or on the radio.

“I think it helped a great deal,” she said.

In the days following the shooting that claimed 17 lives, Andrew was glued to the news coverage. “He asked me if I was going to give blood because he heard they were asking people to do that,” Giese said.

A predictable pattern emerges each time there is a mass shooting in this country: the initial shock and search for answers gives way to a debate over guns and mental health care. The latter presents a dilemma for many Americans who experience the realities of mental illness on a daily basis, as well as for those who advocate for increased access to mental health care and work to combat the stigma surrounding conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Giese is concerned about the consequences of associating acts of violence with mental illness because, she says, the link is not borne out by facts or her experience with her son.

“I worry that people may assume that Andrew’s violent – and he’s not,” Giese said.

In fact, Andrew is much more representative of the vast majority of people with mental illness than the shooter who opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mass shootings by people with serious mental illness represent less than one percent of the yearly gun homicides in America. A 2015 study looking at 235 mass killings determined that 22 percent of the perpetrators were considered mentally ill. And research shows people with a mental illness are more likely to harm themselves than others, and they are often the victims of violent crime.

And therein lies the paradox for Giese, who welcomes the increased attention on the need for better mental health care, but worries the tragedies that often precipitate that attention will contribute to the stigma that already exists around mental illness.

That stigma made Giese hesitate to share her story publicly.

“I considered not doing this interview,” she said. “I don’t want to hurt or embarrass anyone in my family.”

“But then I thought, ‘No, that is wrong. We need to talk about this. It’s an illness like any other illness. It’s a brain disease. Let’s talk about it, research it, cure it.’”

Giese’s personal experience with mental illness began years before her son was formally diagnosed with schizophrenia. Around the age of 12, Andrew, a thriving student and talented athlete and musician, began experiencing of disorganized thinking and difficulty concentrating.

“I remember we would study together. He would say, ‘Mom, I’m getting stupid. I can’t think straight. I’m confused,’” Giese recalled. “I blew it off and all his teachers blew it off because he was in the gifted program and was still scoring high on his tests.”

Before long, social anxiety set in and Andrew began isolating himself from friends. A series of specialists dismissed the symptoms or prescribed anti-anxiety medication. During his senior year of high school, Andrew experienced his first psychotic break.

Giese says she now recognizes there were missed signs of the underlying issue. Social anxiety is often associated with schizophrenia, and Giese believes there is a history of undiagnosed mental health issues in her family.

“I have a mom who occasionally heard voices, but she was super functional. She took great care of three kids after our dad was killed in a car accident,” Giese said. “We called it ‘an eccentricity.’”

Giese says that like other serious illnesses, early detection and treatment is crucial to a mentally ill patient’s outcome.

“You look back and you want to kick yourself,” she said.

She regrets that it took five years from the first signs of trouble to get Andrew the correct diagnosis.

“You don’t want to wait for the first psychotic episode – they call that stage four,” she said. “You wouldn’t wait until stage four if you had cancer to get it treated.”

It took nine years after Andrew’s diagnosis for doctors to prescribe the right medication in the right dosage to get him to his functional baseline without negative side effects. He has been hospitalized multiple times over that period, but Giese says he is doing pretty well right now. He still loves playing guitar and occasionally gets back out on the tennis court or golf course.

Over that period, Giese devoted countless hours to researching treatment centers and therapies. She’s become active in the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, known as NAMI, which offers educational resources and support groups. ABC News contacted her through NAMI.

Sandra Cumper is the executive director of NAMI Broward County. She says that level of support and dedication from family is vital to a person’s recovery from mental illness.

“A lot of people living with mental illness do not have the wherewithal to do the things they need to be doing. They don’t have the resources, they don’t have family members who are there for them, so they really get lost in the system,” Cumper said.

Now, in the wake of a tragic school shooting, and with so much attention on mental illness, Giese and Cumper hope the conversation will lead to constructive change without contributing to dangerous misconceptions about mental illness.

Giese says she has been "hyper-aware" of news reports about the shooting that reference mental illness, and she's been heartened by some of what she's heard.

"I've heard some really good comments from psychiatrists, and I'm really happy about that," she said. "I'll actually just sit there and applaud sometimes."

But other comments have been difficult for her to hear.

"I have heard - even from the kids from Parkland who have become advocates for gun control, and I'm so proud of them - I have heard them say, 'We don't want crazies to get guns.' That word, 'crazies,' pops out and makes me bristle," Giese said.

Giese says she knows that people who don't understand schizophrenia could be afraid of it, but she wants people to know that hate, vengefulness and bitterness are not symptoms of any mental illness.

“Schizophrenia is incredibly common, and it’s tragic that it’s so common,” Giese said. “Communities need to have empathy and understand what’s going.”

Cumper agrees, and says it's vitally important to increase public awareness and understanding of mental illness, so people can recognize the symptoms and get help if they need it.

“Mental illness does exist,” Cumper said. “It can happen to anyone. It does not discriminate, but it doesn’t mean that a person has to be at a standstill in life.”

“At the end of the day, people need support and understanding and compassion. These individuals with mental illness didn’t ask for this, but they can recover. We need to provide services and enable people to get the treatment they need. That’s all we ask.”

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Fish oil tablets could reduce allergies during pregnancy according to recent trial

iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- New research out of the UK suggests taking a daily fish oil capsule during pregnancy and the early months of breastfeeding can reduce a baby's risk of food allergies, BBC News reports.

An analysis based on previous trials was taken by Imperial College London.  Experts called for larger trials to examine how the supplements could affect children later in life.

According to BBC News, the research confirmed the effects diet during pregnancy and the initial months of breastfeeding.

The trials found a 30% reduction in egg allergy risk as a result of the capsules taken. Omega-3, a fat contained in fish oil tablets, may have the anti-inflammatory effect to reduce allergies, says BBC News. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in oily fish, such as salmon.

Dr. Robert Boyle is the lead author of the research, and he explains, "Our research suggests probiotic and fish oil supplements may reduce a child's risk of developing an allergic condition, and these findings need to be considered when guidelines for pregnant women are updated."

Seif Shaheen, a professor at Queen Mary University in England, called for greater trials:

"More definitive answers on the possible role of maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation in the prevention of childhood allergic disease can only come from further large trials which follow up the children to school age... If such trials are big enough, they may be able to identify particular subgroups of mothers and children who would benefit most from these interventions."

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Police, friends and family start search for missing CDC employee

Atlanta Police Department(ATLANTA) -- Cops and concerned friends of CDC worker Timothy Cunningham, who mysteriously vanished nearly three weeks ago, kicked off a search Saturday afternoon to find him.

The search party met Saturday at Mercer University's campus, according to ABC affiliate WSB-TV.

The location is around two miles from where Cunningham, an Ivy League-trained epidemiologist disappeared after leaving work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Feb. 12.

On that day, Atlanta Police and CDC officials confirmed, Cunningham learned that he had been passed over for a promotion and he went home sick.

He hasn't been seen or heard from since.

Police don't suspect there is any evidence of foul play related to Cunningham's missing case.

A $10,000 reward has been offered by Crime Stoppers Atlanta to draw any leads that help investigators discover Cunningham's whereabouts.

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Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick joins board of medical startup

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is joining the board of a medical startup.

The company, Kareo Inc., aims to become the “market-leading provider of technology-enabled solutions to the business problems faced by independent medical practices,” according to the website. It has raised $125 million in venture capital, according to Bloomberg.

Kalanick was an early investor in the startup, which was launched by Dan Rodrigues, according to Bloomberg. Kalanick and Rodrigues have worked together in the past; they co-founded music search company Scour in 1997.

Kalanick resigned as Uber CEO in June amid allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment within the company. He still remains on the board and was involved in selecting his successor, Dara Khosrowshahi.

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Teen who created toxin-detecting molecule wants to inspire others in STEM

Keiana Cave(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Keiana Cavé is already a game-changer in the world of STEM. The 19-year-old is the brains behind a toxin-detecting molecule that could help change the way oil spills are handled.

In the wake of the 2010 BP oil spill, Cavé, then a 15-year-old high school sophomore, went on a research mission. Her goal was to prove that oil sitting on the ocean's surface was doing more damage than previously believed.

"I remember watching the news and the news anchor was talking about the after effects of the BP oil spill and I remember thinking there are probably some issues left [unsolved]," the New Orleans, Louisiana, native said.

Cavé eventually discovered that when UV rays from the sun mixed with the oil on the ocean's surface, the result was carcinogenic.

She entered her findings in a science fair in her hometown and said she was shocked when she took home a prize for her research.

"It was a complete shock to me," she recalled. "It was also the first time I realized people might actually care about the problem I'm trying to solve."

Cavé said she had no idea science fairs existed outside of the movies and was encouraged by her high school biology teacher to pursue her research.

Now a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Cavé is still innovating. Named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 Class of 2017 members in the energy category, the chemical engineering major has published two research papers and holds two patents for her methods of detecting toxins in the ocean water. She is working to create a new dispersant to neutralize these cancer-causing chemicals.

“I am currently developing a dispersant in the form of a powder. In order to develop dispersants, you really need to look at the molecular structure to see how it will affect the environment chemically," she explained. "That’s what I’m working on right now and I’m trying to perfect it.”

She has also been funded by Chevron to continue her research.

Cavé hopes her work will make an even bigger impact, and wants to advocate for other girls of color to work hard and pursue careers in STEM.

“Follow what you want to do no matter what," Cavé said of the advice she gives to other young women in STEM. "Maybe you don’t look like them and they might not think that you know as much as they do, but you have to prove you do. "Keep your head down, and work really hard.”

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