Is skim milk making your kid fat?
Do you listen to your doctor’s orders? Apparently, most of us don’t. Two-thirds of parents readily admit to ignoring their pediatricians’ advice, according to a new poll. While thankfully most heed their doctors’ counsel about car seats and nutrition, they wing it when it comes to stuff like discipline, sleep and TV watching.
In other news:
Skim milk won’t make toddlers skinny: It may seem counterintuitive, but new research shows that giving preschoolers low-fat or skim milk doesn’t necessarily keep them slim, and may actually be associated with an increased risk of kids being overweight or obese. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends switching kids to reduced-fat milk after age 2, new research has found that that tactic might not help prevent weight gain. In the study, overweight and obese children were more likely to drink skim or low-fat milk than normal weight children. Researchers theorize that getting more milk fat might curb the appetite for other fatty foods. But milk is obviously just one part of the equation. If you’re worried about your child’s weight, encouraging exercise and eating a variety of healthful foods is still the best strategy.
The connection between divorce and cigarettes: There are many reasons kids try cigarettes — experimentation, peer pressure, celebrities who make it look cool — but who would have thought divorce would be one of them? A new study found that men whose parents divorced before they turned 18 were 48 percent more likely to try smoking than their peers from intact families, and women from divorced families were 39 percent more likely. While the researchers can’t determine from this study why this link exists, one theory is that kids who are stressed out by their parents’ divorce may take up smoking as a coping mechanism.
HPV infections up, HPV vaccinations down: The number of parents who say they won’t vaccinate their daughters against HPV (the sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer) continues to rise, with 44 percent currently deciding to skip it. According to a recent survey, more than 2 in 5 parents believe the vaccine is unnecessary and worry about potential side effects (despite several studies that have shown its safety and efficacy). And while many parents argue against it because their daughters’ aren’t yet sexually active, doctors say the vaccine is actually more effective when given before the child is exposed to the virus through sexual activity.
Save the ADHD drugs for kids with ADHD: They’re medicine, not study aids — and experts are urging doctors not to dole them out like candy to kids who just want to ace the SATs. A newly released position statement from the American Academy of Neurology says that “the practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable.” They warn of the risks of over-medicating and creating emotional, and possibly physical, dependency. If your children are asking about these medications, talk to them — and their doctors — about other ways to boost alertness, such as exercise, diet and getting better sleep.
How does your garden grow?: When kids get involved in growing, as well as cooking, the food that shows up on their lunch trays, they are more willing to try new things and eat more healthfully, according to a new study. In the study, kids in grades 3 through 6 spent 45 minutes a week in the garden and 90 minutes a week in the kitchen, learning both how foods grow and how they can be used to create meals. The result was that kids were more likely to try what they’d grown and cooked — and the social atmosphere of gardening and cooking with their classmates enhanced the effect.
Spring break safety: Before you hit the beach (or the ski slopes) for spring break, be sure you’re packing plenty of sun protection for every family member. For kids, look for sunscreens formulated with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, sun-blocking ingredients that are less likely to irritate young skin, and be sure to reapply every few hours and after spending time in the water. Wide-brimmed hats and sun-protective clothing are a great addition, and they’re essential for babies under six months who shouldn’t be slathered in sunscreen.
Keep your family healthy with tips from The Healthy Household every Friday on MSN Healthy Living
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