Kids getting a holiday high from nutmeg
As we gather with our families this holiday, everyone’s thoughts go out to the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.
Also this week:
Holiday highs: Some kids are looking no further than your holiday baking supplies for fun this season. There are reports from hospital ERs that kids are smoking or snorting nutmeg to get a marijuana-like high. The spice contains myristicin, which has a hallucinogenic effect. Kids are also trying risky games popularized by videos on the Internet. The “cinnamon challenge” involves trying to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon without water, and can cause breathing problems and choking. “Chubby Bunny” is another challenge that poses a choking hazard -- this one requires you to stuff as many marshmallows as you can into your mouth and try to say Chubby Bunny. So, even if you’ve talked to your kids about drugs, it may be time to expand the conversation to other risky behaviors they might assume are just harmless holiday fun.
The family that eats together stays healthier together: A British study has revealed that gathering the entire family around the dinner table -- even just a couple of nights a week -- boosts kids’ intake of fruits and vegetables. The researchers surveyed the diets of more than 2,000 children across London and looked at their families’ dining habits. Those who reported that they always ate family meals together consumed about 4.4 ounces more of fruits and vegetables than average. But even in families who only ate together a few times a week, kids ate about 3.4 more ounces than average.
Milking it: You know that milk is good for you kids, but do you know how much milk is good for them (and what’s too much)? The answer, according to new research, is that two cups a day is ideal for kids ages 2 to 5. It’s enough to help them get the vitamin D they need, but not so much that they fill up on milk and then skimp on eating other nutrient-rich foods.
Snack time: Your kids may try to convince you otherwise, but according to a new study, a healthy snack of cheese and veggies can satisfy their appetites as much as a snack of potato chips. The 183 children in the study were divided into four groups: one was offered only potato chips, one got only vegetables, one got only cheese, and a fourth got a combination of vegetables and cheese. All of the kids were allowed to eat as much as they wanted while watching TV for 45 minutes. When all had eaten to satiety, the chips eaters had consumed an average of 620 calories, while those in the veggie-and-cheese group had only consumed an average of 170 calories.
A spoonful of sugar: Apparently, it really does help the medicine go down -- even if that medicine comes in the form of an injection. Researchers found that infants cried less when they were given a few drops of a sugar solution immediately before getting a shot. One possible theory is that the sugar helps trigger the release of pain-relieving chemicals in the body. And since most babies get numerous vaccinations during their first year of life, a little sugar may help both baby and parents handle those shots better.
Kids’ snoring can be serious: According to a recent study in Finland, about 10 percent of kids ages 6 to 8 have sleep-disordered breathing (anything ranging from mild snoring to obstructive sleep apnea). And while it seems bad enough to know that your child’s breathing may pause several times throughout the night, this type of disordered breathing can affects kids during the day as well—leading to hyperactivity and behavioral and learning difficulties. Most often, the problem in kids is caused by enlarged tonsils, cross bite or other dental issues that can be fixed. If you suspect this might be the case for your child, consult with your dentist to see what can be done.
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