Lilac City Peds News

Japan Panel Says Deaths Aren’t Linked to Vaccines

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 14•11

Last week the networks were covered with the news that Japan had concerns, but now that they have found no link, where is the network news to announce this?

“A panel of Japanese medical experts expressed the opinion Tuesday that the deaths of five children over the past two months weren’t connected to pediatric vaccines administered just before they died. The panel’s opinion means the use of the vaccines, Prevnar, made by Pfizer Inc., and ActHIB, made by Sanofi-Aventis S.A., could resume shortly. Last week, the health ministry suspended the use of the two vaccines following the deaths of two children in February and three in March. The ministry initially reported four recent deaths after vaccinations but later said there was one more.

The children, who were between six months and two years old, had received vaccinations of one or both of the drugs. Both shots have been given widely to children around the world for years to prevent bacterial infections causing pneumonia and meningitis”.

Japan Panel Says Deaths Aren’t Linked to Vaccines

Classroom Environment May Affect Kids’ Mental Health

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 14•11

This is really scary stuff. We need to support teachers, and work to eliminate dysfunctional classrooms.

“First-grade classrooms with poor environments — not enough resources, teachers who feel disrespected by colleagues — have been linked to a higher number of mental health problems in students, according to a new study.

The study doesn’t prove that classrooms that face more challenges directly cause mental health problems in kids. However, “being in a classroom with a lack of resources might adversely impact children’s mental health because children are frustrated or disheartened by their surroundings,” said study lead author Melissa A. Milkie, a sociology professor at the University of Maryland.

“Teachers also may be more discouraged or harsh when they can’t teach properly due to the fact that they are missing key elements,” she explained in a news release from the American Sociological Association.”

Classroom Environment May Affect Kids’ Mental Health

Health Groups Hope “Hungry Caterpillar” Will Help Fight Fat

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 14•11

I loved to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar to my children, and I am glad they are using it to broaden the message of healthy eating.

“The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics are hoping a hungry caterpillar will take a bite out of childhood obesity. The two groups are hoping to use the bestselling children’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle to help kids make better choices about what they eat and lifestyles. The book tells the story of a caterpillar that munches its way through a variety of foods.”

Health Groups Hope “Hungry Caterpillar” Will Help Fight Fat

Pregnant women: Secondhand smoke can harm your unborn baby

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 13•11

Even if you don’t smoke when you’re pregnant, just being around smokers, can increase the risk of harming your future baby, according to a new study in the medical journal Pediatrics.

Researchers found exposure to secondhand smoke increased a non-smoking pregnant woman’s chances of having a stillborn by 23 percent, and increased the risk of delivering a baby with birth defects by 13 percent.

“These results highlight the importance of smoking prevention and cessation focusing on the father in addition to the mother, during the preconception period and during the pregnancy,” explains Dr. Jonathan Winickoff, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, who is not affiliated with the study.

Pregnant women: Secondhand smoke can harm your unborn baby

Study: Kids prefer taste of food from cartooned packages

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 13•11

Cool Study looking at cartoons on cereal boxes. Avoid walking down the cereal aisle with your kids!!

“•Kids who ate the cereal with the penguin characters on the box reported liking it better than kids who ate the cereal without the characters.

•The cereal’s name had an influence on taste perception, too. When there was no character on the boxes, the children rated Healthy Bits cereal better-tasting than those who sampled Sugar Bits.

•Kids who ate Sugar Bits without the character on the box gave it the lowest rating.

“When there was a character on the box, they liked the cereal a lot, and it didn’t matter what the name of the cereal was,” says Sarah Vaala, one of the lead authors. “Once you put a character on the box, that overrides their judgment of the health merits of the food.”

Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest says: “There still are lots of kid-friendly characters on food packages, and unfortunately, they’re mostly on unhealthy foods like fast-food kids’ meals, sugary cereals and fruit gummies.

“This makes it much harder for parents to feed their children healthfully.”

Study: Kids prefer taste of food from cartooned packages

Video Games That Make Kids Move Burn Calories

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 13•11

I guess if you can’t make them put down the controller and go outside, this is a way to make them sweat…

“Interactive video games that require high-energy movement raised middle school kids’ metabolisms to levels typically seen with moderate or vigorous exercise, a new study finds. Researchers evaluated the effect of six forms of so-called “exergaming” on energy expenditure in 39 children of various body-mass indexes (BMIs) at a youth fitness research and training center at the University of Massachusetts.”

Video Games That Make Kids Move Burn Calories

Consuming Pure Chocolate May Worsen Facial Acne

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 12•11

This is horrible news…But take heart in the fact that it was only pure cocoa, which tastes terrible…

“Dermatologists have long dismissed the idea that diet is related to acne, despite some patients’ insistence that eating chocolate, for example, seems to worsen their skin disease. But a new study has demonstrated that the consumption of pure chocolate does, in fact, exacerbate acne in a dose-dependent fashion.

Previous studies have failed to show a link between acne and the ingestion of chocolate. But these negative studies were conducted with chocolate candy, which contains sugar, milk, and other adulterants, according to Samantha Block. What’s different about the new study is that it was performed with unadulterated chocolate made of 100% cacao, Ms. Block explained at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.”

Consuming Pure Chocolate May Worsen Facial Acne

Is Smoking In Rango Bad for Kids’ Health?

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 12•11

I am really surprised that Paramount didn’t consider not to put smoking in a kids movie….

“Paramount’s new animated film Rango has left many parents — and anti-tobacco advocacy groups — fuming over the portrayal of characters smoking cigarettes and cigars. In fact, there are more than 60 instances of smoking throughout the PG-rated Western, according to Kori Titus, CEO of Breathe California, a Sacramento-based non-profit dedicated to clean air and anti-tobacco programs.
“While some in the film industry have taken preliminary steps to protect young audiences by making more movies smoke free, Paramount’s decision to include smoking in a movie designed for kids is really troubling,” said Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH, president and CEO of Legacy, the non-profit anti-smoking organization, in a statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Is Smoking In Rango Bad for Kids’ Health?

What would happen if you cut back on the toys?

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 12•11

This is an interesting article. Kids need time to just imagine and play simply. “Boredom is the inventor of imagination and talent. Without an overscheduled calendar, children will be free to discover their genuine talents and interests.”

“Too many toys. Too many electronic devices. Too many activities and playdates. In his controversial book, Simplicity Parenting, Kim John Payne asks how much is too much in our society and what is it doing to the health and happiness of our children.

“Without critical downtime, we are seeing more anxious children today,” says Dr. Mathilda Catarina, of Pathways Counseling Center in Pompton Lakes. Here are a few guidelines for creating a positive home environment for your family and striking a balance in a fast-paced world.”

What would happen if you cut back on the toys?

Cap’n Crunch Will Not Retire, But He Probably Should

Written By: Walter Hoerman MD - Mar• 11•11

Is Cap’n Crunch retiring or not? Earlier this week, news reports noted that parent company PepsiCo had quietly removed the Quaker Oats spokescartoon from its first-string marketing roster — possibly under pressure from the White House and obesity experts to make kids’ food healthier. Then, on Thursday, Quaker Oats suddenly reinvigorated the Cap’n's presence online.

The Cap’n Crunch family of cereals are still absent from the Quaker Oats website, but they do have their own homepage, which has been newly revamped. “Thanks to everyone who was asking about me!” Cap’n Horatio Magellan Crunch declares. “I was out on the high seas, but I’m back and not going anywhere!” He even has a new Twitter feed (“I’m hearing the rumors. I would never retire. I love being a captain too much!” the Cap’n tweeted Thursday) and Facebook page.

Until the recent flurry of Cap’n activity, his last major appearance was in a PepsiCo press release in 2007, which reported a survey that found that 83% percent of kids ages 8 to 13 thought it would be fun to be a pirate, according to Jonathan Berr of Daily Finance. Berr suggested that criticism from First Lady Michelle Obama and from child obesity experts over the high sugar content in foods — especially breakfast cereals — marketed directly to children may explain why the Cap’n has become less visible than in the past.

Cap’n Crunch Will Not Retire, But He Probably Should