Weekly Health Watch on how television affects toddlers, cholesterol screening for kids, quitting smoking and more.
The temptation to rely on media screens to entertain babies and toddlers is more appealing than ever with screens surrounding families at home, in the car and even at the grocery store.
However, in a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics says to keep children under age 2 as “screen-free” as possible.
In a recent survey, 90 percent of parents said their children under age 2 watch some form of electronic media. On average, children this age watch televised programs one to two hours per day. By age 3, almost one-third of children have a television in their bedroom.
“In today’s ‘achievement culture,’ the best thing you can do for your young child is to give her a chance to have unstructured play — both with you and independently. Children need this in order to figure out how the world works,” said Dr. Brown, a member of the AAP Council on Communications and Media.
So, is television or videos harmful for kids under 2? Here are some key findings from the study.
- Many video programs for infants and toddlers are marketed as “educational,” yet evidence does not support this.
- Unstructured play time is more valuable for the developing brain than electronic media. Young children learn best from interaction with humans, not screens.
- Television viewing around bedtime can cause poor sleep habits and irregular sleep schedules.
- Young children with heavy media use are at risk for delays in language development once they start school.
-- American Academy of Pediatrics
New Research: Control blood glucose early
Controlling blood glucose early in the course of type 1 diabetes yields huge dividends, preserving kidney function for decades, according to a new study by the National Institutes of Health. Compared to conventional therapy, near-normal control of blood glucose beginning soon after diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and continuing an average six and a half years reduced by half the long-term risk of developing kidney disease.
Did You Know?
In America, 68.8 percent of adult smokers say they want to quit, and 52.4 percent tried to quit within the past year. -- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health Tip: Is your fridge clean?
When was the last time you scrubbed down your refrigerator? Leftover and spoiled food can create a breeding ground for harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. It is important to clear it out and clean it often. Place labels on food so you know when they will spoil, and be sure the refrigerator at work gets cleaned often, too.
Number to Know
48.3 percent: Although 48.3 percent of American smokers who saw a health professional in the past year recalled getting advice to quit, and only 31.7 percent used counseling and/or medications to help them. -- CDC
Children’s Health: Cholesterol screening for kids?
While cardiovascular disease is rare in children, risk factors present in childhood can greatly increase the likelihood a child will develop heart disease as an adult. Because of such, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children be screened for high cholesterol at least once between the ages of 9 and 11 years, and again between ages 17 and 21 years. breast feeding and emphasizing a diet low in saturated fat starting at age 1.
Boomer Health: Pain relievers and knee surgery
Patients who are dependent on opioids, a.k.a. narcotic pain relievers, for pain management before knee replacement surgery have much more difficulty recovering, said a study recently published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. These patients tend to have longer hospital stays, more post-surgical pain, a higher rate of complications and are more likely to need additional procedures than patients who are not opioid-dependent.
The study still found that chronic opioid users:
- had to remain in the hospital longer after surgery
- were more likely to need referrals for pain management
- were more likely to suffer unexplained pain or stiffness
- had lower function and less motion in the replaced knee
-- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
GateHouse News Service