Youth who have tried electronic cigarettes are nearly twice as likely to say they would try a conventional cigarette compared with those who have never tried an e-cigarette, according to a new study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study was based on nationally representative youth surveys.
The study found that more than 263,000 adolescents and teens who had never smoked a conventional cigarette use electronic cigarettes in 2013. That’s a threefold increase from 2011 when 79,000 kids tried e-cigarettes, according to a Reuters article.
Among the nonsmoking youth who tried e-cigarettes, about 44 percent said they planned to smoke conventional cigarettes in the next year. That’s compared with 22 percent of youth who never used e-cigarettes, according to the study.
Health experts have raised concerns that e-cigarettes would reverse the declining youth smoking rate that has taken decades to curb. In 2013, less than 16 percent of teens reported smoking – the lowest rate ever recorded, according to Reuters.
In April, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration proposed rules that would ban the sale of e-cigarettes to anyone under 18. The rules would not restrict flavored products, online sales or advertising, all of which public health advocates argue appeal to minors, according to the article.
Earlier this month, attorneys general from 29 states – including Washington – urged the FDA to strengthen those rules.]]>
As waistlines continue to grow, parents are having a tougher time recognizing their children are overweight.
A new study found parents are 24 percent less likely to spot a child’s weight problem than parents interviewed two decades ago.
The study, published in the Pediatrics journal, used data gathered during the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In the survey, parents of kids ages 6-11 were asked whether they considered their children to be overweight, underweight or about the right weight. The children’s weight and height were then measured and used to calculate their BMI, according to a HealthDay article.
Parents surveyed for the 1988-1994 survey correctly perceived about 51 percent of the time that their child was overweight or obese. For the more recent survey, only 44 percent of parents correctly perceived their child was overweight, according to the article.
More than 75 percent of parents interviewed for the 2005-2010 survey perceived their overweight children as “about the right weight” – 83 percent for boys and 78 percent for girls, according to the article.
As the childhood obesity problem grows, parents have a tougher time realizing their child has gained too much weight, Amanda Staiano, director of the Pediatric Obesity and Health Behavior Laboratory, told HealthDay.
“We compare ourselves to the people we see around us,” she told HealthDay. “If a child is in a class where most of the kids are overweight or obese, that becomes the new normal.”
Obesity has more than doubled among kids 6-11, increasing from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012, according to the researchers.
“The society as a whole is stuck with a vicious cycle,” senior study author Dr. Jian Zhang told HealthDay. “Parents incorrectly believe their kids are healthy, they are less likely to take action, and so it increases the likelihood that their kids will become even less healthy.”]]>
Researchers are questioning whether breakfast really helps with weight loss.
Two trials tested the merits of the most important meal of the day and were published in the August issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The studies tested the main breakfast claims that is helps with weight loss and boosts metabolism, according to a Time article.
“As a scientist, I was quite shocked actually at how sparse the evidence base was,” study author James Betts, a senior lecturer in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, told Time.
In one study off 33 lean adults, researchers instructed participants to eat either nothing or a 700-calorie breakfast.
After six weeks, researchers found that eating breakfast didn’t increase metabolism and breakfast-skippers didn’t overeat at lunch. Breakfast eaters didn’t lose more weight either, according to the article.
In a larger and longer study, researchers assigned 300 overweight and obese people to one of three groups: eat breakfast, skip breakfast or the control group told to have a healthy diet.
“What we found was absolutely no difference in the change of weight among the three groups, severely calling into question the idea—at least among ordinary adults—that it’s important to eat a good breakfast every day for the purposes of weight control,” study author David Allison told Time.
The trials did find perks for breakfast eaters, however.
People who ate breakfast were more active, burning 442 calories more than non-breakfast-eaters. Those who ate breakfast also maintained steadier blood sugar levels, according to the article.]]>
If you want to keep your heart healthy, skip the instant noodles.
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that instant noodles aren’t good for the heart, especially if you’re a woman.
The study looked at the diets of nearly 11,000 adults in South Korea. The study found two types of diets: traditional (rice, grains, fish and produce) and “meat-and-fast-food pattern” (meat, soda, fast food and instant noodles), according to a Time article.
As a whole, neither of those diets was associated with an uptick in cardiometabolic syndrome, which includes risk factors for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and stroke. But the instant noodles were, according to the article.
Those who ate instant noodles at least two times a week were associated with 68 percent more cardiometabolic syndrome for women, regardless of the rest of their diet.
The effect was only seen in women, according to the article.
Study author Dr. Hyun Joon Shin told Time that one likely reason is women have different sex hormones and metabolism than men. In addition, instant noodle packaging (lined with BPA) can mess with estrogen signaling, which may lead to some of the risk factors.]]>
Sports injuries landed 1.24 million kids in hospital emergency rooms in 2013 – that’s nearly 3,400 kids every day, one kid every 25 seconds.
Those statistics were revealed in a new report by the nonprofit Safe Kids Worldwide. The organization conducted a survey – which included 1,000 young athletes, 1,005 coaches and 1,000 parents – to get a better look at the culture of youth sports.
The survey found many coaches, athletes and parents (23 to 31 percent) don’t do anything to prevent injuries. Fewer than half of coaches have received certification on how to prevent and recognize sport injuries. (But 80 percent of parents say they want coaches to have such certification.)
The survey also found 54 percent of athletes have played injured and 42 percent have hidden or down-played an injury during a game so they could continue playing.
In addition, 53 percent of coaches say they have felt pressure from a parent or player to put an athlete back into a game if the child had been injured.
Many athletes said the injuries were the result of rough play: 33 percent were injured as the result of dirty play from an opponent.
About 28 percent of athletes said it was normal to commit hard fouls and play rough to “send a message” during a game.
Any of these findings surprising?]]>
Hospitals in Washington D.C. are experiencing what appears to be an aftereffect of the 16-day government shutdown in October: bustling maternity wards.
Nine months after the furlough, D.C. hospitals are seeing an increase in the number of births, according to an article in the Washington Post.
At Sibley Memorial Hospital, an average 9.2 births occur each day. In the last month, the hospital has averaged three more births per day – a 33 percent increase, according to the Post article.
At Anne Arundel Medical Center, births during the first part of July increased from 265 in 2013 to 385 in 2014, according to the article.
Nine months ago, nurses at D.C. hospitals joked about the possibility of a post-shutdown baby boom. One nurse mentioned her theory on Facebook on the 10th day of the shutdown. Now she’s credited by her colleagues with predicting the boom, according to the article.
Of course, there are skeptics who say the increase is just a coincidence. The increase isn’t occurring across the country – birth rates are still near historic lows nationally, according to the Post article.
“But every time (something unusual happens), I think, nine months from now, here we go!” one nurse told the Post. “And sure enough, I’m usually right.”]]>
If you want to cut down on the spread of bacteria, try ditching the traditional handshake greeting and instead give a fist bump.
Researchers have found that fist-bumping transmits significantly fewer bacteria than handshaking or high-fiving someone, while still making hand-to-hand contact, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Infection Control.
Researchers performed trials to determine if there was a less-germy alternative to handshaking.
In the experiment, the greeter stuck a sterile-gloved hand into a container of germs. Once the glove was dry, the greeter exchanged a handshake, fit bum or high-five with a sterile-gloved recipient.
After the exchange, the receiving gloves were immersed in a solution to count the bacteria transferred during contact, according to a news release about the research.
The experiment revealed nearly twice as many bacteria were transferred during a handshake compared to the high-five, and significantly fewer bacteria were transferred during a fist bump than a high-five.
Higher bacterial transmission was linked to longer hand-to-hand contact and stronger grips, according to the researchers.
“Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases between individuals,” study author David Whitworth said in the news release. “It is unlikely that a no-contact greeting could supplant the handshake; however, for the sake of improving public health we encourage further adoption of the fist bump as a simple, free and more hygienic alternative to the handshake.”]]>
School administrators say kids have warmed up to the idea of healthier school lunch offerings.
Last school year, administrators said kids started off the year complaining about the new offerings implemented after the USDA introduced new standards in 2012, according to a Time article.
The new requirements called for less sugar, sodium and fat in meals and more grains, veggies and fruits.
But most of the students had come around by springtime, according to a study backed by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Now, about 70 percent of elementary school students like the new lunches, according to the Time story.
Middle and high school administrators say their students are also satisfied with the new offerings; 70 percent of middle school students and 63 percent of high school students “generally” liked the new lunches, according to the article.
School administrators also reported the number of school lunches remained about the same after the changes.
Apparently, that trend doesn’t extend to students in rural schools.
According to the Time article, a new survey found only about 25 percent of middle and high school administrators noticed “a little more” plate waste. About 16 percent of middle schools and 20 percent of high schools noticed “much more” waste, according to the article.]]>
Many overweight and obese kids and teens in the U.S. think they are thinner than they actually are, according to a new study.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics found about 34 percent of Hispanic-American children and teens believe they’re thinner than they are, as do 34 percent of black kids and 28 percent of white kids, according to an MSN.com article.
Researchers also found about 81 percent of overweight boys and 71 percent of overweight girls think their weight is about right. The same is true for about 48 percent of obese boys and 36 percent of obese girls, according to the report.
“Children who have a misperception of their weight are not going to take steps to control their weight or reduce their weight, and reduce the risk of future health complications,” lead researcher Neda Sarafrazi, a nutritional epidemiologist at the CDC, told MSN. “If people perceive their weight accurately, they can start weight-control behavior.”
Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center, told MSN that seeing many overweight and obese children and adults has become the norm. Because of that, it would seem reasonable that overweight kids see themselves as being at a normal weight, she said.
At the other end of the spectrum, Heller said, media and social influences create unrealistic ideal body types that boys and girls try to achieve.
“We can help bring children and adolescents to appropriate weights by focusing on healthy foods, regular exercise and a positive self-image,” she told MSN. “Parents, educators and caregivers can make headway by becoming role models themselves and creating opportunities to support and enjoy healthy lifestyle choices and activities with children.”
Being overweight or obese is associated with adverse health outcomes, such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes.]]>
The death of Major League Baseball great Tony Gwynn has prompted public health organizations to once again push the league to ban chewing tobacco.
The 54-year-old San Diego Padre all-star died last month of cancer in his salivary gland. Gwynn’s death came after two surgeries to remove malignant growths inside his right cheek, where Gwynn said he chewed tobacco while he played, according to Bloomberg.
Gwynn’s death prompted nine major public health organizations to send a letter to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and a representative of the players association. The letter urged Major League Baseball to ban all tobacco use by players and staff at games and on camera, according to CNN.
A few years ago, Selig proposed a total ban, but the players union negotiated restrictions that would allow players to continue to use chewing tobacco – just not where the public could see.
The labor contract, which runs through 2016, prohibits players from using smokeless tobacco during TV interviews and club appearances. It also orders players and staff to hide tobacco when fans are around and prohibits them from carrying the tobacco in their uniforms, according to CNN.
“You can’t go through a three-hour game, and not see players with a big wad of chew in their jaws,” Erika Sward, with the American Lung Association, told CNN. “It’s clear that the 2011 agreement did not go far enough, and what we really need to have with the agreement starting in 2017 is an end of smokeless tobacco use in general on the field.”
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, about 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year in the U.S.
Gregory Connolly, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Bloomberg the use of chewing tobacco began to increase among younger people in the 1980s and has increased again in the past several years.
As a result, the number of people in their 50s, like Gwynn, being diagnosed with the oral cancer later in life is on the rise, Connolly said.
“We do know your risk factor greatly increases with age,” he told Bloomberg. “It’s devastating. The 5-year mortality rate from oral cancers is about 50 percent, and if you don’t die, you’re left totally disfigured.”]]>