child health

I am of that generation of Americans — Russians, too, I think — who grew up squatting under our school desks to practice how to survive a nuclear blast. "Duck and cover" was an actual jingle about Bert the Turtle, a cartoon character in a black and white civil defense film that was considered antique even by the time it was threaded up in our classroom. We'd squish ourselves below our desks, chortle, giggle, and wiggle our backsides.

"Remember, it's Vegas rules, guys. What happens here, stays here," says Alexander Chan to a room full of giggling high school teenagers as he goes over the ground rules for a workshop all about healthy relationships.

Chan's background is in marriage and family therapy. Now he's an educator with 4-H in Prince George's County, Md., where he leads a youth development program, through University of Maryland Extension, to help local teens understand and cultivate positive romantic partnerships.

For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: "iGen."

She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they're holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.

Our education system has this funny quirk of grouping kids by birth date — rather than, say, intellectual ability or achievement or interest.

But developmental pathways are as individual as kids themselves.

And so there's a perpetual back-and-forth about whether to put certain kids in school a grade behind or ahead of their actual age.

When young people struggle through addiction or substance abuse, there's also the question of school. Getting behind academically can be detrimental to learning and future success, but traditional school can be tough for kids whose peer groups use drugs or alcohol and where treatment resources can be limited.

Labor Gains: Midwifery Goes From Horseback to Hospitals

Jun 21, 2017
Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

Nurse midwives have delivered babies in the Ohio Valley for nearly 100 years. But as Mary Meehan reports, that traditional practice is getting a new push with the opening of a clinic at the University of Kentucky.

It's a public health problem that spans the globe.

It kills close to 6 million people a year.

Teenagers are at risk.

It's not the latest epidemic or chronic disease.

It's the cigarette.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control looks at rates of smoking among 13- to 15-year-olds (most smokers start in adolescence) and how they feel about it, with a nod to the kinds of measures that work to cut rates of teen smoking.

If you know anything about New Orleans public schools, you probably know this: Hurricane Katrina wiped them out and almost all the schools became privately run charters.

Many of those schools subscribed to the no excuses discipline model — the idea that if you crack down on slight misbehavior, you can prevent bigger issues from erupting.

Inflatable beds can be cheap, which is good news for consumers who want an alternative to pricey traditional mattresses. But their uneven, soft, impermeable surfaces are dangerous for babies, and can increase the risk of sudden infant death.

The dangers may be particularly acute for low-income families, a recent essay in the American Journal of Public Health argues.

A little spit may help predict whether a child's concussion symptoms will subside in days or persist for weeks.

A test that measures fragments of genetic material in saliva was nearly 90 percent accurate in identifying children and adolescents whose symptoms persisted for at least a month, a Penn State team told the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. In contrast, a concussion survey commonly used by doctors was right less than 70 percent of the time.

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