child health

It's not your imagination: Tiny tots are spending dramatically more time with tiny screens.

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, just released new numbers on media use by children 8 and under. The nationally representative parent survey found that 98 percent of homes with children now have a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone.

In just over four decades, obesity levels in children and teenagers have risen dramatically worldwide, though that rise has been far from uniform. In a new study published online Tuesday, British researchers and the World Health Organization say those levels have plateaued lately in high-income countries, "albeit at high levels," while the rise in obesity rates has only accelerated in regions such as East Asia and Latin America.

Lisa Gillespie, WFPL

  Kentucky has some of the worst health outcomes in the nation, and that’s especially true around Appalachia. A report from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky in August found the rate that infants die shortly after birth is higher there – even compared with Lexington and Louisville.

Congress finally seems ready to take action on the Children's Health Insurance Program after funding lapsed Sept. 30.

Before the deadline, lawmakers were busy grappling with the failed repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

CHIP covers 9 million children nationwide. But until Congress renews CHIP, states are cut off from additional federal funding that helps lower- and middle-income families.

Suzanne Bouffard's new book, The Most Important Year, may be just what parents of preschoolers have been waiting for: a guide to what a quality pre-K program should look like.

Bouffard spent a lot of time in classrooms watching teachers do some really good things and some not-so-good things.

What are some of the things you learned?

Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

Research on the benefits of breast-feeding continues to grow, with studies showing some positive health effects last into adulthood. Breast-feeding rates in the Ohio Valley, however, still lag behind the national average. Efforts to help mothers in the region overcome breast-feeding challenges are beginning to pay off.

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.

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