FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Two lots of Pfizer’s antidepressant drug Effexor XR (venlafaxine HCl) are being recalled because they may contain capsules of another drug called Tikosyn (dofetilide), which is used to treat heart rhythm disorders.
The recall also includes one lot of generic Greenstone brand venlafaxine HCl capsules, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Friday.
The agency said that unknowingly taking Tikosyn could have serious and potentially fatal consequences.
The recall is for:
- one lot of 30-count Effexor XR 150-milligram extended-release capsules,
- one lot of 90-count Effexor XR 150-milligram extended-release capsules,
- and one lot of 90-count Greenstone venlafaxine HC1 150-milligram extended-release capsules.
The Pfizer drug lot numbers are V130142 and V130140, and have an expiration date of October 2015. The Greenstone lot number is V130014, which has an expiration date of August 2015.
The voluntary recall comes after a pharmacist found that a bottle of Effexor XR contained one capsule of Tikosyn 0.25 milligram, the FDA said.
The agency advises pharmacists to immediately halt sales of the recalled lots of the drugs and notify customers who’ve been sold the drugs. Patients with the recalled medicines should contact their doctor and/or return them to their pharmacy.
Patients who have been prescribed Effexor XR/Venlafaxine HCl but think they may have mistakenly taken a Tikosyn capsule should immediately contact their doctor or a hospital, Pfizer said.
They should monitor themselves for signs of abnormal heartbeat and seek medical help if they feel faint, become dizzy, or have a fast heartbeat, the drug maker said.
For more information about the recall, call Pfizer at 1-800-438-1985, Monday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET or Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has more about Tikosyn.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Antibiotics prescribed in doctors’ offices are linked with many cases of serious bacterial infections that can cause severe diarrhea in children, according to a new study.
Researchers found that 71 percent of cases of Clostridium difficile infection among American children aged 1 to 17 occurred shortly after they took antibiotics that were prescribed in doctors’ offices to treat other conditions.
Most of the children received antibiotics for problems such as ear, sinus or upper respiratory infections. Previous research has shown that at least 50 percent of antibiotics prescribed to children in doctors’ offices are for respiratory infections, most of which do not require antibiotics, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said in an agency news release.
About 17,000 children aged 1 to 17 get C. difficile infections every year, according to the CDC. This study found no difference in the incidence of C. difficile infections among boys and girls. It did show, however, that white children and those aged 12 months to 23 months are at greatest risk for such infections.
While the study showed an association between antibiotic use and C. difficile infections, it did not prove a cause-and-effect link.
The study was published online March 3 in the journal Pediatrics.
Taking antibiotics is the top risk factor for developing C. difficile infections for both children and adults, the researchers said. Antibiotics can alter or kill beneficial bacteria that help protect against infections, which means patients can get sick from C. difficile they pick up from contaminated surfaces or someone’s hands.
“Improved antibiotic prescribing is critical to protect the health of our nation’s children,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in the news release. “When antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly, our children are needlessly put at risk for health problems including C. difficile infection and dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections.”
Parents should not demand that doctors prescribe antibiotics for their children, and doctors should follow antibiotic prescribing guidelines, according to the CDC.
The CDC is seeking funding for a program it believes could cut outpatient prescribing of antibiotics by up to 20 percent and health care-associated C. difficile infections by 50 percent in five years. That reduction in infections could save 20,000 lives and more than $2 billion in health care costs, according to the news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about C. difficile.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Young women who spend a lot of time on Facebook tend to be more likely to be concerned about their body image and could be at increased risk for eating disorders, a new study suggests.
Researchers looked at how much time 960 female college students spent on the online social media site, how important “likes” were to them and whether they “untagged” photos of themselves.
The more than 95 percent of study participants who used Facebook typically spent 20 minutes on the site during each visit, and an hour on the site each day.
Those who spent more time on Facebook were more likely to worry about their weight and body shape, and to have eating disorders, the investigators found. These women also tended to place greater importance on receiving comments and “likes” on Facebook, frequently untagged photos of themselves, and compared their photos to pictures of friends.
The study was published online recently in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
But the researchers also suggested it may be possible to use Facebook to help young women learn about the responsible use of social media sites, develop better self-image and prevent eating disorders.
Although the study found an association between time spent on Facebook and possible higher risk of eating disorders in college-aged women, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
“Facebook merges powerful peer influences with broader societal messages that focus on the importance of women’s appearance into a single platform that women carry with them throughout the day,” study author Pamela Keel, of the department of psychology at Florida State University, said in a journal news release.
“As researchers and clinicians attempt to understand and address risk factors for eating disorders, greater attention is needed to the emerging role of social media in young people’s lives,” Keel said.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about eating disorders.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Doctors in the United States are writing more prescriptions for sedatives than ever before, and the frequent use of these powerful drugs in combination with narcotic painkillers may be causing medication-related deaths, a new study suggests.
Sedatives are used to treat problems such as anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia, and include drugs such as Valium, Halcion, Xanax, Ativan and Librium.
For the study, researchers looked at 3.1 billion primary care visits made by Americans between 2002 and 2009, and found that 12.6 percent of those visits involved prescriptions for sedatives (benzodiazepines) or narcotic (opioid) painkillers. They also found that the number of prescriptions for sedatives increased 12.5 percent a year.
Patients who received narcotic painkiller prescriptions were 4.2 times more likely to also have sedative prescriptions, and the number of joint prescriptions of opioids and benzodiazepines rose 12 percent a year, the Stanford University researchers said.
Their findings were presented March 6 at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, in Phoenix, Ariz. Research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“More research is needed to [identify] the reason behind the increase in benzodiazepine prescription, and a national effort is needed to highlight the danger of co-prescription of benzodiazepines and opioids,” study principal investigator Dr. Sean Mackey, director of the Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab, said in a pain academy news release.
The study showed that the use of sedatives and narcotic painkillers contribute to at least 30 percent of narcotic painkiller-related deaths, according to the investigators. They also noted there are a number of risks associated with sedative use, including falls in older people, emergency department visits and drug dependence.
Doctors need to be better educated about the risks of combining the two medications, and there needs to be better coordination between those who prescribe narcotic painkillers (often primary care doctors or pain specialists) and those who prescribe sedatives (often primary care doctors or psychiatrists), said study co-author Dr. Ming-Chih Kao, a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University Medical Center, in California.
The Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland has more about sedatives.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Teens and young adults involved in relationship violence are more likely to suffer depression, a new study indicates.
The Bowling Green State University sociologists found that both males and females who committed or were victims of relationship violence had more symptoms of depression.
It’s clear why such violence can harm the mental health of victims, the researchers said, but this study showed that it also has a damaging effect on those who commit the violence.
The study authors said people who commit relationship violence know they are viewed negatively.
The researchers also said the mental harm caused by relationship violence can damage young people’s self-worth and self-confidence, making it more difficult for them to make a smooth transition into adulthood.
This means the impact of any kind of relationship violence among teens and young adults may be long term and interfere with things such as schooling, getting a good job, and starting and managing a family.
To come to this conclusion, the researchers analyzed data from young people who were first interviewed at ages 12 to 19, again one year later and then every two years after that. During the last interview, the participants were aged 17 to 24.
The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about teen dating violence.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Younger siblings of children with autism may show signs of abnormal development or behavior as early as 1 year of age, according to a new study.
The findings suggest that parents and doctors should keep close watch for such symptoms at an early age among younger siblings of children with autism so problems can be addressed sooner, the researchers said.
The new study included nearly 300 infant siblings of children with autism and 116 infant siblings of children without the disorder. The children’s development was assessed at 6 months, 12 months, 18 months, 24 months and 36 months of age.
Researchers found problems in nearly half of the siblings of children with autism, with 17 percent developing autism and 28 percent having delays in other areas of development or behavior.
Among that 28 percent, abnormalities in social, communication, thinking or movement development were apparent by the time they were 1 year old. The most common types of problems were extreme shyness with strangers, lower levels of eye contact and delayed pointing, according to the study, which was published online recently in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
“This research should give parents and clinicians hope that clinical symptoms of atypical development can be picked up earlier, so that we can, perhaps, reduce some of the difficulties that these families often face by intervening earlier,” study author Sally Ozonoff, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis, said in a university news release.
“Good clinical practice suggests that when children are showing atypical development they and their families should be provided with information about the child’s difficulties, clinical reports when practical and referrals to local service providers,” Ozonoff said.
Treatment will vary depending on the child and family, she added.
“The intervention approaches need to be chosen based on each child’s profile of strengths and weaknesses and each family’s goals and priorities,” Ozonoff said.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more about autism.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Wherever you live in the United States, allergy rates are mostly the same, but young children in southern states are more likely to suffer allergies than their peers in other places.
That’s the finding of a government study that looked at blood-test data from about 10,000 people included in the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
“Before this study, if you would have asked 10 allergy specialists if allergy prevalence varied depending on where people live, all 10 of them would have said yes, because allergen exposures tend to be more common in certain regions of the U.S.,” Dr. Darryl Zeldin, scientific director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in an agency news release.
“This study suggests that people prone to developing allergies are going to develop an allergy to whatever is in their environment. It’s what people become allergic to that differs,” he explained.
While the overall rate of allergies was about the same in all regions of the United States, children aged 1 to 5 years in southern states had higher allergy rates than those in other parts of the country, the investigators found.
Those states were Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.
“The higher allergy prevalence among the youngest children in southern states seemed to be attributable to dust mites and cockroaches,” study author Paivi Salo, an epidemiologist in Zeldin’s research group, said in the news release.
“As children get older, both indoor and outdoor allergies become more common,” Salo added, “and the difference in the overall prevalence of allergies fades away.”
The study, published online recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, also found that people aged 6 years and older, males, blacks and those without pets were more likely to have allergies.
Social and economic status did not appear to influence allergy risk, but richer people were more likely to be allergic to dogs and cats, while poorer people were more likely to be allergic to cockroaches and shrimp, the findings showed.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about allergies.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Sleep problems may surface for some after clocks move forward an hour Sunday morning for Daylight Saving Time because many people have difficulty changing their body clocks, a sleep expert says.
People’s internal clocks tend to be programmed for longer than a 24-hour day and run a bit behind the time shown on clocks, said Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.
This means it’s “generally easier to stay up an hour later than to sleep an hour earlier, which is why the [Daylight Saving Time] change is a little more of a challenge than the end of [Daylight Saving Time] in the fall,” Feinsilver said in a school news release.
Feinsilver outlined some ways to get a good night’s sleep. First, he said, it’s important to maintain a consistent wake time, which should vary by no more than an hour on any day, including weekends.
Sleeping and sex are the only things you should be doing in your bedroom, Feinsilver said. Reading might be OK, but having a TV in your bedroom is a bad idea. Spending eight hours or less in bed will lead to more solid periods of sleep, he said.
Exercise can help you sleep, but not if you do it in the hours just before going to bed. Don’t eat a big meal just before bedtime, but don’t go to bed hungry either, Feinsilver said. Avoid caffeine and alcohol for several hours before bedtime.
It might be a good idea to establish a “worry time” at least an hour before bedtime to write down all your worries or what you need to do the next day, he said. You can then put the list aside and relax before you go to bed.
Feinsilver also said everyone has an occasional bad night of sleep and the effects of one such night aren’t serious.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about sleep and sleep disorders.
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — People who’ve had nonmelanoma skin cancer are at increased risk for melanoma and other types of cancers, and this link is especially strong among young people, a large, new study contends.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 500,000 people with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer who were followed for five to six years, and compared them to a group of nearly 8.7 million people without nonmelanoma skin cancer.
Compared to those who’d never had the disease, the nonmelanoma skin cancer survivors were 1.36 times more likely to develop other types of cancer — and the younger the patient, the greater the risk. It was 23 times higher for those younger than 25, and 3.5 times higher for those aged 25 to 44, the study found.
Meanwhile, for somewhat older people with nonmelanoma skin cancer, the risk of developing another cancer was 1.74 times higher for those aged 45 to 59, and 1.32 times higher for those older than 60, the study found.
The 30 types of cancer that nonmelanoma skin cancer survivors were at increased risk for included melanoma skin cancer, and cancers of the breast, colon, bladder, liver, lung, brain, prostate, stomach and pancreas, the study authors said.
People who had nonmelanoma skin cancer before age 25 were 53 times more likely to develop bone cancer, 26 times more likely to get blood cancers, 20 times more likely to be diagnosed with brain cancer, and 14 times more likely to get any cancer other than skin cancer, the study found.
The study is published in the new issue of the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Nonmelanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer, the news release noted. If found early, it is fairly easy to treat and rarely spreads to other areas of the body. Melanoma skin cancer is much more dangerous.
“Our study shows that [nonmelanoma skin cancer] susceptibility is an important indicator of susceptibility to malignant tumors and that the risk is especially high among people who develop [the condition] at a young age,” Dr. Rodney Sinclair, director of dermatology at the Epworth Hospital in Australia, said in a journal news release.
“The risk increases for a large group of seemingly unrelated cancers; however, the greatest risk relates to other cancers induced by sunlight, such as melanoma,” added Sinclair, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of Melbourne.
These findings show that young people who’ve had nonmelanoma skin cancer at an early age have a greatly increased risk of cancer and could benefit from cancer screenings, Sinclair said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about skin cancer.
By Serena Gordon
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Anyone who needs to monitor their blood sugar can take some simple steps to improve their test results. These include:
Wash your hands before you test. It sounds simple enough, but it’s a step many people skip or skimp on.
“Tests strips are essentially little labs on a piece of plastic,” explained Dr. David Simmons, chief medical officer at Bayer HealthCare’s Diabetes Care in Tarrytown, N.Y. “If you have sugar on your hands, it will get into the blood sample. This is one of the predominant causes of a high blood sugar. So, wash your hands with soapy water, rinse well and dry thoroughly. If there’s extra fluid on your finger, it will dilute the sample and give you a lower reading.”
Skip the alcohol swab or hand-sanitizing gel. Like having extra sugar on your hand, alcohol can affect your blood sugar reading, too. “If you use alcohol swabs, it’s only OK if you guarantee you don’t have residual alcohol, so make sure you dry it well and then wipe it with a clean cloth,” Simmons said. “But, it’s best not to use alcohol.”
Don’t forget quality control. Do you check a test strip from each new batch with control solution to ensure that the results are in range? If not, you might not be getting accurate readings.
Be sure to use the right control solution for your test strips and run a check every time you open a new container of strips, each time you get an unusual result, and any time you’ve dropped your meter, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. To run the test, insert a test strip into your meter and then put a drop or two of control solution on the strip, like you would if you were doing a test with your blood. The results should be within the range listed on the test strip bottle. If they’re not, call the manufacturer to report the problem.
Storage is important. Again, because test strips are essentially tiny labs, it’s important to keep them in the right conditions.
Don’t store test strips in your car or anywhere else that gets very hot. Ditto for anywhere that gets excessively humid, which definitely makes the bathroom not a good storage area. Extreme cold can be an issue for tests strips, too, according to Simmons.
Heed the expiration date. Test strips degrade over time so it’s important not to rely on a test strip that is past its expiration date.
“Manufacturers work very hard to try to incorporate safeguards into meters and test strips,” said Courtney Lias, director of the division of chemistry and toxicology devices for the FDA. “For example, they try to make sure that no result is given if a test strip is under-filled.”
But, as with any lab test, errors can sometimes occur. She said that if you get a test result that doesn’t seem to match the way you feel, such as an abnormally high number when you have no symptoms of high blood sugar, be sure to check again before making any treatment decisions.
Just how accurate are home-based blood sugar tests? Read this HealthDay story to find out.
By Serena Gordon
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Every day, millions of people with diabetes — both type 1 and type 2 — rely on the results they get from their blood glucose meters to guide their treatment decisions. But, what if those test results were wrong?
Recent research has found that even though a blood glucose monitor meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s standards for accuracy to gain device approval, the meter or test strips used in the meter may not perform as well as expected in the real world. And, those errors can have potentially life-threatening consequences.
“The availability of accurate blood glucose meters and test strips is critical to the success of diabetes self-management,” according to a statement from the American Diabetes Association. “Faulty or inaccurate equipment can not only lead to just poor diabetes self-management, but to an acute medical crisis if a patient makes incorrect treatment decisions based on faulty data.”
Current standards, which were approved in 2003, require that measurements be within 20 percent — either over or under — of a comparable laboratory test if the blood sugar level is currently above 75 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL). If blood sugar levels are below 75 mg/dL, the FDA’s standard for approval is that the device and strips must be within 15 mg/dL of comparable lab test results, according to Courtney Lias, director of the division of chemistry and toxicology devices at the FDA.
“We weren’t really happy with the 20 percent in 2003 but hoped it would improve over time, and we hoped that market pressure would push manufacturers to improve accuracy, but many focused more on adding features,” Lias said.
“We’ve started to talk again about why accuracy standards haven’t become better, and now manufacturers are moving toward more accuracy,” she said. “Most are moving to meet 15 percent for over 100 mg/dL.”
A draft guidance document was released in January by the FDA asking manufacturers to meet the 15 percent goal for 95 percent of blood sugar readings, with the exception of very low blood sugar readings. The guidance document tells manufacturers what the FDA expects of them to gain approval. A draft of the guidance document will be available for several months to allow for public comment before the final document is produced.
However, the accuracy goal refers to numbers achieved prior to device approval. Once the machines and test strips are on the market, Lias noted, the FDA relies on after-market complaints to the manufacturer, which are supposed to be shared with the FDA, as well as complaints sent directly to the FDA, outreach to the clinical community and FDA inspections.
Some of that feedback to the FDA may be coming from a new campaign, called Strip Safely, started by Bennet Dunlap, a father with two teenagers with type 1 diabetes.
“I was pretty frustrated when I heard that there were blood glucose monitoring systems (devices and test strips) that failed to even meet the 20 percent standard,” Dunlap said. In response, he created the Strip Safely campaign to “try to create a call to action for the FDA by the diabetes community.”
Dunlap said he wants to be sure that the FDA uses its power to recall faulty diabetes equipment in much the same way that it polices other products.
“The FDA recently recalled cilantro because it contained a risk of ‘serious or potentially fatal infections,’ according to their press release,” he said. “Well, faulty test strips can cause serious and potentially fatal injections [of insulin] in people with diabetes.”
The most serious risk from a faulty blood sugar test is that someone with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune disorder that always requires insulin treatment) or someone with type 2 diabetes who uses insulin could give themselves too little or too much insulin. The most immediate danger would be from too much insulin, which can cause hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels. Hypoglycemia causes troubling symptoms, such as shakiness, sweating and confusion, and if left untreated, can cause someone to pass out or even die. Too little insulin results in hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Over time, hyperglycemia can lead to such complications as kidney disease and vision problems.
Dr. David Simmons is chief medical officer of Bayer HealthCare’s Diabetes Care, in Tarrytown, N.Y. He said: “People should understand that every time you do a blood sugar test, it’s an experiment, and the results have a range. Even tests done in a lab have ranges. Bayer takes accuracy standards very seriously and aimed for a substantial improvement in our new line of meters.” He said that 99 to 100 percent of Bayer’s new meters meet the 20 percent guideline and about 98 percent meet the 15 percent guideline.
Another manufacturer, Abbott Diabetes Care in Alameda, Calif., “makes substantial investments to monitor and control manufacturing variability,” said Jared Watkin, head of technical operations for Abbott. The company has “strict controls in place to ensure consistent quality within each lot and from lot to lot,” he said. “Managing diabetes depends on having an accurate understanding of blood glucose levels, so strip accuracy is critical.”
Both company spokesmen said they would welcome third party, independent, after-market assessments of their products, which is something that’s been proposed to the FDA by the Diabetes Technology Society, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the development and use of technology to fight diabetes.
Watkin said that such assessments could help level the playing field between manufacturers in the United States and those in other countries.
“Research shows that not all strip manufacturers can verify the accuracy of their strips,” Watkin said. “Internal tests and third-party published trials show multiple on-market systems fail to meet the [20 percent] performance standards, and there is also evidence of inconsistent adverse event reporting. In addition, foreign-based manufacturers aren’t subjected to unannounced audits by the U.S. FDA.”
The FDA’s draft guidance document addressed this by asking manufacturers to describe their accuracy on their labels. This would allow consumers to better compare devices and judge for
Concerns, however, extend beyond manufacturers and standards.
“We are concerned that many Medicare patients have experienced issues getting the strips they want — and those recommended by their doctor — as a result of the competitive bidding program,” Watkin said. That program, which started last summer, lowers the cost of blood-testing supplies, but limits where people can go to buy them. “They could unwillingly be getting switched to brands that potentially have lower accuracy,” he said.
Dunlap also expressed some worry about people’s lack of control over which product they choose and lack of information to make the right choice.
“The expectation that market forces can influence the market depends on a truly free market, and full and complete information,” Dunlap said. “Right now, it’s difficult to know which devices are more or less accurate.”
However, people with diabetes “should continue to test and rely on test strips,” the FDA’s Lias said. “Be assured that test strips are safe and effective.”
And, she said, “if any given test strip result doesn’t match the way you feel, retest.”
Dunlap urged people to go one step further: If you’ve had a problem with a blood glucose meter or a test strip, be sure to report it both to the manufacturer and the FDA.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on testing your blood sugar.
For some helpful hints on monitoring your blood sugar, read this HealthDay story.
By Mary Brophy Marcus
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Teens who have tried electronic cigarettes may be more likely to smoke regular cigarettes, according to the authors of a new study.
“We found that e-cigarette use was actually associated with increased cigarette smoking among adolescents, contradicting the idea that e-cigarettes are effective smoking-cessation aids,” study co-author Lauren Dutra said.
The researchers analyzed the smoking habits of about 38,000 middle school and high school students using data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Youth Tobacco Survey. For years, the CDC has used the survey to glean information on teens’ smoking and tobacco habits. In 2011 and 2012, they asked adolescents about their e-cigarette use too, Dutra said.
The researchers reported that between 2011 and 2012, the number of adolescents who had ever tried e-cigarettes doubled.
In 2011, 3.1 percent of adolescents who answered the survey had tried e-cigarettes at least once — 1.7 percent of them in conjunction with regular cigarettes.
By 2012, the number of teens who said they’d tried e-cigarettes rose to 6.5 percent (2.6 percent used them along with cigarettes and 4.1 percent use e-cigarettes only), and 2 percent were current e-cigarette users. Among those who currently used e-cigarettes, about half used them along with regular cigarettes and half smoked only e-cigarettes.
“We are seeing the use of e-cigarettes among adolescents rapidly increasing, and it doesn’t seem like they’re using these products to successfully quit smoking,” said Dutra, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Tobacco Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco.
The study raises the question of whether e-cigarettes are a “gateway drug,” and Dutra said she believes they are. “But that’s more my opinion,” she said. “The study doesn’t show a causal relationship. I can’t say e-cigarette use causes kids to smoke based on this finding. We need some more longitudinal data on this. But it does look like these devices are contributing to it.”
Although they’re often touted as a healthier alternative to smoking real cigarettes, Dutra said there’s no research confirming e-cigarettes actually help people wean themselves off real cigarettes or curtail cigarette use. She is also concerned about the way electronic cigarette makers are marketing their products to young people.
“They come in flavors like bubblegum and advertisements that include images of bikinis,” Dutra said. “In terms of basic numbers, e-cigarette use among adolescents is disconcerting. Most of these devices do have tobacco in them and we should be concerned and try to limit access to these products.”
Michael Burke, the treatment program coordinator at the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center, said the study shows that e-cigarettes seem to be making inroads with young people. He said it is concerning because most people who become addicted to nicotine start smoking when they’re young.
“Ninety percent of people who catch this addictive disease, it happens before they’re 18,” Burke said. “Some e-cigarettes are being marketed without nicotine, so the immediate concern is with the ones with nicotine. They can start someone on a path of nicotine addiction and they’ll eventually move to a better nicotine-delivery device and none is better or more damaging than cigarettes.”
Burke said a lot of progress was made thanks to public health efforts and education between 1996 and 2004 in reducing youth smoking. “This has a chance of undermining the education and prevention activities that we’re working on to reduce tobacco use,” he said.
Study author Dutra said regulations need to be placed on the advertising and manufacturing of electronic cigarettes.
In an accompanying editorial in the March 6 issue of the journal JAMA Pediatrics, Frank Chaloupka, a professor of economics with the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, also said policies surrounding e-cigarettes need to be examined. More needs to be uncovered about the public health benefits or consequences of e-cigarette use, he said.
“Their exponential growth in recent years, including their rapid uptake among youths, makes it clear that policymakers need to act quickly,” Chaloupka wrote.
The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report has more on preventing tobacco use in youth.
Just five years ago, all you needed to hit the gym was your sneakers and maybe your iPod. Oh, how times have changed! In the last few years fitness tracking devices have exploded onto the health market, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. From watches to monitors to wrist bands, they all claim help you achieve your fitness goals while documenting your stats and progress. With so many available, however, it’s tricky to know which one will work the best for you and your individual fitness needs. Before you shop, check out these 4 amazing fitness devices that are all tailored to different wants and goals.
1. If you want to track your activity throughout your entire day: Fitbit Zip
The Fitbit Zip is perfect for those that want to monitor their activity all day long, not just during a specific workout. The Zip is a cute little pod that clips onto a pocket or waistband and tracks your steps, distance, and calories burned. It allows you to set goals and then sync your stats to your computer or smartphone to track your progress. The fun part? The Fitbit Zip allows you to connect with your friends and challenge them to competitions! You’ll get fit and get social at the same time.
Price: $59.95, fitbit.com
2. If you have trouble sleeping: Jawbone UP24
The Jawbone UP24 may look like a plain wristband, but it packs a serious punch! Not only does it track your activity throughout the day, it monitors your diet, mood, and your sleep patterns on its beautifully designed app—Insight Engine. Insight Engine suggests manageable, attainable goals based on your patterns to ensure that you become the best you one day at a time. Plus, the UP24 wakes you up by vibrating at the optimal moment in your sleep cycle. This ensures that you will wake up refreshed and energized. Yeah, it’s way cool.
Price: $129.99, jawbone.com
3. If you need a little motivation: Polar Loop
The Polar Loop is one of my favorite devices on the market, hands down. The tracking band delivers major bang for your buck with a simple yet life changing feature. While the Loop monitors your activity throughout the day similarly to other products on the market (and allows you to set goals and sync your stats to their online platform), the band also encourages activity, too. If you’ve been sedentary for more than an hour, your Loop alerts you to get up and moving. (Even if moving means taking a quick lap around the office). The Loop can also sync up with Bluetooth-enabled heart-rate monitors, allowing you to track your heart rate throughout the day.
Price: $109.95, polar.com
4. If you swim: Misfit Shine
If you’re looking for a tracking device for lap swimming, the Misfit Shine is for you. The Shine is a tiny, water-resistant orb that can be worn in many different ways—as a bracelet, a necklace, or even attached to your clothing with its magnetic clip. It’s sleek, unobtrusive, and perfect for the pool. Other neat features? The Misfit has a watch-like battery that doesn’t require any charging. When your battery dies (usually around 4 months or so) you swap it out and go. You can also sync the device to your phone by simply placing the Shine directly on your phone’s screen. Very cool, and very modern.
Price: $119.95, misfitwearables.com
Looking for first-class fitness apps? Check out 5 Amazing Fitness Apps That Actually Get Results.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.
Training for a marathon, triathlon, or other challenging event and want to lose a few pounds too? Our friends from Active.com share the best ways to drop weight while still taking in the vitamins and nutrients your body needs as you prepare for your big day.
If you’re trying to lose weight and whittle down to your racing weight, it’s vital that you consume as many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants as possible while also getting the carbs, protein, and heart-healthy fats your body needs to support your training. It might seem like a tall order to get the nutrients you need while simultaneously watching your calorie intake, but it’s possible if you commit to cooking most of your meals. The following recipes from Racing Weight Cookbook provide tasty inspiration.
Recipes by Matt Fitzgerald and Georgie Fear
Thai Green Curry With Shrimp and Scallops Recipe
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons curry paste
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
- 1/2 red onion, sliced
- 3 white mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 pound bay scallops
- 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup coconut milk
Place oil and curry paste in a large nonstick skillet and heat on low for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add fish sauce and sugar; stir to dissolve sugar.
Add red pepper, yellow pepper, red onion, and mushrooms. Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, for five minutes.
Add shrimp, scallops, and tomatoes to skillet; reduce heat to low and add coconut milk. Stir continuously for 10 minutes, or until shrimp are opaque and scallops are firm. Mixture should steam but not come to a boil.
Remove from heat and divide among four bowls.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 301 calories, 12g fat, 26g carbohydrates, 4g dietary fiber, 21g protein
One-Pot Quinoa, Chicken and Veggies Recipe
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 teaspoons organic chicken or vegetable bouillon
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast or rotisserie chicken, chopped
- 2 zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa, bouillon, and garlic and return to a boil.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and set timer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes have gone by, stir in chicken, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil and cover again.
With two minutes remaining, remove lid and stir again. Leave pot uncovered to allow any remaining water to evaporate. Scoop into bowls and enjoy.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 351 calories, 7g fat, 39g total carbohydrate, 5g dietary fiber, 35g protein
Republished with permission of VeloPress from Racing Weight Cookbook. Try more recipes at racingweightcookbook.com.
Perfect your nutrition to boost your performance. Sign up for a race near you.Active.com motivates, helps, and guides health-minded, social, and active people to discover, participate in, and prepare for activities. The mission of Active.com is to make the world a more active place.
By Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Pregnancy isn’t a license to gain weight, say researchers who have found that heavier moms-to-be tend to have fatter babies at greater risk for serious health issues.
Bigger babies can pose problems during delivery, and a baby that’s large for its age is at higher risk for obesity, asthma and diabetes later in life.
“Obesity, excessive weight gain during pregnancy and pregnancy-related diabetes all contribute to having big babies,” said lead researcher Shin Kim, of the division of reproductive health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And all three are increasing in the United States, she added.
But excessive weight gain carries the greatest risk among those three, according to the report, which was published in the April issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
A large baby is one that is at or above the 90th percentile for weight at its gestational age. In the United States, about 9 percent of newborns fall into that category each year.
“One of the biggest concerns is that babies born too big have a higher risk of developing diabetes and obesity in adulthood,” Kim said.
A big baby also raises the odds of a cesarean birth, prolonged delivery and excessive birth trauma to the mother, said Dr. Jennifer Wu, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Wu was not involved in the study.
“In the baby, you can have something called shoulder dystocia, where the head delivers but the shoulders are so broad that they don’t come out, and the baby can wind up with permanent injuries,” Wu said. “Shoulder dystocia is one of the most serious obstetric emergencies and tends to happen in big babies.”
Overweight and obese women who want to get pregnant should get prenatal counseling on nutrition and weight, Kim said. A body-mass index — a measure of body fat based on height and weight — of 25 or higher is considered overweight.
“They should talk to their doctor about entering pregnancy at a healthy weight, and once they are pregnant, talk with their doctor about their weight-gain goals during their pregnancy,” Kim said. Combined with monitoring during pregnancy, this can increase the odds of a healthy pregnancy and smooth delivery, Kim and Wu said.
Women need to get over the notion that when they are pregnant they are eating for two, said Dr. Jill Rabin, chief of ambulatory care obstetrics and gynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y.
“We know there is a direct relationship between maternal weight gain and diabetes,” Rabin said.
If the mother develops pregnancy-related diabetes, her pancreas is stressed and blood sugar increases and goes into the baby’s blood, Rabin said. To compensate for the excess sugar, the baby pumps out insulin, which is a growth hormone, and the baby gets big.
“You should optimize your weight well before you get pregnant so you will have children that deliver easier and be at less risk for obesity and diabetes in their lives,” Rabin said.
“If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your children,” she added.
For the study, Kim’s team collected data on births in Florida from 2004 to 2008. They found that 5.7 percent of women with normal weight gain and no diabetes had large babies.
Among overweight and obese women, 12.6 percent had large babies. For women who gained excess weight during pregnancy, 13.5 percent had large babies, as did 17.3 percent of women who gained excess weight and also had pregnancy-related diabetes.
Kim’s group said the prevalence of large babies could be dramatically reduced among women most prone to being overweight or obese.
Among blacks, for instance, incidence of big babies could fall by 61 percent in the absence of obesity, excessive weight during pregnancy and pregnancy-related diabetes, the researchers said.
Among all the women in the study, pregnancy-related diabetes contributed the least to having a large baby — 2 percent to 8 percent, depending on race and ethnicity. Gaining excess weight during pregnancy contributed the most — about 22 percent to nearly 38 percent.
Although the study showed an association between a mother’s weight gain and increased health risks for her baby, it did not prove cause-and-effect.
For more on weight during pregnancy, visit the American Pregnancy Association.
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Texting while walking causes more — although usually less serious — injuries than texting while driving, according to an expert.
“When texting, you’re not as in control with the complex actions of walking,” Dr. Dietrich Jehle, a professor of emergency medicine at the University at Buffalo, said in a university news release. “While talking on the phone is a distraction, texting is much more dangerous because you can’t see the path in front of you.”
People who text while walking can bump into walls and other obstacles, fall down stairs, trip over objects or step into traffic, he noted.
While injuries from texting and driving are usually more serious, injuries from texting and walking occur more often, explained Jehle, who is also an attending physician at Erie County Medical Center, a trauma center in western New York.
He believes that the number of injuries caused by texting and walking is higher than official figures indicate, because people are reluctant to admit they’ve been hurt while doing something embarrassing.
Jehle pointed to an Ohio State University study that found that the number of pedestrian cellphone-related injuries treated in emergency departments tripled between 2004 and 2010, even though the overall number of pedestrian injuries decreased during that time.
The study also found that people aged 16 to 25 have the highest risk of suffering injuries while walking and using a cellphone.
Attempts to introduce laws to restrict texting while walking have failed, Jehle said. If you can’t stop texting while walking, he suggested you use apps that text via voice command or that use the phone’s camera to show what’s in front of you while you text.
The American College of Emergency Physicians offers pedestrian safety tips.
When I go grocery shopping with my clients, many assume that we’re going to skip the frozen food section altogether. The truth is, while I’m a huge advocate for eating more fresh fare and fewer packaged products, there are some hidden gems in the freezer section that are worth a spot in your cart—especially if you need time-saving shortcuts to help you eat more healthfully (you know, those nights where you need to make something quick or you’re ordering takeout!). Here are my top four picks, plus good-for-you ways to enjoy them.
You may be surprised to learn that frozen fruits and veggies may actually be more nutritious than their fresh counterparts. That’s because the second produce is harvested, it begins to lose nutrients. Since frozen produce is typically iced close to the time it’s picked, and freezing preserves and possibly boosts antioxidants and nutrients, freezing essentially “locks in” good nutrition. I’m such a big fan of frozen fruits and vegetables, I wrote an entire post about them, 5 Reasons This Nutritionist Buys Frozen Produce, which also lists other key benefits of buying frozen. On super busy days, keeping these goodies on hand has allowed many of my clients to squeeze in produce they might have otherwise skipped. If you’re out of fresh fruit, just transfer unsweetened frozen fruit, like whole berries, to the fridge to thaw, then eat them cold, or add them to a dish like oatmeal or a parfait. Frozen veggies simply need to be steamed, then seasoned. One of my favorite tricks is to lightly toss them with a bit of jarred vegan pesto or olive tapenade. For example, broccoli with sundried tomato pesto is delicious, and voilà, you have a veggie side dish in mere minutes.
A lot of my clients end up eating processed or refined grains at dinner because they’re too tired or hungry to boil water and wait for whole grains like wild rice to cook. Fortunately, frozen is now an option. I regularly buy pre-cooked frozen black barley, wild rice, and wheatberries. The only ingredient in the bags is the whole grain itself—that’s it (talk about clean eating). And because they’re fully cooked, they’re incredibly versatile. I can thaw them in the fridge to add to garden salads or chilled dishes, along with veggies and beans or lentils, then I toss the mixture with balsamic vinaigrette. I can also add them directly to recipes, like simple homemade soups, heat them to accompany a stir fry, or make a warm breakfast porridge.
If you scan the ingredient list on most shelf-stable breads, even whole grain versions, you’ll find stabilizers, preservatives, and other additives that make you think, “What is that?” Since freezing acts as a natural preservative, breads found in the freezer section don’t require those unwanted extras, so they often have ingredient lists that read like a simple, good old-fashioned recipe—just whole grains, water, yeast, and a little salt. Keep your loaves frozen and then thaw or toast one slice at a time. Spread with almond butter and cover with fresh fruit (or warmed up frozen fruit) at breakfast, or make a quick open-faced sandwich for lunch, topped with a healthy spread like avocado or hummus, along with lean protein and fresh veggies.
When you think of frozen seafood, images of processed, breaded “mystery fish” sticks might come to mind. But these days you’ll also find sustainably sourced, additive-free options, like wild-caught filets of salmon, halibut, cod, and tuna, as well as frozen shrimp with only the addition of salt. These lean proteins can be tossed on the grill, baked, broiled, or sautéed. Simply season with fresh or dried herbs, a little lemon or lime, and avocado, then pair with veggies and a small portion of healthy starch, like wild rice or baked sweet potato, for an easy, breezy balanced meal.
Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor, and privately counsels clients in New York, Los Angeles, and long distance. Cynthia is currently the sports nutrition consultant to the New York Rangers NHL team and the Tampa Bay Rays MLB team, and is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics. Her latest New York Times best seller is S.A.S.S! Yourself Slim: Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds and Lose Inches. Connect with Cynthia on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
By Dennis Thompson
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — The hope that newborns can be “cured” of HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — with early, aggressive drug treatment was bolstered this week with the announcement that a second baby appears to be free of the virus following therapy that began just four hours after her birth.
The child, born at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., is now 9 months old and is considered HIV-negative, researchers reported Wednesday at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Boston.
The first baby apparently cured by early drug therapy — the so-called “Mississippi baby” — is now more than 3 years old and also remains free of HIV infection, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, an associate professor of pediatrics in the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.
Persaud, who presented the findings Wednesday on the California baby, has also been involved with continued monitoring of the Mississippi baby.
While the two cases have key differences, taken together they seem to indicate that newborns can be cured of infection with HIV if doctors begin treatment within hours of birth.
A federally funded clinical trial will start within a couple of months to arrive at a more scientific assessment of the treatment, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
In the trial, as many as 60 babies who are born with HIV will be put on an antiretroviral drug regimen within 48 hours of birth.
The results of the trial could change the way doctors treat HIV-infected newborns, altering thinking that up until now has favored caution because these drugs can be extremely toxic.
“You have to get the data from the trial. You don’t want to jump ahead of yourself,” Fauci said. “But data that shows when you treat a baby immediately you can actually cure a baby, that changes the equation of risk/benefit. That makes a doctor lean much more toward immediate treatment.”
More than 1,000 babies are born with HIV every day around the globe, according to UNICEF.
The mother of the California baby has advanced AIDS and is mentally ill, researchers said. She had been prescribed HIV medications to protect her baby, but had not taken them, according to published reports.
Normally, doctors put children born to HIV-positive mothers on a two-medication regimen until the virus appears in the babies’ bloodstream, which can take as long as two weeks. At that point, they move to a more aggressive three-drug regimen.
But in the cases of the Mississippi and California babies, doctors chose to quickly put the newborns on the more aggressive regimen, with stunning results.
Fauci noted that doctors can’t yet call the California baby “cured” of HIV infection because she remains on the antiretroviral drug therapy.
“The proof of the pudding is when you take the baby off therapy, and the virus does not bounce back,” he said.
The Mississippi baby provides a more striking case because doctors lost track of the mother and child 18 months after her birth, at which point drug therapy ceased. Doctors next saw the child about 10 months later, and were surprised when they found that the girl remained HIV-free despite receiving no further treatment.
“You can say with a much higher degree of confidence that the Mississippi baby is definitely cured,” Fauci said.
The timing and the heavy medication dose apparently may have prevented HIV from gaining a foothold in the infants’ immune systems, said Dr. Roberto Posada, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City.
HIV typically creates a reservoir in the bodies of those it infects, where it can lay dormant and later return when drug therapy is suspended.
Because adults often don’t find out they have been infected until months or years later, it’s unlikely that the successful treatment of these babies would have any implications for adult HIV therapy, Posada noted.
“It’s difficult to extrapolate these results to adults because babies are so different from adults,” he said. “Their immune systems are at a different stage of development, and you know exactly when they have been infected with HIV — at birth.”
At the same time, these findings do emphasize the importance of treating HIV in adults as early as possible, Fauci said.
For more on HIV infection of newborns, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
By Steven Reinberg
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — A Connecticut law requiring flu shots for children entering preschool or daycare has reduced flu-related hospitalizations of young children by 12 percent, according to a new study.
In the United States, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York City are the three places that require a yearly flu shot to stay in daycare or preschool. The Connecticut law took effect in 2010.
“We found that of all the influenza hospitalizations in Connecticut, many fewer were in children 1 to 4 years old after the requirement than before the requirement,” said lead researcher Dr. James Hadler, a clinical professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
The jump in flu vaccinations of young children — to 84 percent in 2012-2013 from about 68 percent in 2009-2010 — is thought to have caused the decline in hospitalizations, he noted.
“That difference, we feel, has resulted in children attending daycare being better protected against influenza and its severe complications,” Hadler said.
Of 11 areas evaluated, Connecticut had the steepest decline in flu hospitalizations of children aged 4 and younger — a drop of 12 percent between 2007-2008 and 2012-2013, according to the report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the actual rate of hospitalizations for these young children compared to people of other ages was lower in Connecticut than for any of the other regions surveyed.
The report was published in the March 7 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Young children are at particular risk for severe complications from flu, and they readily transmit the infection, Hadler noted.
“Where there are a lot of susceptible people in a small space, like daycare centers and preschools, you have the potential for easy spread of influenza,” Hadler said.
“The kids get it, they give it to each other, they all take it home to their families, the families get it and spread it to other people,” he added.
By vaccinating these children, you not only prevent children from getting the flu, but also prevent it from spreading in the community, Hadler explained.
And, he noted, flu shots are free for anyone who has health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
For people who aren’t insured, the state provides flu shots for free at community health centers, Hadler pointed out.
Dr. Jose Rosa-Olivares, director of the pediatric care center at Miami Children’s Hospital in Florida, said efforts such as the one in Connecticut to standardize vaccination might have benefits.
“We know the proven benefit of the flu vaccine, and the more people that get vaccinated, the better it is for the community,” he said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year.
Another expert thinks that because the flu vaccine has been shown to be effective, it is reasonable to mandate it around the nation before children are allowed to go into daycare or preschool.
“This is not saying that all kids have to have a flu shot. But if you’re going into daycare you better have one because you are putting other kids at risk — and if you don’t like it don’t go into daycare,” said Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.
For more information on flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
THURSDAY, March 6, 2014 (HealthDay News) — Taking part in family activities on a regular basis benefits the social and emotional health of young children, a new study finds.
And the more of these shared family routines, the better.
“Social-emotional health” is defined as being able to understand emotions, express empathy, have self-control and form good relationships with other children and adults.
Researchers looked at parent-provided data about 8,550 preschool kids in the United States to assess how often the children did things with their families, such as eating dinner, singing, reading books, playing and telling stories.
Fifty-seven percent of children participated in three or more regular family activities and more than 16 percent of the children had high social-emotional health.
The researchers also found that children who took part in five regular family activities were more than twice as likely to have high social-emotional health. Moreover, for each additional activity that parents and children do together, the child is nearly 50 percent more likely to have high social-emotional health.
The study was published in the February/March issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.
“High social-emotional health has been associated with greater academic performance and improved behavior in the school environment,” study leader Dr. Elisa Muniz, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, said in a news release from the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) in New York City.
“Our findings suggest that parents with preschool-aged children who regularly practice family routines together have greater social-emotional health and so we encourage families to sing, read, play and eat together on a regular basis,” said Muniz, who led the research while a fellow at the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, affiliated with CHAM.
Participating in regular family activities can give children a sense of security and belonging, the researchers explained.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about parenting.