Childhood Obesity Levels Off, Though More Needs to Be Done
A study just out in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that the prevalence of kids with a high body mass index, or BMI, showed no significant increase between 1999 and 2006, Katherine Hobson reports. If that trend is borne out in data for subsequent years, it’s at least a sign that the upward creep of child BMI may have leveled off. Still, experts note that there’s still much to do in order to improve kids’ health, since the number of overweight children today is triple what it was in the 1960s and 1970s.
U.S. News’s Deborah Kotz wrote about kids and weight last year, including a story on five comments parents should never make to their kids about weight.
New Mexico Group Claims Allergy to WiFi
A group of “electro-sensitive people” who say they’re allergic to radio waves claim that a proposal in Santa Fe, N.M., to create WiFi hot spots in public places violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to USA Today. Symptoms reported by people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity include redness, tingling, and burning sensations, as well as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, and digestive problems, according to the World Health Organization. Still, WHO says that, at this point, there is no scientific basis on which to link these symptoms to electromagnetic fields.
U.S. News describes the growing popularity of public WiFi. Also, learn about allergies on the U.S. News Allergies Health Channel.
A New Tool to Manage Your Child’s Vaccination Schedule
Children often miss getting recommended vaccines on schedule, leaving parents and pediatricians scratching their heads as to how to catch up, Nancy Shute reports. A new Internet scheduling tool from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is designed to make that chore a little easier. The parent or pediatrician types in which shots the child already has received, and the scheduling software (designed by a professor and a graduate student at Georgia Tech) weighs the complex and often conflicting rules for each immunization and prints a color-coded chart that shows how much time to leave between catch-up doses and regular shots.
Health Buzz reported last month that more than 1 in 4 toddlers may not be in compliance with the CDC’s recommended vaccination schedule. And the U.S. News On Parenting blog offers advice on immunizing your child against the flu.
Eating Healthier Might Be Dining at Home
Researchers at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab have found that restaurants are full of environmental cues, from plate size to bread condiments, that encourage people to eat more, Katherine Hobson reports. And while New York City is requiring chain restaurants to put calorie counts on menu boards, the figures might not be accurate everywhere, as an investigation by several TV stations showed last week. Their findings: Of 23 “diet” menu items at popular chain restaurants like Chili’s and Applebee’s, 78 percent contained more fat than they were supposed to, and almost 69 percent had more calories than was indicated on the menu. The Wall Street Journal conducted a similar survey earlier this year and found that while the nutritional information was generally accurate, free add-ons like cheese and bread boosted meals’ calories considerably.
--January W. Payne