Health Buzz: Cleanest and Most Polluted U.S. Cities, Swine Flu, and More

How to keep kids safe from swine flu; dealing with a child's video-game obsession.


American Lung Association Grades Cities on Air Pollution

About 186.1 million Americans are living in areas with dangerously high air pollution levels, HealthDay reports. The findings come from research presented this week in the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2009 report. "Six out of 10 Americans live in areas dirty enough to send people to the emergency room, to shape how kids' lungs develop, and even dirty enough to kill," said Charles D. Connor, president and CEO of the American Lung Association, during a teleconference yesterday, according to HealthDay. Fargo, N.D., was rated as the cleanest city in the United States; North Dakota was the only state to earn passing scores for ozone pollution, year-round particle pollution, and short-term particle pollution. The ALA deemed Los Angeles the country's dirtiest city.

It's tough to avoid breathing polluted air, but there are some ways to reduce exposure. Researchers are finding that air pollution can damage sperm—not to mention the offspring those sperm produce.

Swine Flu: How to Keep Your Kids Safe

A Texas child not yet 2 years old, who had recently visited Mexico, has become the first person in the United States to die from the swine flu, reports. And news of this death may prompt parents, who were already seriously concerned about the swine flu, to be even more worried. With the suspected death toll mounting in Mexico and at least 64 confirmed cases in the United States, there's good reason for concern, Nancy Shute reports. One New York City school closed because dozens of students have fallen ill. Parents' fears get amplified when the public-health experts say, correctly, that they don't know what's going to happen next. "We don't know how worried we need to be," says Joseph Bocchini, chairman of the department of pediatrics at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Here are 5 ways to keep your kids safe from swine flu. This list of 14 things you should know about the new flu virus may help both adults and children.

Addressing a Child's Video-Game Obsession

The news that almost 10 percent of kids show symptoms of addiction to video games makes this a great time for Michael Gurian's new book, The Purpose of Boys: Helping Our Sons Find Meaning, Significance, and Direction in Their Lives (Jossey-Bass, $26.96). He has made a crusade and a career out of advocating for boys, who he feels have been neglected by schools and society in an effort to give girls long-denied opportunities. Boys without purpose are boys who spend the day racking up high scores on Grand Theft Auto IV. This might not be the best preparation for manhood, writes Nancy Shute, who talked with Gurian about his book.

Learn why addiction to video games is a growing concern, and check out these resources for video-game addiction.

January W. Payne

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