Health Buzz: Boston Teaches Teens About Break Ups

Children’s cereal: healthy start or junk food? Plus,try these at-home sunburn treatments


Boston Advises Teens on Breaking Up—Safely

Breaking up is hard to do. That's why Boston's Public Health Commission teamed with local service agencies to put on its third annual "Break-Up Summit" Thursday, with city government officials doling out relationship advice to 250 teens. The focus: Learning to cut ties in safe, smart, and healthy ways. Bad teenage relationships and breakups can lead to depression, low self-esteem, failing academic grades, and dangerous physical confrontations. One student, 17-year-old Andrew Curtin, described a classmate who was so distraught over a breakup, he landed in the school nurse's office with a broken hand after punching a locker or wall. Esta Soler, president of Futures Without Violence, a nonprofit that helped design the program, warned that social media is a complicating factor these days; some teens end relationships by simply changing their Facebook status back to "single." "The world knows before you do," high school senior Cassie Desrochers, 17, told the Associated Press. "A relationship is personal. The whole world shouldn't know about it." 

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  • Children's Cereal: Healthy Start or Junk Food? 

    Imagine you are 5 years old. In the supermarket cereal aisle. Towering above you are rows upon rows of cardboard boxes, brightly colored like construction paper, and emblazoned with your favorite mascots or silly characters that seem to hug you from their perch on the shelves. Sure, there are some understated choices—the simple yellow Cheerios box, offering up a bowl of mutely-colored rings. But remember, you're 5. You're more likely drawn to the rainbow of fun featured on the Fruity Pebbles package. Not only does this cereal come techicolored, but it's got Fred Flintstone on the box. You wish you could go barefoot and drive a car with your feet.... you tug at your mom and begin begging: "Please, please, please, can we get Fruity Pebbles?!!" 

    Pebbles (the fruity and cocoa versions) was ranked the least nutritious cereal in a recent report by Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity that lambasted cereal companies for peddling their poorest choices to kids. 

    Yale decided to check up on the food industry's plan to police itself—the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. Formed in 2006, the initiative called for promoting healthy foods and lifestyles to kids. Two years later, Yale studied the cereal market and reviewed the landscape last year. The first report found that companies were "doing zero marketing of their healthiest cereals," to kids, says Kelly Brownell, a Yale University professor of psychology who directs the Rudd Center. Today, "the number is still zero," and, furthermore, "they're doing aggressive marketing of their least healthy foods. [Read more: Children's Cereal: Healthy Start or Junk Food?

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    • Try These At-Home Sunburn Treatments 

      It's all fun in the sun—until someone gets burned. Looking and feeling like a lobster? Ouch. We've all been there: Half of American adults under 30 say they've had a sunburn at least once in the previous year, according to government data released in May. And just one blistering burn can double the risk of developing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. "It's not worth having such a bad sunburn after day one that you have to stay inside the rest of the weekend and watch everyone else having fun through the window," says dermatologist Jessica Krant, founder of the Art of Dermatology practice in New York. 

      Prevention, of course, is easier than treatment. The smartest advice: Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the hottest hours of the day. Wear thin clothing that covers your skin, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. "Don't underestimate how quickly you can get burned," Krant says. Slather sunscreen on 15 to 30 minutes before heading into the sun, and make sure it's at least SPF 30 and marked with the phrase "broad spectrum," which indicates that it protects against the two types of ultraviolet rays capable of causing sunburn: UVA and UVB.