Health Buzz: Doctor Intervention May Help Prevent Youth Smoking

How to handle living with your parents; Plus, why are we hung up on chocolate milk in school?

A U.S. Surgeon General's report issued last year found that more needs to be done to prevent young Americans from using tobacco, including stricter smoking bans and higher taxes on tobacco products.
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Experts: Primary Care Doctors Should Educate, Counsel Youth to Prevent Tobacco Use

In 2009, about 24 percent of high school students reported current use of a tobacco product, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In an effort to curb the number of young smokers, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommended today that primary care clinicians with school-aged and adolescent patients provide interventions to prevent tobacco use. These interventions may include educating the young patients or providing brief counseling, such as face-to-face interactions or phone calls with the doctor. "As a pediatrician, I believe that preventing tobacco use is critical in helping young people live long, healthy lives," said Task Force member David Grossman in a press release. "The good news is that we have solid evidence primary care clinicians can help their young patients be tobacco free. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

The full recommendation is available here, in the Annals of Internal Medicine. To help prevent the young people in your life from smoking, check out this CDC guide, which aims to help youth, parents and coaches understand and address the risks of tobacco use.

How to Handle Living with Your Parents

Dear Millenials,

Don't feel bad if you're living at your parents' house. Turns out, you're normal.

Some 21.6 million millenials – or 36 percent of Americans ages 18 to 31 – lived at their parents' residence in 2012, according to an analysis of census data released this month by the Pew Research Center. That's the highest rate in 40 years and "represents a slow but steady increase" in recent years, Pew reports. In 2007, before the Great Recession, this figure stood at 32 percent; in 2009, with the recovery underway, it had risen to 34 percent.

The new socioeconomic landscape owes to fewer jobs, declining marriage rates and increased college enrollment, Pew states, noting that the data includes college students living in dorms during the school year.

As Americans transition with this transition, new viewpoints are emerging about young adulthood. "There used to be this huge stigma about returning home, and people – friends, neighbors, relatives – would say, 'What's wrong with this child?' or 'What did these parents do wrong?'" says social psychologist Susan Newman, author of "Under One Roof Again: All Grown Up and (Re)learning to Live Together Happily." "That's really changed. The stigma has disappeared." [Read more: How to Handle Living with Your Parents]

Why Are We Hung Up on Chocolate Milk in School?

With Labor Day almost upon us, the annual debate on banning flavored milk in schools has hit the airwaves, writes U.S. News blogger Tamara Duker Freuman. Simple as it may seem, milk is a lightning rod for controversy. How did milk get so complicated? And what does scientific research offer by way of answers?

At the heart of the controversy over flavored milk in school is this question: Is drinking sweetened milk better than drinking less total milk overall for kids who reject the plain white stuff? And are kids who drink flavored milk more likely to become obese? Research is mixed, and interpreting it is likely complicated by a presumed publication bias stemming from the fact that most milk research is sponsored by the dairy industry. Nonetheless, here's what I can glean:

In terms of added sugar, research from multiple sources suggests that flavored milk contributes only a minor percentage of it (less than 5 percent) to kids' diets.

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