Thousands of pediatric health care professionals from all over the world are currently attending the annual conference in Orlando, Florida. To kick off the event, several fascinating studies on pediatric health were released and we’ve broken a few for you and your family.
Study suggests childhood obesity linked to poor school performance and coping skills
Summary: Childhood obesity can negatively affect a child’s ability to “flourish,” according to one new study. Researchers surveyed more than 20,000 parents and caregivers to children between the ages of 10 and 17 with the goal of determining if a child’s body mass index (BMI) affects their overall well-being in five categories: interest in learning, finishing tasks, staying calm when faced with a challenge, caring about school performance and completing homework. Less than 28 percent of children with obesity displayed all five of these well-being markers.
Takeaway: In order to set children up for a healthy childhood, researchers recommend early intervention to simultaneously promote physical, mental and social health.
‘Good guys’ in superhero films more violent than villains
Summary: Everyone loves a good superhero tale, but superheroes may not be the role models we thought they were. While the genre displays many positive themes, on-screen violence is frequent. After an analysis of ten superhero-based films, one study found that on average, the ‘good guys’ in these films engaged in more violent acts than the villains. Additionally, male characters were shown in nearly five times as many violent acts than female characters. By passively co-viewing violent media, parents might be sending an implicit message that they approve of what their children are seeing.
Takeaway: To counteract the on-screen violence, researchers recommend you watch these films with your child and talk about what they see. This can help your children develop critical thinking and values independent of the media they consume.
Link to study: ‘Good guys’ in superhero films more violent than villains
Most children surveyed couldn’t tell real guns from toy guns
Summary: How confident are you that your child knows the difference between real and fake guns? If you are like the majority of American parents and caregivers, including those who own firearms, you may be wrong. A new study found that when children between 7 and 17 years old were shown side-by-side photos of real and toy firearms, only 41 percent of children could correctly identify both. Furthermore, among children who reported having a gun in the home, 53 percent knew where it was stored and 45 percent knew where to access ammunition.
Takeaway: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that guns be stored locked, unloaded and separate from ammunition. This study illustrated how critical it is to store all firearms safely.
Link to study: Most children surveyed couldn’t tell real guns from toy guns
Survey finds ‘alarming’ percentage of families share leftover antibiotics
Summary: Health care is expensive, and it may seem like a good idea to avoid the cost of a second doctors’ office visit by distributing leftover antibiotics when a family member is sick. However, this can be very dangerous. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed or in the wrong dose can actually fuel antibiotic-resistant infections and does more harm than good. An anonymous questionnaire found that nearly half of parents surveyed keep leftover antibiotics rather than dispose of them properly.
Takeaway: While antibiotics are often an essential part of pediatric care, it’s important to remember that not all illnesses require antibiotics and it’s best to consult with a medical professional before giving any prescription medication.
Instant soups and noodles responsible for burning nearly 10,000 children each year
Summary: Scald burns are a major cause of preventable injuries in children and new research shows that at least 20 percent of all burns that send children to emergency departments are caused by microwavable instant soup products. More than 9,500 children seek emergency medical care annually as a result of these traumas. The study found that these injuries were most common in 7 years old children, and the most common area of the body burned is the torso.
Takeaway: While these products may seem easy to prepare, it’s important for parents and caregivers to closely supervise young children when cooking for themselves. Once the packaged cups are heated up, they become a dangerous burn risk and pose serious threats to children.