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10 Simple Things All Healthy Kids Have in Common

Changing a handful of little habits can help ensure you have super healthy kids. These are the pediatrician-approved qualities of the most robust kids around.

They get plenty of sleep

Many kids—especially as they hit their teen years—don’t get the recommended amount of sleep. “Prioritize sleep,” says Natasha Burgert, MD, a pediatrician in Kansas City, Missouri. “Sleep is required for healthy growth, body functions, and mental health. Plus, sleep protects against obesity and its associated risks.” For toddlers, expect 11 to 14 hours of sleep, while teens should get between 8 and 10 hours per night. Need help getting shut-eye? Try these 10 tips for a better night’s sleep.

They wash their hands before eating

A 2012 study showed that something as simple as teaching your kids to wash their hands regularly can drastically lower the rate of respiratory and gastrointestinal illness. Here are other key ways to avoid getting sick.

They don’t eat only mac n’ cheese

“Parents can teach their kids to eat foods that are all colors of the rainbow,” says Jean Moorjani, MD, a pediatrician at Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. “The variety will ensure that kids are getting the appropriate vitamins and nutrients they need to grow and be healthy.” These are the after-school snacks nutritionists give their own kids.

They stay up to date on vaccinations

Vaccines are key to preventing illness—and to healthy kids. “Parents can make sure they give vaccines on the CDC recommended schedule,” Dr. Moorjani says. “This includes a flu vaccine every year.”

They get out and play

Active kids are healthy kids. And beyond the physical benefits such as decreased risk of obesity and weight-related disease, regular exercise can help reduce stress and boost mood too. “Healthy kids do something fun every day, screens not included,” Dr. Burgert says. “Promoting mental health is important.”

They have parents who prioritize their own health

“When parents get busy, we have a tendency to prioritize the health and wellness of our kids over our own,” says Dr. Burgert. “Moms and dads need to prioritize their own health to set an example. This includes eight hours of sleep, limiting media use, eating at home with their kids, drinking lots of water, getting a flu shot, washing hands, getting regular exercise, and taking time out for ourselves.” By having healthy habits of your own, you’ll be modeling a healthy lifestyle for your kids. Here’s how to carve out more “me time.”

They use car seats and seat belts

Car accidents are one of the most common causes of death in kids under 12, and 35 percent of those killed were not properly restrained in car seats. Follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations, and have kids rear facing until they turn 2, in a five-point harness until they outgrow their forward-facing seat, and then a belt-positioning booster until they reach 4 feet 9 inches. Learn how to use a car seat safely.

They wear helmets when they ride bikes

Only about half of children wear helmets when they ride their bikes, even though nearly 26,000 kids each year end up with bike-related head injuries, according to the CDC. And though they aren’t perfect, a study in the American College of Surgery shows that people who wore helmets reduced their risk of traumatic brain injury by 53 percent. These are the signs you need to go to the ER after a head injury.

They limit their screen time

A recent survey by Common Sense Media finds that kids are glued to their screens for an average of 2 hours and 20 minutes every day. But super healthy kids step away from technology. “Kids who spend too much time in front of a screen—computer, video games, tablets, smartphones—have higher risks of developing obesity, depression, sleep problems, lower academic performance, and increased risky behavior,” says Dr. Moorjani.

They see their doctor annually

Regular doctor’s visits can help ensure that everything’s ship shape—and make sure that you catch any underlying medical issues sooner. “Parents can contact their trusted pediatrician for guidance in helping their kids grow up as healthy as they can be,” says Dr. Moorjani. “As healthcare providers, we want what you want, and that is for every child to grow up healthy.” Here’s how to find a pediatrician you can trust.

BY LISA MILBRAND
source: www.rd.com
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Kids Are Spending More Time On Mobile Devices Than Ever Before

Almost half of young children now have their own tablet, a new report says.

According to the report, which comes from Common Sense Media, those tablets are seeing plenty of use. Kids younger than eight are reportedly spending an average of two hours and 19 minutes per day glued to screens. Roughly 30 percent of that time is spent on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Forty-two percent of youngsters have a personal tablet.

While screen use has held fairly steady over time—kids in 2011 spent two hours and 16 minutes per day looking at screens, for example—the medium of choice has changed dramatically, according to the Common Sense Census. Television is still the most popular screen, but daily time spent watching the tube has dropped by 11 minutes since 2011. During the same time period, meanwhile, mobile device use has exploded from five minutes per day to its current 48 minutes.

Meanwhile, kids are still spending about a half hour per day reading or being read to—and, interestingly enough, the vast majority of that time is spent with print media, not e-readers.
Still, the uptick in mobile usage may be cause for concern. “Mobile device use is more individual, immersive and on-demand, and it influences interpersonal dynamics differently and can be harder to break yourself (or your child) away from,” writes Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, in an opening letter for the Common Sense Media report. Studies have also linked excessive device use among youth to everything from speech delays to decreased emotional intelligence.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of two and five spend no more than an hour per day on screens, and suggests “consistent limits” for kids older than six.

 
Jamie Ducharme    Oct 19, 2017    TIME Health
 
source: time.com


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Kids Are Spending More Time On Mobile Devices Than Ever Before

Almost half of young children now have their own tablet, a new report says.

According to the report, which comes from Common Sense Media, those tablets are seeing plenty of use. Kids younger than eight are reportedly spending an average of two hours and 19 minutes per day glued to screens. Roughly 30 percent of that time is spent on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. Forty-two percent of youngsters have a personal tablet.

While screen use has held fairly steady over time—kids in 2011 spent two hours and 16 minutes per day looking at screens, for example—the medium of choice has changed dramatically, according to the Common Sense Census. Television is still the most popular screen, but daily time spent watching the tube has dropped by 11 minutes since 2011. During the same time period, meanwhile, mobile device use has exploded from five minutes per day to its current 48 minutes.

Meanwhile, kids are still spending about a half hour per day reading or being read to—and, interestingly enough, the vast majority of that time is spent with print media, not e-readers.
Still, the uptick in mobile usage may be cause for concern. “Mobile device use is more individual, immersive and on-demand, and it influences interpersonal dynamics differently and can be harder to break yourself (or your child) away from,” writes Dr. Jenny Radesky, a pediatrician at the University of Michigan, in an opening letter for the Common Sense Media report. Studies have also linked excessive device use among youth to everything from speech delays to decreased emotional intelligence.The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children between the ages of two and five spend no more than an hour per day on screens, and suggests “consistent limits” for kids older than six.

 
Jamie Ducharme    Oct 19, 2017    TIME Health
 
source: time.com


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Why Your Phone And The ‘fear Of Missing Out’ May Negatively Impact Your Mental Health

Electronic devices, such as smartphones and computers, are a necessity of day-to-day life; but that reliance on devices may be taking a toll on Canadians’ mental health.

A new survey by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) suggests, on average, Ontario adults spend more than 11 hours per week using social media or communicating via email, and nearly four hours per week playing screen-based games. That’s 15 hours a week not including the amount of time spent on devices at work or in school.

CAMH’s study suggested nearly one in five respondents between the ages of 18 to 29 showed signs of reliance on electronic devices, based on questions like, “Have you missed school, work or important social activities because of your use of devices?”

Overall, seven per cent of those surveyed had a problematic relationship with devices, according to the survey. Of those, 24 per cent said they had tried to cut back on their use and 14 per cent reported family members expressing concern about the amount of time they spent on their device.

Ten per cent reported feeling an “irresistible urge or uncontrollable need” to use their devices and seven per cent had experienced anxiety that could only be relieved by using a device.

“It’s clear that, for most of us, our use of electronic devices has skyrocketed over the past five to 10 years,” said Dr. Nigel Turner, scientist at CAMH’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, in a press release.

“While our understanding of problematic use is evolving, we know that some people do end up harming their career or educational opportunities by excessive use.”

How to cut down on your device use and improve your mental health

When Canadians talk about limiting screen time, the conversation usually revolves around children – but experts say it’s equally important for adults to consider putting tech restrictions on themselves for the sake of their mental health.

“Technology prompts us to respond – those beeps and buzzes gets our dopamine flowing,” Lisa Pont, therapist and educator with CAMH. “The fear of missing out is huge.”

family tech phones computer

As Pont points out, all of those text messages, Facebook Likes and Instagram notifications lighting up our devices provide us with a hit of dopamine – which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centre. This often leads to people constantly being tuned in to their devices.

“There is this expectation of people in our lives to be immediately responsive because everyone knows you have your smartphone on you,” Pont said.

Pont says it’s important for adults to reflect on their tech use to see how it’s affecting their day-to-day lives and attitude – do you feel the pressure to respond right away; do you feel anxiety due to information overload, or do you feel FOMO (fear of missing out) when you aren’t using your device; have you argued with your partner because they feel you are disconnected?

“You have to look at the consequences. If it’s affecting your work, or its impacting relationships, those are negative consequences,” she said. “This idea that I have to know what’s going on, it sounds so benign, but I think it truly affects our stress level.”

If you feel your device is impacting your mental health, try imposing limits on yourself – for example, no devices after 8 p.m., turn phones off during family dinners, or no phones in the bedroom.

“Consciously not using it at times when you want to be present,” Pont said. “We have anxiety detaching from technology, but you might discover you like it.”

Another important habit to break: using your phone as your alarm. Although sleeping next to your device may not seem like a big deal, Pont said those beeps and vibrations have the same effect our sleeping brain, causing you to lose sleep – and a lack of sleep can contribute to stress.

The light emitted from a smartphone or tablet, for example, can suppress the production of melatonin – a hormone that regulates a person’s circadian rhythm – and multiple studies have shown that using blue light-emitting, like smartphones and computers, before bed can lead to poor sleep.

Of course, cutting down on your screen time might be hard to do if you have a job that requires you to be available after-hours.

That’s why France banned work emails outside business hours earlier this year, Germany’s labour ministry banned managers from calling or emailing staff outside of work hours in 2013, and Volkswagen made it so that its servers would shut down the ability to send emails 30 minutes after an employee’s shift ended in 2011.

No such bans have been implemented in Canada, however.

These latest survey findings are based on the 2015 CAMH Monitor, a collection of survey data which allows researchers to track long-term trends in the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco, as well as identifying problematic behaviours related to mental health within Ontario’s population.

Another alarming issue in the survey: 37 per cent of respondents reported they had texted while driving at least once during the past year, while 11 per cent admitted texting behind the wheel 30 or more times over the previous year.

If you have the urge to text and drive, Pont suggests turning your phone on “Airplane Mode.” If you have a hands-free solution in your car and want to keep your phone on for emergency situations, then try leaving it in the backseat or somewhere out of reach.

By Nicole Bogart       National Online Journalist, Breaking News Global News
source: globalnews.ca


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Exposure to Bright Light Might Impact Metabolism

By: Elise Moreau     June 4, 2016     Follow Elise at @elisem0reau

Most people are aware of the importance of vitamin D for good health and that it comes from the sun in its natural form. And many know that the light from our electronic devices can mess with their ability to sleep at night. But did you know that your exposure to bright light — perhaps natural or artificial — may even be powerful enough to alter your metabolism?

In a recent study conducted by Northwestern University, 19 adults were exposed to bright, blue-enriched light for three hours each in the morning and in the evening over a four-day period. Hunger, metabolic function and physiological arousal were tracked and the results were compared against the results for exposure to dim light.

All participants were exposed to dim light in their waking hours over the first two days. On the third day, half of the participants were exposed to bright light in the morning while the other half were exposed to bright light in the evening.

What the researchers found was that bright light in both the morning and evening hours increased insulin resistance — the body’s inability to move glucose out of the bloodstream to use for energy. Insulin resistance can cause weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes.

The researchers also found that when the participants were exposed to bright light in the evening, higher peak glucose (blood sugar) levels were detected. And in a related study conducted previously by Northwestern researchers, they had found that people who were exposed to the majority of their light before midday weighed less than people who were exposed to the majority of their light after midday.

screen

This is the first time these results have been seen in humans, although researchers at this point can’t say why light exposure has the impact it does on our bodies. Previous studies conducted on mice that were exposed to light over a consistent period of time showed higher glucose levels and weight gain compared to mice in a control group.

These findings suggest that the amount of light, and what time of day we’re exposed to it, has a direct impact on our health. This would certainly include all the light we surround ourselves with these days that come from our electronic devices — from smartphones and tablets to television monitors and laptops. If you spend all evening around glowing screens, which we already know is bad for your body’s internal sleep clock, it could very well be partially to blame for why you may be having trouble shedding those few extra pounds.

The good news about this and future related research is that we may be able to find out more about how we might be able to use light to manipulate metabolic function. But for now, it’s probably safe to say that altering your morning and evening routines so that exposing yourself to light earlier in the day will be far better for your overall health than exposing yourself to much of it later on in the day.

Findings like these serve as just another good and healthy excuse to ditch the devices in the evening hours and do something a little more productive, enjoyable or just plain relaxing. Your mind and body deserve it.


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Smartphones, Tablets May Lower Kids’ Sleep Hormone

Finding suggests use of electronic devices before bedtime could delay slumber

By Alan Mozes     HealthDay Reporter     WebMD News from HealthDay

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) – New research offers a compelling reason for parents to ban smartphones, tablets and laptops in their children’s bedrooms at night: The bright light of these devices may lower levels of melatonin, a hormone that prompts sleep.

The effect was most pronounced for kids just entering puberty, with nighttime melatonin levels suppressed by up to 37 percent in some cases, the investigators found.

With a recent study suggesting that 96 percent of teens use at least one high-tech device in the hour before bedtime, the researchers have a suggestion for parents.

“The message is that we really have to be careful about protecting our especially young teens from light at night, which means parents need to get all screens out of the bedroom, because ultimately they can be quite damaging to a child’s capacity to get enough sleep,” said study co-author Mary Carskadon. She is a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University’s Alpert Medical School, in Providence, R.I.

Puberty and changing sleep habits go hand-in-hand, the study authors noted, as growing kids start to push for later bedtimes.

To some degree, the shift is likely prompted by several social factors, including the loosening of parental restrictions, budding friendships and media. But scientists believe that biological factors also play a role, as a child’s internal sleep clock starts to change.

At the heart of that change is light sensitivity, said Carskadon, who’s also director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Research Laboratory at the E.P. Bradley Hospital. Her team theorized that puberty increases a child’s sensitivity to light at night, causing melatonin levels to stay low and delay sleep.

But the researchers also suspected this natural process could be knocked out of whack when newly light-sensitive children are around the bright glare of modern technology.

So the study authors focused on 38 children between the ages of 9 and 15 (early puberty), along with 29 boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 16 (later or post-puberty).

For four nights, all were exposed to a single hour of light, involving four different brightness levels. Brightness levels ranged from near-dark “romantic restaurant lighting” all the way up to what Carskadon called “light you would find in the produce section of your favorite large supermarket.”

The exposures occurred either at 11 p.m. or 3 a.m., the authors said.

The result: While melatonin readings were uniform during the early morning light tests, late-night light tests caused much greater melatonin suppression among boys and girls at the earliest stages of puberty.

smartphone

In that group, dim “mood” lighting suppressed melatonin by more than 9 percent, while “normal” room light triggered a 26 percent dip and “bright” light prompted a 37 percent plunge. Overall, older teens saw much smaller drops in melatonin levels, the study found.

The study did not prove that bright light before bedtime causes adolescents to get less sleep, however.

“We cannot say we found a sleep ‘disturbance,'” Carskadon said. “But what we did find was that young children exposed to light at bedtime saw their melatonin production suppressed. And this could cause sleep rhythms to be affected in a way that causes children to stay up later, which is exactly what adolescents need not to be doing.”

Dr. Jim Pagel, director of Rocky Mountain Sleep in Pueblo, Col., agreed with the finding.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “At puberty onset, the circadian pattern is very unstable and very sensitive to light. So the problems they’re finding make sense.”

That opinion was seconded by Kelly Baron, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.

“This study didn’t actually test how light affected sleep itself, but it did find that it causes a problem on the pathway to sleep by suppressing melatonin,” Baron said.

“At the same time, other studies have consistently shown that electronics in the bedroom are detrimental to sleep for both parents and kids, frankly, which means we all really should be thinking about ways to limit our exposure to electronics, and light in general, before we go to bed,” Baron said.

The study findings were published online recently in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

SOURCES: Mary Carskadon, Ph.D., professor, psychiatry and human behavior, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, and director, Bradley Hospital Sleep and Chronobiology Research Laboratory, E.P. Bradley Hospital, East Providence, R.I.; Jim Pagel, M.D., associate clinical professor, University of Colorado Medical School System, and director, Rocky Mountain Sleep, Pueblo, Colo.; Kelly Baron, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor, neurology, and director, behavioral sleep medicine program, department of neurology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago; Aug. 26, 2015, Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

source: www.webmd.com