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Old August 12th, 2002, 20:44
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July 2002


Monday, July 15, 2002

Helmets Not Being Worn in Texas
This survey found that less than 14% of children wear a helmet when bicycling, skateboarding, in-line skating, or riding a scooter. The study looked at 841 children in Texas. This was an observational study, not a simple survey of use (which could possibly over-inflate the numbers). Comment: teaching your child to wear a helmet is one of the most important health issues parents need to teach. [ article ]  


Sunday, July 07, 2002

Teaching Your Child Heart Healthy Habits
This statement on cardiovascular health in childhood from the American Heart Association lists several ways parents and primary care doctors can help treat and prevent the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. The article lists several indications for screening young children for high cholesterol. One of the strategies the article recommends is for parents to not reward their children by taking them to a fast-food joint. Parents should emphasize physical play, not exercise. Children should eat a standard low-fat diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber. Comment: this is an excellent article that parents should read. [ article ]  


Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Pregnancy Achieved by Most Couples Within 2 Years
Couples even in their late 30s have a 91% chance of getting pregnant within 2 years according to this study of 782 couples. [ article ]  


Children in Lesbian Families Surveyed
This study from Belgium looked at 41 children (22 boys & 19 girls) living in lesbian families and 37 children in heterosexual families. The average age was 10.5 years. The study found that the teachers though that the children in the lesbian families had more attention problems in school. The children in both groups reported the same level of quality in parent-child interactions. Comment: this study compared the children of lesbian versus bisexual parents. It would be interesting to look at a comparison between lesbian and married heterosexual parents. Studies have frequently shown large differences in the children of unmarried versus married heterosexual adults. [ article ]  


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Binge Drinking on Campuses Causes Widespread Vandalism
This report from the Harvard School of Public Health states that homes within a mile of college campuses are more than twice as likely to be vandalized. Assault and other problems associated with drunkeness are also much more common in these homes. The authors comment that two in five US college students are binge drinkers. Comment: the US's "war on drugs" needs to focus much more on alcohol abuse and tobacco. article ]  


Monday, July 01, 2002

Underage Drinking: Do You Know the Facts?
NEWSMAX.COM. Monday, July 1, 2002. The facts of underage drinking paint a stark portrayal of this burgeoning dilemma. Here are just a few of the utterly sobering statistics regarding underage drinking in the United States:

  • Alcohol is the No. 1 drug of choice among our nation's youth.
  • Research indicates that adolescents who abuse alcohol may remember 10 percent less of what they have learned than those who don't drink.
  • More than 40 percent of individuals who begin drinking before age 13 will develop alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency at some point in their lives.
  • Almost one-fourth of eighth-graders and one-half of 10th-graders have been drunk at least once. One-fifth of ninth graders report binge drinking (i.e., consuming five or more drinks in a row) in the past month.
  • Young persons who begin drinking before age 13 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence and twice as likely to develop alcohol abuse as those who begin drinking at age 21.

In the face of this harsh reality, a unique consortium – Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free – made up of governors' spouses, federal agencies and public and private organizations – has been formed to help combat the use of alcohol by children ages 9 to 15.

A Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's national household survey suggests that fifth grade – age 10 and 11 – is not too early to begin sending clear messages about underage drinking. According to this national survey, almost 10.5 million youths age 12 to 20 – nearly 30 percent – had used alcohol at least once a month prior to the survey. And, sadly, the average age of first use of alcohol continues to drop.

Consider these potent words by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson: "Ou
r message that underage drinking is unacceptable and illegal needs to reach down to elementary and middle school students, teachers, and their families. ... [T]he benefits of discussion ... can last a lifetime."

So, what can you do to help sway your child away from underage drinking?

According to the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, as a parent or caregiver you play a vital role in influencing your child. You serve as a role model on the use of alcohol, control the availability of alcohol in your home, and help set your child's expectations concerning drinking behaviors.

They suggest you take these steps in your home:

  • Set a good example for your child regarding the use of alcohol.
  • Encourage your children to talk with you about their problems and concerns.
  • Get to know your children's friends and discuss ways your children can avoid drinking when they are feeling pressured by peers.
  • Talk to other parents about ways to send a consistent, clear message that underage drinking is not acceptable behavior or a "rite of passage."
  • Encourage your children to participate in supervised activities and events that are challenging, fun and alcohol-free.
  • Learn the warning signs that indicate your children may be drinking and act promptly to get help.
  • Make sure you're at home for all your children's parties and be sure those parties are alcohol-free.

For more information on underage drinking, visit the website of the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free at www.alcoholfreechildren.org

A Final Thought: There is some good news – 60 percent of young people age 12 to 17 have never had a drink. In fact, a recent study showed that children whose parents are involved in their lives – hold regular conversations, attend after-school events and listen to their problems – are less likely to drink or smoke.

So please, use your powerful parental i
nfluence to help lead your child's life away from the perils of underage drinking.

Reprinted from NewsMax.com with Permission. Copyright 2002 by Bruce Mandelblit

  
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