Adelaide RobbAdelaide Robb, MD,  Chief of the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, specializing in pediatric mood disorders, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder shared with Rise and Shine that according to a study published by JAMA Pediatrics, bullied teens are twice as likely to consider suicide and nearly two-and-a-half times as likely to actually attempt suicide. In addition, the study found that teens who were cyberbullied were more than three times as likely to contemplate suicide as other kids.

The implications of bullying

Bullying makes a child feel hopeless, helpless, and hated, which can lead to low self-esteem, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Dr. Robb.

In response to the study, Dr. Robb said, “It’s not just bullying.” She noted that bullying is just one of many potential contributors that can lead to suicide. Other risk factors include depression, bipolar disorder, psychiatric disorders, physical abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, LBGT, or a prior suicide attempt.

Bullying is no longer just a problem that arises at recess or on the school bus. With advances in technology, kids can bully others through devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication channels like social media sites, apps, text messages, chat, and websites.

Traditional bullying vs. cyberbullying

While previous studies reported that traditional bullying and cyberbullying were equally harmful, this study found that cyberbullying increased the risk of suicide in children.

Cyberbullying can intensify a teen’s vulnerability because it allows peers to post negative messages anonymously and can also quickly reach a wider audience, Dr. Robb explained. While a teen may be able to delete inappropriate messages, texts, or photos, the content is stored online, which could result in a victim reliving these previous demeaning experiences. Read more

How Green Schoolyards Can Help Make Schools Safer This Fall

In this special feature article for Finding Nature News, author Jay Walljasper paints a picture of what Back-to-School 2020 could like all across America—with green schoolyards offering a safer, more equitable middle ground in the wrenching decisions over in-person vs. online instruction.

In inner-city Chicago, an English class spends reading time under newly planted shade trees on the schoolyard, while younger kids tend a garden plot, exclaiming “we’re growing a salad.”

In Grand Rapids, 5th graders at a lower-income school scramble across bridges, scoot through tunnels, and climb a lookout made from logs and stumps—which they helped design in art class. Middle-schoolers nearby study math at a new outdoor classroom built into a hillside.

In rural Plumas County, California, students at 18 schools now attend some classes in forests, meadows, or banks of the Feather River within a ten-minute walk from their homerooms. Read more

Mental health symptoms in school-aged children in four communities

A CDC study examined mental health symptoms in four different U.S. school districts. Based on the teacher and parent report, about 1 in 6 students have enough behavioral or emotional symptoms and impairment to be diagnosed with a childhood mental disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most common, followed by oppositional defiant disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Teachers identified boys, non-Hispanic black students, and students receiving free or reduced-price lunch more often as high risk for mental disorders than their peers in most sites, but there were generally no demographic differences in the percentage of students who met the criteria for a mental disorder based on parent report. The rates varied among the different sites. 

Schools, communities, and healthcare providers can use this information to plan for healthcare and school service needs of children and adolescents with mental disorders. Screening, identifying, and referring children and adolescents to effective treatments can help reduce and prevent the negative effects of mental disorders.

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Photo by insung yoon on UnsplashFran R. Cogen, MD, CDE,  director of the Childhood and Adolescent Diabetes Program at Children’s National shared in the Rise and Shine blog that while it has been established that having diabetes (especially Type 2 diabetes with complications and/or Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes with hemoglobin A1c levels greater than 10%) can increase a person’s risk of severe COVID-19, the reverse may be true as well – some people may develop diabetes for the first time as a result of being infected with the coronavirus.

Diabetes develops when the body can’t regulate glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. This can either result from the body’s own immune system attacking the cells that produce insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or from the body become insensitive or resistant to insulin (Type 2 diabetes). Insulin is the hormone that helps sugar enter cells in the body where it is used for energy. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and can cause both acute and chronic complications to the body.

Doctors have known for many years that certain viruses, such as the flu or coxsackie b, can trigger Type 1 diabetes in people who are genetically predisposed to developing diabetes. When these people get infected with a virus, the virus triggers an immune response that causes the body to develop antibodies against insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. It can take a while for the body to develop the antibodies that attack the insulin-producing cells, so diabetes may not be immediately apparent. Read more

Back to School (or Virtual School) Tips for a Healthy Year Ahead

Education activities in classroom at school, happy children learningThe Obesity Action Coalition shared that whether you are home for virtual school or sending the kids off with a mask and hand sanitizer, back to school looks different this year. While we are not rushing to the stores for back to school shopping like most Augusts, the re-setting of routines remains a priority.

Considering life hasn’t been “normal” since March, we may need a BIG reset. With family time now meaning spending 100% of your time with the kids, try creating a democratic environment and have your kids weigh-in on a new set of parameters for a school year routine.


#parentapproved tip:

Please consider this while reading these tips: give yourself some grace. If you plan to serve healthy meals and snacks and set a schedule for when to eat, the rest is up to your kids. Model by example by building a balanced plate for yourself, but know that the rest is up to the kiddos. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it’s to realize how little control we really have.

For a more tangible tip, get the kids involved. Have them each pick a dinner once per week, and possibly one they can help with. In my house, my kids have some power over snacks – they pick the snack, but they know it needs to contain a fruit or veggie as a component.

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Childhood Obesity: It’s Up to Us!

The Area Health Education Center posted that as parents, caregivers, teachers, and community members, we are at the forefront of ensuring the health of our children and reducing their risk of chronic health conditions. We can do this by supporting and encouraging children to participate in physical activities that get them moving for at least 60 minutes a day, providing nutritious food and beverage options, and making sure they get adequate sleep. This sounds much easier than it is, and the reality of convincing our kids to step away from the television or computer and make healthy food choices is a daily struggle. Childhood obesity has become a major problem in the United States and it is crucial that we adults step up to the plate (in more ways than one) and show children that making even small changes can make a big difference to their future.

In the United States, approximately 1 in 6 (18%) youth ages 2-19 are obese. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines obesity in children and young people as BMI (Body Mass Index) at or above the 95th percentile for young people. This number puts these children at higher risk for asthma, diabetes, heart disease, bone, and joint problems, and sleep apnea. If we do not make changes now, they are more likely to have obesity as adults and continue to increase their risk of physical and mental health problems. Read more

September is National Childhood Obesity Month

The CDC shared that about 1 in 5 (19%) children in the United States have obesity. Certain groups of children are more affected than others. National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month provides a chance for all of us to learn more about this serious health condition. While there is no simple solution, there are many ways communities can support children with their journey to good health.

Childhood Obesity Is a Major Public Health Problem

  • Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone, and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal-weight peers.
  • Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal-weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
  • Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.

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Gaps in transition to adult health care

group-of-business-peopleA CDC study found that in 2016–2017, only about 1 and 6 adolescents with mental, behavioral, or developmental disorders (MBDDs) received the recommended support from their healthcare providers to help them transition from pediatric care to adult care. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends transition planning for all adolescents starting at age 12 years that includes the healthcare provider speaking with the adolescent separate from family members, discussing the transition to adult care, and coaching the adolescent in taking charge of their own care. This transition planning is particularly important for adolescents with MBDDs to help prevent potential negative outcomes during and after a healthcare transition.

Main Findings

  • Overall, most adolescents did not receive the recommended transition planning to get ready to move from pediatric to adult health care.
    • Only about 1 in 6 adolescents (aged 12–17 years) with MBDDs received the recommended transition planning.
    • Among younger adolescents (aged 12–14 years) with MBDDs, 1 in 10 receive the recommended transition planning.
  • Gaps in planning differed by diagnosis:
    • Although adolescents with depression and anxiety were more likely than their peers without MBDDs to receive transition planning, most did not receive the recommended planning.
    • Adolescents with some developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental delay, were less likely than their peers without MBDDs to receive the recommended transition planning.
  • Most adolescents receiving medication and/or behavioral treatment for MBDDs did not receive the recommended transition planning, putting them at risk for stopping treatment.

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5 Reasons Why Martial Arts are Great for Children’s Health

Karate Training. Kids Karate clubs.Asen from FighterCulture shared with Healthy Lombard that nothing is more important than our children’s health.  Today, he is going to talk about why martial arts are great for the physical and mental health of the kids. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits.

#1 They’ll Be More Active

Doing any kind of sport is extremely important for every kid. We are living in times where obesity is a worldwide problem, especially in richer countries like the USA.

The problem is extra worrisome when we are talking about kids. However, today’s youth has so many options for easy fun like playing on the phone or computer. For children, they need to like what they are doing or else they’ll just stop doing it.

This is why martial arts are a great sport to try. The workouts are interesting, intense, and far from monotone. Getting your children to practice on a kids punching bag is also a great way to start their interest in martial arts.

#2 Increased Self-confidence

We can all agree that confidence is an extremely important life skill. Yes, that is right, confidence is a skill and it can be trained.

Combat sports are great for increasing confidence not only for kids. Enduring the tough workouts and learning self-defense will have a tremendous impact on self-confidence.

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Back to school during COVID-19: how to prepare your kids

Desk with stationary and with Back to school sign. Studio shot on wooden background.Edwards-Elmhurst Health posted in their Healthy Drive Blog that school districts across the country are figuring out how to navigate educating students in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are sticking with remote learning while others are bringing students back on a full or part-time basis.

As you prepare your child for getting back to school, Dr. Victoria Uribe, who chairs the pediatric department at Elmhurst Clinic, offers a few tips on preparing your child for school life during a pandemic.

  • Have the talk. Talk to your child about the coming school year and what it may look like for them. Ask them questions about how they’re feeling, expectations, what they may need to succeed this school year, and ways they can stay connected with their friends. Dr. Uribe suggests using mealtimes to continue those discussions throughout the school year.

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