DiversityNursing Blog

Can Fast Food Hinder Learning in Kids?

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Dec 29, 2014 @ 10:28 AM

FSF050 resized 600A steady diet of fast food might hurt your child in the classroom, a new study finds.

Kids who frequently ate fast food in fifth grade lagged behind by eighth grade, said researchers who reviewed questionnaires and test scores of more than 8,500 U.S. students.

"The largest effects were found for the kids who reported daily consumption of fast food," said study leader Kelly Purtell, assistant professor of human sciences at Ohio State University. "On average they were scoring three or four points lower than the kids who did not report eating fast food at all in the past week." 

The researchers compared academic test scores in reading, math and science for fifth and eighth grade and looked at the students' responses to food questions on a national survey. 

On average, test scores increased 16 to 19 points, depending on the subject, Purtell said.

But kids who ate fast food the most had test-score gains of up to 20 percent less than those who never ate fast food, she found.

The study was published online this month in Clinical Pediatrics

More than two-thirds of the students surveyed reported some fast-food intake. And one in five had eaten at least four fast-food meals in the previous week, the survey found.

The amount of fast food consumed corresponded with eighth-grade scores, even after researchers took into account for physical activity, TV watching, income levels and school characteristics, Purtell said.

The proliferation of fast food is already a concern because of America's obesity epidemic.

However, the study can't prove the fast food caused the lower scores, only that the two were linked, Purtell noted. Still, other research has linked high-sugar and high-fat diets with an adverse effect on learning processes requiring attention, she said.

Although researchers can't explain the tie-in for sure, it's also possible that those with a fast-food habit may not get the nutrients needed for good learning, she suggested.

Experts aren't recommending you ban all fast foods on the basis of this one report, but they do advise moderation.

"It is premature to presume that frequent fast-food consumption will compromise one's later academic functioning," said Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children's Medical Center of New York, who wasn't involved in the study.

"Although this study found an association between frequently eating fast food and weaker academic performance a year later, we cannot be certain that the observed differences were due to nutritional factors and not other variables," he said.

Still, it's advisable to "encourage kids to go slow when it comes to fast food" to preserve health and good nutrition, Adesman added.

More research is needed, he said, to determine what impact fast food has on students' learning potential.

In the meantime, Purtell said, "I don't think the occasional fast meal is anything to worry about." Once a week or less might be a good goal, she suggested.

Source: www.nlm.nih.gov

Topics: learning, kids, fast food, harmful, healthy lifestyle, lifestyle choices, classroom, youth, pediatrics, nursing, health, healthcare, children, diet, medical, food, physicians

7 Surprising Facts From a School Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Aug 18, 2014 @ 01:05 PM

By: American Profile

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School nursing started out as a practical solution for Beth Mattey: The mom of three liked the hours. Now, 27 years later, she says it was the perfect career choice—creative, independent and full of meaning. “As Maya Angelou said, ‘People never forget how you made them feel,’” Mattey says. “That’s the connection that school nurses make.” We asked Mattey what parents might be surprised to know about her job—and their kids.

1. Sadness is one of the most common illnesses she sees in students. “Kids are anxious and want to do well,” she says, noting a 2012 National Association of School Nurses report that the top five health conditions of U. S. children are mental health- related, issues that school nurses spend about a third of their time helping students cope with.

2. Every kid should carry a water bottle. Dehydration is often the cause of headaches, another common complaint among kids, Mattey says. Also a culprit? Lack of sleep.

3. School nurses need to know your secrets. In addition to any chronic conditions your student is coping with, update your school’s nurse on any big family news like an illness, death or divorce. Your instinct might be to keep such facts private, but the nurse can offer your child valuable support.

4. Your kids aren’t eating the lunch you pack. “I often ask teens what they had for lunch, and they say, ‘Chips.’ We need to help them understand the value of nutrition and to make good choices,” Mattey says.

5. A “mental health day” is not a stress solution. Allowing your anxious teen a day off won’t get to the root of the cause. “If a kid is too stressed to go school, find out why,” Mattey says. “Is she being bullied? Did she not do her homework?”

6. Teens need vaccines. Make sure yours is up to date on the Tdap or tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis; meningitis—one at age 11, the second at age 16; and the HPV (human papilloma virus).

7. A school nurse can be a teen’s— and parent’s—best friend. Mattey sees herself as supporting students, physically and emotionally. After all, she’s there day after day, year after year. “School nurses provide a safety net,” she says.

Source: www.tauntongazette.com

Topics: school nurse, school, kids, patients, list, students

Many Kids Don't Have A Realistic Take On Their Weight

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jul 28, 2014 @ 01:05 PM

By Michelle Healy

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Nearly one-third of U.S. children and adolescents are obese or overweight, but many don't realize that they fall into that category.

According to new government statistics, approximately 30% of children and adolescents ages 8-15 years (32% of boys and 28% of girls) — an estimated 9.1 million young people — don't have an accurate read on their own weight.

About 33% of kids (ages 8–11) and 27% of teens (ages 12–15) misperceive their weight status, says the report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

Based on data collected between 2005 and 2012 from more than 6,100 kids and teens for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the report also finds:

• 42% of those classified as obese (48% of boys; 36% of girls) considered themselves to be about the right weight.

• 76% of those classified as overweight (81% of boys; 71% of girls) believed they were about the right weight.

• 13% of those classified as being at a healthy weight considered themselves too thin (9%) or too fat (4%).

Studies have shown that recognizing obesity can be an important step in reversing what is a major health problem for U.S. children and adolescents, and it can be an important predictor of later weight-control behaviors, says Neda Sarafrazi, a nutritional epidemiologist at NCHS and lead author of the report.

"When overweight kids underestimate their weight, they are less likely to take steps to reduce their weight or do additional things to control their weight, like adopt healthier eating habits or exercise regularly," Sarafrazi says.

"On the other hand, when normal weight or underweight kids overestimate their weight, they might have unhealthy weight-control behaviors," she says.

Weight misperception varied by race and Hispanic origin, according to the report. Black and Mexican-American youths were more likely to misperceive their weight than white children. It also varied by income level and was significantly less common among higher-income families compared with lower-income families.

The report's findings are not a surprise, says Timothy Nelson, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He was not involved in the study.

"In general, children and adolescents have a tendency to underestimate their health risks, and this certainly appears to be the case with obesity," says Nelson, who studies pediatric health behaviors. "We see a similar pattern of misperception when parents are asked about their children's weight. Parents are often unaware of the problem."

With obesity so prevalent today, it's understandable that many kids might have a skewed take on their weight, he says. "If they are surrounded by people who are overweight, they may be less likely to label their own weight as a problem."

The findings highlight the need for health professionals "to communicate with families about the child's weight," Nelson says. "This can be a tough conversation when the child is overweight, but it is critical that pediatricians help parents understand where their child stands and what steps need to be taken to get the child on a healthier track."

Source: http://www.usatoday.com

Topics: studies, kids, weight, overweight, pediatricians, obesity, health

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