12-27-2011 (Dayton, OH) -
As 2011 comes to a close, Dayton Children’s wants parents and families to know the list of “Kids’ Health Issues to Watch.” The issues chosen represent a wide range of concerns — some may hit close to home while others may be more far reaching. Of course, these are not the only important issues affecting children’s health — far from it — but Dayton Children’s feels that in the midst of many, these are notable:
Kids’ Health Issues to Watch in 2012:
- Helping teens take charge of their health care: Preparing kids for independence and adulthood brings many challenges for parents — teaching teens to drive, negotiating later curfews, researching colleges, discussing tough topics, to name just a few. Among these hurdles is helping teens start managing their own health care. It can be hard to let go — after all, mom and dad have been handling the doctors' appointments, prescriptions, immunizations, and countless other medical concerns since their kids were born. But it's important to guide teenstoward taking on this responsibility. After all, parents won't always be around to manage their children's health care — and in most cases, once their kids become adults, legally they won't be allowed to.
- The risks of postponing or avoiding vaccinations: When it comes to immunizing their kids, increasing numbers of parents aren't just consulting their pediatricians for advice — they're also paying heed to rumors and advice spread online through websites, message boards, and blogs. Even when the science or sources behind anti-immunization stances are proved unreliable or even completely discredited, it can be difficult for some parents to accept that vaccines are safe. And sometimes other personal or religious beliefs persuade parents to skip immunizations. As a result, health officials are seeing alarming rises in preventable diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported hundreds of U.S. measles cases in 2011, the largest number in 15 years. Most of these occurred in people who were not immunized against measles.
- The rise of eating issues and disorders:Seeing the rail-thin models who strut down catwalks at fashion shows, you might think that eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia mostly affect women whose livelihoods are based on being thin. But more and more, these problems are affecting people from all walks of life — and, unfortunately, many of them are kids. Of the almost 24 million Americans who suffer from an eating disorder, 95% are between 12 and 25 years old. While childhood obesity continues to be a challenge for children, eating issues and disorders will be a trend to watch in the year ahead.
- Prenatal surgery: Helping babies before birth: Operating on a baby before birth may seem like science fiction, but prenatal surgery is becoming more and more common in special pediatric programs throughout the United States. Since prenatal surgery was first pioneered in the 1980s, it's become an important way to correct certain birth defects that could be severe (and in some cases fatal) if babies were born with them unrepaired. The benefits of prenatal surgery don't come without risks, though. Still, for many parents and their babies, fetal surgery is a true medical miracle.
- Mobile health apps: Choosing wisely: A barky cough, a blotchy rash, a sudden fever — when kids develop symptoms like these, many parents no longer just call their pediatrician for help and advice. Many also look for health information online. And, more and more, their sleuthing is done via smartphones and tablets, which has given rise to health-specific apps. But there can be downsides, too. It's fairly simple to design and release a health-related app that seems "official" — but did that prescription drugs informational app come from medical experts, a pharmaceutical company, an ad agency, or an ill-informed (if well-intentioned) consumer? It's important for parents to take note of where this portable health information is coming from. Just as you would vet a website to make sure it's run by reputable health experts, make sure your apps are credible, accurate, and up to date. But most important — no app (or website) is a substitute for a doctor's advice. Any time your child has symptoms of a medical condition or problem, contact your health care provider.
- Preventing the preventable: As the 2011 Dayton Children’s Regional Pediatric Health Assessment indicated, many of the top issues of most concern to parents can be addressed by preventing the preventable. In 2012, we encourage parents to join with Dayton Children’s to address childhood injury, obesity and colds and flu by:
- Making sure children always wear their helmets while riding a bicycle and be certain they know bicycle safety
- Using properly installed car seats and seat belts.
- Eat 5 fruits and vegetables each day, get less than 2 hours of screen time each day, get at least 1 hour of activity each day and drink 0 sugary drinks.
- Reinforce children covering their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing (have them sneeze or cough into a shirtsleeve, though, not their hands — this helps prevent the spread of germs) – and of course, get the flu shot.
For more information, contact:
Community Relations Manager
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