Acupuncture is safe for children. So said the American Academy of Pediatrics. A study published in the journal Pediatrics looked at the side effects from 37 studies of acupuncture on children from birth to age 17. Of the 279 adverse side effects found, 253 were mild, 1 was moderate and 25 were serious. However, the serious side effects were related to substandard conditions – not the acupuncture technique itself. About 150,000 U.S. children have acupuncture a year. It can be used to treat headaches, migraines, back and joint pain, cramps and chemotherapy-induced nausea. Unfortunately, acupuncture can’t treat children’s fear of needles.
School lunches aren’t making children fat. That’s according to a study published in the journal Sociology of Education. The study followed approximately 20,000 students from kindergarten through eighth grade in 1,000 public and private schools. In the eighth grade 35.5% of the children in schools serving junk food were overweight compared to 34.8% in schools not serving junk food. That’s a statistically insignificant difference. It’s not that middle schoolers aren’t eating junk food. It’s that most of the junk food they eat doesn’t come from school. “Home sweet home” may be too sweet, as well as too fatty.
Test children ages 9-11 for high cholesterol. That advice from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute was endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics to prevent heart disease later in life. Cholesterol levels dip during puberty and screening at age 20 may be too late. Fat builds up in the heart arteries during the first 20 years. After that the arteries start hardening. By fourth grade 10%-13% of U.S. children have high cholesterol, but less than 1% need mediation. In most children high cholesterol can be controlled by diet and exercise – and parents who have a “controlling interest”.
And children who get more exercise do better in school. A report published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine reviewed 14 studies comparing children’s physical activity with their grades and scores on math, language, general thinking and memory tests. Whether exercise came from recess, physical education or getting to and from school, children benefitted. Exercise enables children to concentrate better. It also improves blood flow to the brain and boosts mood. The American Heart Association recommends 2-5 hours of physical education a week and 20 minutes of recess a day. School officials could also benefit from more exercise – of common sense.
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About the Author:
Knight Pierce Hirst has written for television, newspapers and greeting card companies. Presently she writes a 400-word news blog that is published 3 times a week. KNIGHT WATCH is a second look at uniquely interesting news items that requires only seconds to read at http://knightwatch.typepad.com.