Risks for Childhood Obesity

A recent article in the LA Times reports on risks for childhood obesity beginning during the prenatal period:

“Today, one of every three U.S. children is overweight — but it’s much easier to prevent obesity than to treat it. That’s why pediatric obesity experts now say intervention should begin early — very early. The risk of becoming overweight or obese, it increasingly seems, begins before a child is born, establishes roots in infancy and may be entrenched by the time a tot starts kindergarten.

In recent studies, researchers concluded that some risk factors for childhood obesity exist even before birth. Further, they’ve found, obese 3-year-olds already show the signs of inflammation that is linked to heart disease in adults.

The notion that a person’s lifelong weight trajectory might be programmed early in life is startling — and potentially revolutionary, says Dr. Nicolas Stettler, an associate professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania.”

Click here for the rest of the article.


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New Report on State Data Systems

The Data Quality Campaign, a national collaborative effort to encourage and support state policymakers to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement, has released a new report. The report, Inaugural Overview of States’ Actions To Leverage Data To Improve Student Success, examines states’ actions to use data effectively, including efforts to:

  • expand the ability of state data systems to link across P–20/workforce (i.e., preschool to college and/or workforce) pipeline
  • ensure that data collected can be accessed, analyzed, and used by practitioners and policy makers
  • build the capacity of all stakeholders, such as researchers, educators, and the public, to use longitudinal data

A copy of this report can be found on the Data Quality Campaign website or by clicking here.

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Free Webinar from Child Care Aware Parent Network

Child Care Aware Parent Network have announced another free webinar. This evening session features Mario Luis Small, author of “Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life,” discussing how child care centers support the formation of social networks within a community. As families connect with one another through their childrens’ child care, they form social relationships that can provide anything from parenting advice to job referrals and can help them develop stronger ties to their communities.

The webinar, hosted Tuesday, February 16th 7:00 pm, will describe the most important characteristics of child care centers that encourage parents to form social networks and share what you can do to help make your child care center the center of your community. To register, go to https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/734149587.

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Abuse of Children Under 5 More Damaging

Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that children who were abused before the age of five had more emotional problems and poorer coping abilities later in life than children abused after this critical period of development. Findings include more frequent reports of depression and major dysregulation of the stress system, indicating that the childrens’ ability to cope with stress has been significantly compromised. Read more at PsychCentral

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Changes to the DSM Disorder Categories

The American Psychiatric Association has released the proposed changes to the official listing of disorders and their criteria for diagnosis to be published in the upcoming 5th Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Changes that may affect young children include:

  • elimination of a separate diagnosis of Rett’s Disorder
  • elimination of a separate diagnoses for Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, Asperger’s Disorder, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified to be included under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • addition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Preschool Children
  • propose Temper Dysregulation Disorder with Disphoria as an alternative to pediatric bipolar disorder
  • addition of Learning Disabilities (that will now include the previous diagnoses of disorder of written expression and learning disorder not otherwise specified)
  • addition of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury
  • moving Pica, Rumination Disorder, and Feeding Disorder of Infancy or Early Childhood to the Eating Disorder category (no longer included in Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence)
  • moving Separation Anxiety Disorder to the Anxiety Disorder category (no longer included in Disorders Usually First Diagnosed in Infancy, Childhood, or Adolescence)

The draft of the disorders and disorder criteria that have been proposed by the DSM-5 Work Groups can be found online here. You can read about the proposed changes to the specific disorders, especially those that affect early childhood, by following links to each section. Please note that the proposed criteria listed are not final; they are initial drafts of the recommendations that have been made to date by the DSM-5 Work Groups. Comments will be welcomed until April 20, 2010.

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Lifestyle Related to Childhood Obesity

Researchers from Ohio State University and Temple University published findings that point to the cumulative effect of three specific lifestyle choices on childhood obesity: young children least likely to be obese ate dinner with their families six or seven times a week, slept for at least 10.5 hours each night and watched less than two hours of television per day.

Read more at Time.

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NEMS Opinion supports early childhood education

Chris Kieffer posted an opinion article supporting early childhood education efforts “to reach children during their most formative years [to] benefit the state economically and give more children the opportunity to succeed.”

Click here to link to this article.

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