Let's Talk Kids

Goats and Soda
3:07 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Taliban In Pakistan Derail World Polio Eradication

A health worker gives a child the polio vaccine in Bannu, Pakistan, June 25. More than a quarter-million children in Taliban-controlled areas are likely to miss their immunizations.
A. Majeed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 30, 2014 9:46 am

Last January Salma Jaffar was shot while she was going door to door in Karachi, giving children drops of the polio vaccine.

"Even when they took out the pistol, I couldn't understand why he was taking out the gun," Jaffar says of the two men who pulled up on a motorcycle and started shooting at the vaccination team.

"But when he opened fire, that is when I thought it was the end of the life," she says. "My first thought was that I won't be able to see my children again."

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Goats and Soda
8:20 am
Mon July 28, 2014

How Protecting Wildlife Helps Stop Child Labor And Slavery

A child grabs sleep after a long day of labor in a struggling West African fishery.
Courtesy of Jessica Pociask, WANT Expeditions

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 4:45 pm

When scientists talk about the destruction of rain forests or the acidification of oceans, we often hear about the tragic loss of plants and animals.

But ecologists at the University of California, Berkeley say there's also a human tragedy that frequently goes unnoticed: As fish and fauna are wiped out, more children around the world are forced to work, and more people are forced into indentured servitude, scientists wrote Thursday in the journal Science.

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Goats and Soda
4:51 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

UNICEF Report On Female Genital Mutilation Holds Hope And Woe

For 15 years, Amran Mahamood made a living circumcising young girls in Hargeysa, Somalia. Four years ago, she gave it up after a religious leader convinced her that Islamic law did not require it.
Nichole Sobecki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 9:00 am

Women and girls are less likely to undergo female genital mutilation, or FGM, than 30 years ago. That's the encouraging news from a UNICEF report on the controversial practice, presented this week at London's first Girl Summit.

The rate has dropped in many of the 29 countries across Africa and the Middle East where FGM is practiced. In Kenya, for example, nearly half the girls age 15 to 19 were circumcised in 1980; in 2010 the rate was just under 20 percent.

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Shots - Health News
3:03 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Teens Still Lag In Getting Vaccinated Against HPV

Dr. Donald Brown inoculated Kelly Kent with the HPV vaccine in his Chicago office in the summer of 2006 — not long after the first version of the vaccine reached the market.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 9:48 am

Though the vaccine against human papilloma virus is highly effective in preventing certain forms of cancer, the number of preteens getting the vaccine is still dismally low, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

"One of the top five reasons parents listed is that it hadn't been recommended to them by a doctor or nurse," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters at a press briefing.

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U.S.
5:13 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Amid Wave Of Child Immigrants, Reports Of Abuse By Border Patrol

Thousands of young immigrants, many of them from Central America, have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:21 pm

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

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The Salt
4:14 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Summer Program For Hungry Kids Gets Creative With Food Delivery

Logan Kovach, 6, Matthew Kovach, 2, and Allyson Kovach, 5, eat a lunch distributed by the YMCA in Hopkins County, Kentucky.
Pam Fessler NPR

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 3:49 pm

More than 21 million children get free or reduced priced meals during the school year. But in the summer, that number drops to only three million.

The big question is what happens to all the other children. Do they get enough, and the right food, to eat?

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Shots - Health News
6:29 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Many Kids Who Are Obese Or Overweight Don't Know It

Fun hikes offer health benefits for kids of every shape and size.
Annette Birkenfeld annedde/iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 10:07 am

Kids can be cruel, especially about weight. So you might think overweight or obese children know all too well that they're heavy — thanks to playground politics. But that's not necessarily so, according to government data covering about 6,100 kids and teens ages 8-15.

About 30 percent "misperceived" their weight status (underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese), according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. (The CDC bases those categories on body mass index, adjusted for gender and age.)

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Shots - Health News
2:19 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

As High School Lacrosse Surges In Popularity, So Does Injury Focus

Walt Whitman High School's Caroline Schweitzer runs through a host of Severna Park High School defenders during a semifinal game in Maryland's Class 4A/3A lacrosse tournament in May.
Toni L. Sandys The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:02 pm

Sometimes called the fastest game on two feet, lacrosse is also one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S.

Between 2008 and 2012, kids' participation in lacrosse climbed 158 percent to a little more than three-quarters of a million, according to a survey conducted by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association/Physical Activity Council. At the same time participation in baseball, basketball, football and soccer has either stagnated or declined.

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Parenting
11:07 am
Tue July 22, 2014

When It Comes To Other People's Kids, Should Parents Intervene?

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 1:03 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
4:25 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Teens Say Looks Can Be Liberating Despite Fashion Police

Youth Radio

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 10:36 am

At Oakland Tech, like high schools all over, passing period is a time for passing judgments.

Aaliyah Douglass, a 17-year-old, gives me a taste of how harsh critiques can be at the school in Oakland, Calif. She starts by evaluating a male classmate who walks by wearing shorts, a T-shirt and Vans.

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Shots - Health News
3:43 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

High-Performing Charter Schools May Improve Students' Health

Researchers are just starting to look at how school choice affects health.
romester/iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 3:47 pm

Many people are intensely interested in how publicly funded charter schools affect children, and that includes not just their academic achievement but their health.

Researchers from UCLA and the Rand Corp. wanted to know whether attending a high-performing charter school reduced the rates of risky health behaviors among low-income minority teenagers.

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Goats and Soda
11:38 am
Mon July 21, 2014

Straightening Sisay's Spine: A Twist Of Fate Saves A Boy's Life

Andrew Dickinson Andrew Dickinson for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 1:24 pm

One dewy morning back in May 2013, a dozen children gathered in an elementary school courtyard to play soccer in Addis Ababa. Seven-year-old Sisay Gudeta stood alone on the balcony above them.

Sisay poked his head through the arms of a rusty, blue guard rail, staring down at his classmates as they kicked an empty plastic bottle across the pavement. The kids rarely ask him to play, Sisay says. They are afraid to touch him, afraid of the bump on his back that stretches out his neatly pressed school sweater.

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The Salt
5:31 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

White House Fetes 54 Kids With Serious Cooking Chops

Cody Vasquez, 11, is from Arizona. His winning dish was shrimp tacos with watermelon jicama salad.
Jeff Elkins for Epicurious

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 2:20 am

It's not easy to snag an invite to a White House State Dinner.

So, imagine how 54 children — one from each state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia — felt being honored in the elegant East Room by the President and first lady at an event Friday afternoon billed as a Kids State Dinner.

The pee-wee honorees were the winners of the Healthy Lunchtime Challenge, a nationwide recipe contest for kids tied to the first lady's Let's Move Campaign. The event was co-sponsored by the food site Epicurious.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Want More Stress In Your Life? Try Parenting A Teenager

Amy Myers talks with her son Kamron, 18, in the backyard of their home in Boise, Idaho. She has found raising a teenager to be extremely stressful.
Kyle Green for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 9:32 am

If anyone can handle the stress of parenting in the teen years, you'd think it would be a high school teacher.

That's how Amy Myers felt. She teaches high school English in a suburb of Boise, Idaho, where she says she has "pseudo parented" about 3,000 teenagers "who I have talked to, given advice to, guided, directed, even lectured about teenage issues," she says.

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Shots - Health News
4:08 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

What's Going On In There? How Babies' Brains Practice Speech

The magnetoencephalograph can record electrical signals from a baby's brain without requiring the child to be perfectly still.
University of Washington

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 7:08 am

A baby's first words may seem spur of the moment, but really, the little ones have practiced their "Mamas" and "Dadas" for months in their minds.

Using what looks like a hair dryer from Mars, researchers from the University of Washington have taken the most precise peeks yet into the fireworks display of neural activity that occurs when infants listen to people speak.

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Parenting
11:20 am
Tue July 15, 2014

With Elder Care Planning, Start Early To Avoid Conflicts And Crises

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

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Shots - Health News
1:11 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Why A Spoonful Of Medicine Can Be A Big Safety Risk For Kids

Ordinary spoons vary widely in size and shape. Confusing regular spoons for accurate measurements of teaspoons and tablespoons can lead to accidental overdoses.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 4:15 pm

We've all done it. The bottle of Pepto-Bismol says to take two tablespoons, so you grab the nearest spoon from the silverware drawer and drink down two of those. It's probably pretty close, right?

Maybe not. With all the different sizes and shapes of spoons out there — soup spoons, dessert spoons, grapefruit spoons and coffee spoons, to name just a few — who knows if the spoon you chose is actually close to a tablespoon.

And when it comes to children, that lack of precision can be dangerous.

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NPR Ed
7:18 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Teaching 4-Year-Olds To Feel Better

Originally published on Mon July 14, 2014 8:35 pm

You're 4 years old, building a block tower. Another kid runs up and knocks it down. What do you do? A) Tell her that's against the rules. B) Go tell a teacher. C) Hit her. D) Start to cry. E) What did you say again?

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Shots - Health News
3:29 am
Mon July 14, 2014

To Make Children Healthier, A Doctor Prescribes A Trip To The Park

Zarr with Kellsi Aguilar and her father, Felipe, in Zarr's Washington, D.C., office.
Sam Sanders/NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 12:08 pm

When Dr. Robert Zarr wanted a young patient to get more exercise, he gave her an unusual prescription: Get off the bus to school earlier.

"She has to take a bus to the train, then a train to another bus, then that bus to her school," says Zarr, a pediatrician at Unity Health Care, a clinic that serves low-income and uninsured families in Washington, D.C. So the prescription read: "Walk the remaining four blocks on the second bus on your route to school from home, every day."

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Shots - Health News
7:40 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Mississippi Child Thought Cured Of HIV Shows Signs Of Infection

Human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 inserts its genetic material into the DNA of human cells, turning them into little HIV factories.
Eye of Science Science Source

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:21 am

A baby who generated great excitement last year because it appeared she had been cured of HIV is infected with the virus after all, health officials say.

This discovery is a setback for the child known as the "Mississippi baby." It also complicates efforts to test what had seemed like a promising new treatment for infants born with HIV.

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Shots - Health News
3:32 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Doctors Face Ethical Issues In Benching Kids With Concussions

If parents won't bench a child after a concussion, is it OK for the doctor to tell the coach?
iStockphoto

Doctors have gotten much better at diagnosing and treating sports-related concussions, which is a good thing since Americans suffer up to 4 million sports-related concussions a year.

But we're not so good at is following their advice.

Student athletes and parents sometimes balk at doctors' recommendations to avoid play until concussion symptoms are gone, or to cut back on schoolwork. Both have been shown to speed recovery, and getting another hit on a vulnerable brain increases the risk of long-term problems.

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Shots - Health News
12:55 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Why We Published A Photo Of A 16-Year-Old In A Diaper

James Lee often has to pick up his 100-pound son, Justin. Photographer Andrew Nixon shot this photo in an effort to show how being caregivers affects the aging parents.
Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 9:25 am

The series on family caregivers that NPR ran over the Fourth of July weekend sparked an extraordinary response, with tens of thousands of comments and likes on Facebook and NPR.org.

Many people responded to the intimate photographs of families caring for sick or disabled parents, siblings and children.

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Shots - Health News
8:46 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Math Nerd Or Bookworm? Many Of The Same Genes Shape Both Abilities

A study of twins shows why being a good reader and a good math student may go hand in hand.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 12:23 pm

Many of us tend to align ourselves with either numbers or words. We're either math brains or we're reading brains.

In college, my fellow English majors joked about how none of us could long-divide to save our lives, while our friends in engineering groaned about the fact that Lit 101 was a graduation requirement.

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Shots - Health News
2:27 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Bingeing On Bad News Can Fuel Daily Stress

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:34 pm

If you're feeling stressed these days, the news media may be partly to blame.

At least that's the suggestion of a national survey conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Shots - Health News
3:10 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

HPV Vaccine Doesn't Raise Risk Of Blood Clots, Study Finds

The vaccine for human papillomavirus has been controversial from the get-go, partly because it protects against a virus that causes cervical cancer and is spread by sexual activity.

The vaccine's safety has also been contested, with media celebrities like Katie Couric publicizing rare reports of people who became ill or died after receiving the vaccine, even though there was no evidence that the vaccine caused the problems.

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Parenting
12:01 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Why Aren't Men Asked If They Can 'Have It All'?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Men In America
4:47 pm
Mon July 7, 2014

Teen Tries To Be The Parent His Own Dad Never Was

Marvin Ramos, now 18, was overwhelmed when his daughter, Hailey, was born. But now he says he's determined to be the best father he can be. "I haven't run away," he says, "and I never want to."
Marvin Ramos Courtesy of WNYC

Originally published on Mon July 7, 2014 7:40 pm

This story is part of All Things Considered's "Men in America" series.

Marvin Ramos found out he was going to be a father when his girlfriend, Stephanie, called him during a basketball game. He says he sat down on a bench and looked up at the sky. He was 16. Stephanie was 19.

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Shots - Health News
4:14 pm
Sat July 5, 2014

Faith Strengthens Aging Parents As They Care For Their Son

James Lee carries his son, Justin, to the shower. Justin's parents have a lift to help move him around the house, but their nearly 100-pound son, who has cerebral palsy, often needs to be picked up.
Andrew Nixon/Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 1:37 pm

A good night's sleep is rare for Judy and James Lee. They are on parenting duty 24/7 for their son, Justin.

Justin, who has cerebral palsy and was born missing parts of his brain, also has a seizure disorder, which has gotten worse lately. He's often silent during his seizures, which means he has to sleep with his parents so they can tell when he needs help. Judy says caring for Justin is a lot like taking care of a newborn.

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Let's Talk Kids
8:00 am
Thu July 3, 2014

Kids and Water

In the months before we’re born, we swim peacefully in our amniotic sac. Born to be aquaphiles, we gravitate to water for all of our time on this planet (which happens to also be about 75% water.)

Infants sleep better after baths which seem to drain tension away from their tiny bodies.  Toddlers and preschoolers delight in their baths, using them as opportunities for physics experiments. Teenagers drain their families’ hot water tanks with marathon showers, which are about much more than getting clean.  And adults soak away their day’s troubles in a hot bath.

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Shots - Health News
4:06 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

Can We Predict Which Teens Are Likely To Binge Drink? Maybe

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 5:07 pm

More than half of 16-year-olds in the United States have tried alcohol. While many of them learn to drink responsibly, some go on to binge on alcohol, putting themselves at risk for trouble as adults. Researchers still aren't sure why that is.

But it may be possible to predict with about 70 percent accuracy which teens will become binge drinkers, based on their genetics, brain function, personality traits and history, according to a study published Wednesday in Nature.

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