Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 6:41 am
For most of us, measles and whooping cough are diseases of the past. You get a few shots as a kid and then hardly think about them again.
But that's not the case in all parts of the world — not even parts of the U.S.
As an interactive map from the Council on Foreign Relations illustrates, several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. Their resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.
Moms-to-be are often reminded that they're eating for two. It's tempting to take this as an excuse to go for that extra scoop of the ice cream. (Believe me, I've been there.)
But a solid body of research suggests that expectant mothers should be walking away with the opposite message: Pregnancy should be a time to double-down on healthful eating if you want to avoid setting up your unborn child for a lifetime of wrestling with obesity.
The middle-age woman spoke tentatively as she reached for words to express her meaning. She was raised in the south, the great-grandchild of slaves. “When I was growing up,” she said, “We were taught that children are to be seen and not heard. I wanted to be a good girl, so I spoke very little until I went to school. There, I struggled to keep up with other children whose language skills were light years beyond my own.”
When Melissa Shenewa and her husband imagined their first weeks with their new baby, they pictured hours of cuddling. Instead, they're enduring hours of inconsolable crying.
Their 6-week-old son, Aladdin, is a colicky baby. He cries for hours, usually in the middle of the night. They've tried everything they could think of. Nothing helps.
"Being a parent when your child is screaming in pain for hours on end and there's nothing you can do, you feel helpless," says Shenewa, 24, who lives in Houston. "You feel like you're not a good parent."
American kids have a problem with obesity, according to the most recent studies. In fact, the closest thing we have to good news about childhood obesity is that kids are not gaining weight as rapidly as they were some years ago.
Researchers may have identified one surprising new factor in why kids are overeating.
Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.
But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.
I love words. A well-turned phrase gives me goose bumps. Words play a significant role in my life. But sometimes in the life of a family, words are nearly worthless.
When your daughter runs downhill too fast (despite your repeated warnings) and breaks out her front teeth in a spectacular face plant, she doesn’t need to hear you say that this was what you’d feared all along.
When your son has to retake a class because he failed to complete the assignments you’d badgered him about, nothing you say can make the lesson clearer than this most painful consequence.
In a $16 billion deal this week, Japanese beverage giant Suntory announced it plans to purchase Beam Inc., the maker of Jim Beam bourbon and the owner of other popular bourbon brands like Maker's Mark.
Those and most other bourbons are made in Kentucky, and the deal has some hoping the drink's growth in the global market won't come at the expense of its uniquely Kentucky heritage.
Schools that do random drug testing say it helps students say no to illegal drugs, while critics say it's an invasion of privacy. But feeling good about school may affect students' drug use more than the threat of testing.
A survey of high school students found that the possibility that they might face drug testing didn't really discourage students from alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. But students who thought their school had a positive environment were less apt to try cigarettes and pot.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms and dads in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice. Today, we're talking about something you might have talked about yourself with other parents or friends if you've seen this video.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:33 pm
Death seems one of life's few certainties, but the cases of a girl and a young woman who are being kept on life support even though they are legally dead show how difficult it still can be to agree on the end of life.
If you think buying health insurance under the Affordable Care Act has been complicated, just wait. Buying dental coverage on the health exchanges, it turns out, is even more confusing.
Dental coverage for children is one of the benefits that must be offered under the law. But, it turns out, a loophole in the law means that — in most states — families don't actually have to buy that coverage.
These rules are so confusing that they even tripped me up.
Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:38 am
Frostbite isn't usually a major worry here in Washington, D.C., but with wind chills below zero forecast for half of the Lower 48 by Tuesday morning, millions of people from the Plains to the East Coast will have to start thinking like Arctic explorers while waiting for a school bus or heading to work.
Noses, fingers, toes and ears face the biggest risk. Those body parts have less blood flowing through them and a lot less mass than the body's core. They're also more likely to be exposed to the elements. Obviously, bundling up those tender parts is key.
After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.
Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.
In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.
After the holiday hustle and bustle, an empty datebook can seem anticlimactic. But in my estimation, those empty calendar pages feel like a benediction to the frenetic season just past.
Children are pushed through holiday observances on the crest of their families’ schedules and their own adrenaline. But as those special times wind down, regular life once again takes center stage. And for most of the little children I know, regular life is a pretty big deal.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but maybe you just need a few moms and dads in your corner. Every week, we check in with a diverse group of parents for their common sense and savvy advice. Today, for our last parenting roundtable of the year, we decided to look back at 2013 in parenting, and we ask some of our regular contributors and you to share some of your best and worst parenting moments of the year.
Originally published on Mon December 30, 2013 4:09 pm
Many doctors aren't asking teenagers about sex or sexuality, and those who do are spending just 36 seconds on the topic, on average. That's not much time to get into sexually transmitted diseases or birth control, let alone sexual orientation, dating or other big topics.
And teenagers are so bashful when it comes to asking questions about sex and health that they won't bring it up if the doctor doesn't, researchers say.
In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families — some poor, some middle class, some rich — during the first three years of their new children's lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families' homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household.
Stars glittered in the mother’s eyes as she described her family’s recent drive west through the Rockies. They stood in wonder at the foot of beautiful waterfalls. They marveled at the girth and height of some enormous trees. They thrilled at their quick glances of shy moose and elk.
Mom and Dad are convinced they’ll never forget this experience, but they have a concern. The youngest member of this journeying family is only three. How will she ever remember the experience?
Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 10:15 am
Who doesn't love a Danish pastry?
And in Denmark, they like their pastries sprinkled with plenty of cinnamon.
But now, Denmark's bakers are being told that their time-honored recipe for the beloved kanelsnegle — or cinnamon swirl — may be unhealthy and against the law. Recent testing by the Danish government found that a large number of the rolls had too much cinnamon — more than the recommended limits set by the European Union.
For Matthew and Brianne Wojtesta, it all started about a week after the birth of their daughter Vera. Matthew was picking up his son from kindergarten when he got a phone call.
It was their pediatrician, with some shocking news. Vera had been flagged by New York's newborn screening program as possibly having a potentially deadly disease, and would need to go see a neurologist the next day.
The middle-aged woman’s excitement was palpable as she described the lovely gifts she had just purchased.
Her two grandchildren would be in her home at some point for the holidays, and she’s planned to recreate every holiday tradition her family’s ever enjoyed. She’ll bake each cookie recipe in her family cookbook. She’s arranged a visit from a friend who owns a Santa suit.
And the gifts! She’s bought every toy these children might possibly desire, and looks forward to showering them with her love on December 22.