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Energy Drink Use and Risk of Alcohol Abuse in Youth

Youth who recently consumed energy drinks are at higher risk for binge drinking.

Consuming energy drinks within the past 7 days significantly increased the risk of youth who have ever used alcohol to mix energy drinks and alcohol (27% vs. 7%). In the same national survey, youth 15 to 17 years old who had consumed energy drinks in the past 7 days were more than 2 times as likely (34% vs. 15%) to binge drink (consume 6 or more drinks in a row).

PositiveTip: Avoiding all energy drinks is best policy for youth (and adults)!

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Breakfast Habits May Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders

Youth who eat a poor breakfast are at higher risk for metabolic syndrome in adulthood.

A new study from Sweden adds more evidence to the importance of a healthy breakfast. Researchers surveyed 889 adolescents's breakfast habits and then checked their health 27 years later. They found that youth who missed breakfast or ate a nutritionally deficient breakfast were 68% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than students who ate a hearty, healthy breakfast.

PositiveTip: Eat a healthy breakfast every day and you may prevent cardiovascular health risks later.

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Gallstones More Common in Heavy Kids

Moderately obese kids have 4 times the risk of gallstones.

A large cross-sectional study of more than 500,000 youth has found that those who are overweight or obese--especially girls--have more than 4 times the risk of gallbladder disease. Girls taking oral contraceptives had twice the risk. This association increased significantly as weight increased from moderately overweight to moderately or extremely obese. This correlation is likely the result of the bile becoming supersaturated with cholesterol, thus forming gallstones.

PositiveTip: Do everything you can to encourage youth to maintain a healthy weight through wise, balanced choices.

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Age of First Alcohol Use Leads to More Problems Later

Drinking and getting drunk at an early age associated with big problems when college seniors.

A longitudinal study of incoming college freshmen revealed a startling association between younger drinking age and heavy drinking. The earlier in life the students started drinking, the more problems they had in school and work, blackouts, vomiting and other problems by their senior year (P<0.001). The younger the onset of drinking the higher the risk of alcohol-related problems later, including binge drinking.

PositiveTip: Avoid alcohol at any age to prevent the negative impact of drinking.

Early Drinking Influences Alcohol Addiction in Adulthood

It is fairly common to hear parents talk about the need to teach their children how to drink responsibly.  Apparently, many people assume that responsible use of alcohol at home will be projected to youth as they get older.

This is a dangerous assumption.

Recent research has focused on the connection between the age when a person first uses alcohol and their alcohol problems later in life. Delaying the onset of alcohol use has been proposed as a strategy to prevent alcohol dependence or abuse in adulthood.

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Don't Mix Alcohol and Energy Drinks

Mixing alcohol and energy drinks increases binge drinking, sexual indiscretion and drunk driving.

The common practice among youth and young adults of mixing energy drinks with alcoholic beverages increases the risk of binge drinking by 300 per cent. It also doubles the risk of being taken advantage of sexually, of taking sexual advantage of someone else, and doubles the likelihood of riding with a driver under the influence.

PositiveTip: Choose alternative non-alcoholic drinks over alcoholic and caffeinated beverages. They don’t carry these dangerous risks!



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Electronic Cigarettes: A Shocking Caution

Are e-cigarettes really safer than the real thing?

Electronic nicotine delivery devices (e-cigarettes) are a rapidly spreading fad in the USA and other countries. They pose special risks to children and adolescents. The devices are widely marketed on the internet as both safe and better for the environment. But FDA analysis points to the fact that even those labeled "nicotine free" actually deliver varying amounts of nicotine and diethylene glycol.

PositiveTip: Encourage your children to avoid e-cigarettes and resist the aggressive marketing schemes that target youth.

Sleep Habits Passed on to Next Generation

Child playing a video game with the screen lighting her face.Parents pass along many traits to their kids. One of these includes a child's sleep habits.

A report from the Kaiser Family Foundation says, ”Sleep is the subject of some confusion and considerable anxiety among parents of infants, but fades gradually to an afterthought among most parents of older children, who struggle to maintain busy schedules, enforce homework, and endorse healthy social lives. In the effort to balance these needs, children’s sleep often takes a back seat.”

The Kaiser Family Foundation web site, explains the issue:

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Do Your Kids Ride with Drinking Drivers?

More than 25% of American kids have ridden at least in the last 30 days with a drinking driver.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports from their national survey of risky behavior, that during the 30 days before the survey, 28.3% of students nationwide had ridden one or more times in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol.

PositiveTip: Talk to your kids about riding in a car with someone who has been drinking--and know who they will be with. It could be mean the difference between life and death.