Early Bedtime for Preschoolers

A new study suggests that putting preschoolers to bed early may help prevent the risk for adolescent obesity. The risk for adolescent obesity was cut in half when children went to bed before 8:00 PM compared to those who stayed up past 9:00 PM. It is estimated that 25% of U.S. preschoolers go to bed…

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Teen Alcohol Use

Adolescents aged 12-20 living in rural Pennsylvania completed alcohol use assessments. The DSM-5 criteria for alcohol use disorder were met by 1.9% of 12-14 year-olds, and 10% of those 15-20 years old. Study authors recommend physicians screen adolescents about their frequency of alcohol use due to the high prevalence of alcohol-related harm among teens. PositiveTip:…

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Teenage Drinking Shrinks Gray Matter

Heavy drinking of alcohol during adolescence appears to lead to the exaggerated loss of gray matter and an increase in white matter compared to non-drinking peers. The study subjects tended to drink in binges on weekends or at parties. At baseline average GPA was 3.5 (of 4), but the drinkers average dropped during the study to 3.2,…

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Family Meals May Reduce Obesity

Researchers followed 2,117 teens over 10 years and compared teen obesity outcomes in families that ate 0, 1-2, 3-4 or 5+ meals together each week. Compared to kids who never ate family meals, ANY number of family meals helped reduce risk of obesity, even 1 day a week. Researchers suggest that family meals provide opportunities…

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Screentime at Bedtime Robs Kids of Sleep

The National Sleep Foundation's 2014 survey found that almost 72% of children go to bed with an electronic device. The light from these devices disrupts the natural sleep patterns, causing children to sleep 1 hour less on average. Insufficient sleep can adversely affect children's school performance, decision making and overall behavior. PositiveTip: Parents should set…

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Teen Exercise May Improve Brain Efficiency

A new study examining 24 students aged 9 and 10 found that physically fit teens had better developed white matter than less fit teens. White matter connects different brain regions. Researchers monitored white matter connecting attention and memory brain regions and hypothesize that “children with higher fitness levels may have faster neural conduction between brain…

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Sleep and Weight Gain in Teens

Teens are 20% more likely to be obese at 21 if they get less than 6 hours of sleep per night rather than 8+ hours of sleep. Using data for 10,000 teens over 6 years, researchers found 1 in 5 teens were sleep-deprived. The link between sleep and obesity may be attributed to resulting inactivity…

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Exercise Reduces Depression Risk in Teens

There’s new evidence for exercise’s preventative role in teen mental health. Researchers surveyed 457 sixth- graders for depressive symptoms, BMI and tested their fitness. They found that girls who were in better shape were less likely to be depressed in grade seven. The effect was observed in boys but was not statistically significant. Positive Tip:…

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School Sports Improve Teens Mental Health

Canadian researchers tracked the school sport participation and mental health of 853 students from grades 8-12. They found that after 5 years, those who were involved in teams sports at school had less depressive symptoms, lower perceived stress and a more positive self-image. Specific causes aren't clear, but researchers hypothesize it may be related to…

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Breakfast Habits May Predict Risk of Cardiovascular Disorders

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…

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