September 25th, 2012
09:02 AM ET
Childhood obesity isn't just a health issue, according to a group of retired military leaders. It's also a national security issue.
One in four young adults are too overweight to join the U.S. military, a new report from the advocacy group Mission: Readiness says. And the U.S. Department of Defense spends an estimated $1 billion each year on medical care related to obesity issues for active duty members, their dependents and veterans.
"No other major country's military forces face the challenges of weight gain confronting America's armed forces," according to the report.
"At the end of the day, the reason America is safe and sound is not because of its tanks," adds retired Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, spokesman for Mission: Readiness. "It’s really the men and women who volunteer and so proudly serve."
Kids on average consume 130 "empty" calories a day from candy, cookies and chips, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Mission: Readiness has been working to get rid of junk food in schools since 2010, when it supported the passing of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. The act requires the USDA to update nutrition standards in schools.
Mission: Readiness believes having healthier food in the cafeteria and in vending machines will help slow - or even reverse - rising childhood obesity rates. And healthy children are more likely to grow up to be healthy adults who can serve their country.
"We’re not picking on the schools," Seip says. "The schools are part of the solution. We like to think that this obesity problem... is one that’s going to require all of America to tackle."
September 21st, 2012
12:05 AM ET
Exercise is important for kids; they need to get outside and move. But there's one form of exercise physicians say needs to be used with caution - the backyard trampoline.
An updated policy statement published in this week's edition of the journal Pediatrics, a publication of the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that although trampoline injury rates have steadily been decreasing over the past few years, 98,000 trampoline-related injuries still occurred in 2009, resulting in 3,100 hospitalizations.
Many parents still think these pieces of equipment are toys, researchers say, and they're not.
September 18th, 2012
03:24 PM ET
The chemical bisphenol-A, or BPA, has a long and controversial history.
Used to manufacture some plastics – like the kinds in soda or water bottles – and as an anti-corrosive in aluminum cans, BPA has been under fire for some time from consumer advocacy groups.
The FDA recently banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups after concerns were raised about potential side effects on the “brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children,” according to the FDA website.
Still, the organization has stood by the overall safety of the chemical; in March the FDA denied the Natural Resources Defense Council’s petition to ban BPA outright.
Now a new study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association is adding more fuel to the flames. The paper shows an association between BPA levels in children’s urine and obesity prevalence.
September 17th, 2012
12:05 AM ET
Children are eating as much salt as adults, according to a new report, and experts are concerned.
Most adults consume too much sodium and that can have serious health implications. Too much salt in a person's diet can raise your blood pressure; high blood pressure increases the risk for heart disease and stroke.
In this new study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers found that if a child is overweight and eats as much salt as an adult, the risk for high blood pressure goes up dramatically.
August 30th, 2012
02:46 PM ET
They are used to power everything from flashlights to remote controls. So called "button batteries," which are the size of coins (and sometimes smaller), have grown in popularity over the past few decades. Now, the Centers for Disease Control is warning parents to keep them away from children.
According to this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, approximately 40,400 children aged 12 and younger were treated in emergency rooms for battery-related injuries between 1997 and 2010
But here's the bigger concern: 14 children, all of them under the age of 4, died after swallowing batteries. Twelve of the 14 deaths involved button batteries. In most cases, the batteries got stuck in the esophagus. Experts say when that happens, or if the batteries make it down to the intestine, they can emit hydroxide which can cause chemical burns.
August 21st, 2012
10:15 AM ET
As the number of American parents increasingly leave their baby boys uncircumcised, HIV and other sexually transmitted disease rates are likely to climb, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University, and the costs associated with those diseases could reach into the billions.
"The medical benefits of male circumcision are quite clear," said Dr. Aaron Tobian, an assistant professor of pathology at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. "But while the medical evidence has been increasingly more positive, male circumcision rates in the U.S. have been decreasing."
Specifically, he says, circumcision rates had been fairly stable in the 1970s, at about 79%. By 1999, he says less than 63% of boys had the procedure, and by 2010, the rate had dropped to 55%.
August 17th, 2012
10:41 AM ET
Fewer teens aged 15 to 17 are having oral sex now than in 2002, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but the number remains high.
The report, based on data from The National Survey of Family Growth, found that more than a third of teens had engaged in oral sex by the time they turned 17. That number climbed to almost 50% by age 19, and more than 80% for 24-year-olds.
The study - based on computer surveys given to over 6,000 teens - also looked at the timing of first oral sex in relation to the timing of first vaginal intercourse. It found that the prevalence of having oral sex before vaginal intercourse was about the same as those having vaginal intercourse before oral sex.
August 13th, 2012
03:28 PM ET
Everyone snores, even children. But if your little ones snore often and loudly, doctors say they may face other problems, such as hyperactivity, inattention and depression.
Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center studied 249 children, surveying their mothers about their youngsters’ sleeping habits. The study found children who snored loudly at least twice a week at the ages of 2 and 3 had more behavioral problems than children who didn’t snore, or who snored at 2 or 3 but not at both ages.
"The strongest predictors of persistent snoring were lower socioeconomic status and the absence or shorter duration of breast-feeding," says Dr. Dean Beebe, director of the hospital's neuropsychology program. "This would suggest that doctors routinely screen for and track snoring, especially in children from poorer families, and refer loudly-snoring children for follow-up care.
"Failing to screen, or taking a 'wait and see' approach on snoring, could make preschool behavior problems worse," he says. "The findings also support the encouragement and facilitation of infant breast-feeding."
July 30th, 2012
12:19 PM ET
The father of Aimee Copeland says while it is far from easy, his daughter is making great strides as she undergoes physical therapy. The 24-year-old woman lost part of four limbs to a flesh-eating bacteria in May after a zip line accident over a river in western Georgia.
"During each of her physical therapy sessions, Aimee does 200 crunches in 7 minutes," writes Andy. "At this point, I have to pause and ask a simple question: How many of you can do 200 crunches in 7 minutes?"
July 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET
Teenagers are often characterized as over-emotional, prone to outbursts that confuse their parents and leave teachers reeling.
But a study published in the July issue of the journal Archives of General Psychiatry says 1 in 12 adolescents may in fact be suffering from a real and severe anger problem known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED).
Study author Katie McLaughlin, a clinical psychologist and psychiatric epidemiologist, says IED is one of the most widespread mental health disorders - and one of the least studied.
"There's a contrast between how common the disorder is and how much we know about it," she said.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.