Back-to-school health tips for your kids

Going back to school after a long summer off can provide a jarring change of routine for your kids, which in turn, can impact their health.

This week on KARE 11 Saturday Children's Minnesota Nurse Practitioner Hannah Kull stopped by to talk about healthy back-to-school habits, including keeping a balanced diet, getting enough physical activity, maintaining regular sleep patterns and handling anxiety.

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Nearly 50% of parents against later school start times, despite health and learning benefits

Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Yet University of Michigan research finds parents are split almost down the middle on whether they support delays in school start times that might permit their 13- to 17-year-olds to sleep later on school days.

The results come from a nationally representative survey through the U-M C.S. Mott Children's Hospital Poll on Children's Health. In it, 554 parents whose teens all start school before 8:30 a.m. shared opinions on how much sleep their children need and whether later school start times are a good idea. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, the journal of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

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Back-to-school worries for parents? 1 in 3 very concerned bullying, cyberbullying

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Parents may also experience some nerves as their children prepare to head back to school.

Bullying and cyberbullying top parents' list of worries when it comes to their children's health, according to a new report from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health at the University of Michigan. Close behind are internet safety and stress, motor vehicle accidents, and school violence.

But worries differed among racial groups, with African-American parents saying they were most concerned about racial inequities and school violence affecting their children.

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How Free Eyeglasses Are Boosting Test Scores in Baltimore

Three years ago, Johns Hopkins University researchers in Baltimore asked a seemingly simple straightforward question: Could the persistent gap in reading performance between poor students and wealthier ones be closed if they gave the poor students eyeglasses?

They knew that poorer students were less likely to have glasses than wealthier white children, but data were limited on whether simply helping children better focus on the page in front of them might improve their ability to master a skill essential for early learning. They screened several hundred second- and third-graders, gave two pairs of eyeglasses to the ones who needed them (about 60 percent of the group, based on a uniquely liberal prescribing standard) and then they tracked their school performance over the course of the year. The outcomes were notable enough even with the small sample size—reading proficiency improved significantly compared with the children who did not need eyeglasses—that the researchers in conjunction with private sector partners and the city of Baltimore decided to radically expand the study to the whole city to see if the results held.

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Most teens risk eye infections with nasty contact lens habits, CDC says

Most teenagers and young adults who wear contact lenses have at least one bad habit that raises their risk of a nasty eye infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

These bad habits include not removing their lenses before bedtime, wearing them in the swimming pool and skipping eye doctor visits, the CDC team found.

Germy contact lenses can cause serious eye infections, some of which can lead to blindness.

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Teen drug overdose death rate climbed 19% in one year

(CNN) The rate of teen drug overdose deaths in the United States climbed 19% from 2014 to 2015, from 3.1 deaths per 100,000 teens to 3.7 per 100,000, according to data released this week. The new numbers involve teens ages 15 to 19 and were released by the National Center for Health Statistics.

Most of the overdose deaths were unintentional and driven primarily by opioids, including both prescribed painkillers such as oxycodone and illicit drugs such as heroin and street fentanyl.
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Kids Could Start A Ceasefire In Health Care Wars

Following last month’s contentious congressional debate over repealing the Affordable Care Act, the next major battle in the health care wars may already be at our doorsteps. But does it have to be another partisan conflict? What if Congress and the nation could instead declare a ceasefire, return to normal order, and engage in a bipartisan effort to continue and extend health insurance coverage for low-income children?

This next health care fork in the road is the pending reauthorization of the State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP), which celebrated its 20th birthday earlier this month. Throughout its life, SCHIP has enjoyed extraordinary bipartisan support, with Senators Ted Kennedy and Orrin Hatch leading the charge for its initial passage. Created by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the program is a joint state-federal partnership that provides low-cost or even free health insurance to low-income children. It has been reauthorized three times since its inception, but funding is now set to expire on September 30, 2017—just about six weeks from now.

Today, 8.9 million children in the United States—including nearly 700,000 kids in New York State—have health insurance through SCHIP. Since the program was enacted, the number of uninsured children nationally has gone down by a whopping 68 percent.

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Less Sleep Tied to Diabetes Risk in Children

Children who sleep less may be at increased risk for Type 2 diabetes, researchers report.

Earlier studies found a link between shorter sleep and diabetes in adults, but the connection has been little studied in children.

British researchers studied 4,525 9- and 10-year olds from varying ethnic backgrounds. On average, their parents reported they slept 10 hours a night, with 95 percent sleeping between eight and 12 hours.

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Groups urge Congress to renew Children's Health Insurance Program

Lower income kids suddenly not having health coverage is a real possibility in just a few weeks.

Kids Forward in Wisconsin is among the groups warning against Congress delaying a vote on renewing the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

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Kids’ books that inspire healthy eating — without sounding like lessons

Like so many parents, I have depended upon children’s books to help teach my three kids important life lessons. “Hands are Not for Hitting” was a well-worn favorite of mine during those active toddler years with two boys just a year apart. An Elmo potty training book had a special seat in the bathroom for a few touch-and-go months. Then there was “How do Dinosaurs Go to Sleep?” which my husband and I repeatedly grasped for when the boys were too riled up at bedtime to stay under the covers. Thank goodness those dinosaurs knew how to “give a big kiss, turn out the light, tuck in their tails, and whisper ‘Good night.’ ”

Of course there are stacks of children’s books that tackle the subjects of healthy eating and nutrition. Lauren Child’s “I Will Never, Not Ever Eat a Tomato” was one of my children’s all-time favorites, not for the positive food messages, but rather because that Charlie-and-Lola sibling duo are downright winning. And let’s not forget Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham” — “Sam I Am” has helped generations of picky eaters ultimately try that first bite.

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