Helping Strangers May Help Teens' Self-Esteem

At the start of the new year, parents may encourage their teens to detox from social media, increase exercise, or begin a volunteer project. While kids may bristle at the thought of posting fewer selfies, surveys indicate 55 percent of adolescents enjoy volunteering. And according to a recent study, when it comes to helping others, teens may benefit psychologically from spending time helping strangers.

The study, published in December in the Journal of Adolescence, suggests that altruistic behaviors, including large and small acts of kindness, may raise teens' feelings of self-worth. However, not all helping behaviors are the same. The researchers found that adolescents who assisted strangers reported higher self-esteem one year later.

"Surprisingly, teens who helped friends and family members did not report the same emotional change," says Dr. Laura Padilla-Walker, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University and one of the study's researchers.

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Doctor's Orders: Bundle up! Tips to keep your child warm

Baby, it’s cold outside! That means it’s the time of year to pay extra attention to keeping your babies warm. Even though snow may be a rare sight in sunny Central Texas, dressing your kids in warm clothes before they play outside is still important to prevent hypothermia. These tips also apply if you plan to take a family vacation to somewhere a little chillier than Temple.

Dressing your child in several thin layers will keep them warmer and drier when they’re playing outside. So, go ahead bend those fashion rules and wear the Paw Patrol long-sleeve shirt with the Ninja Turtles sweatshirt and the puffy blue coat. Your child is adorable and can pull it off! A good rule of thumb for grownups is that kids should be wearing one more layer of clothes than their parents to stay warm in the same weather. A bonus is that multiple thin layers are more comfortable and safer than a bulky snowsuits when riding in a car seat. In car seats, layers should be snug, not bulky. Plus, don’t forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat.

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Hospitals, Doctors Brace For Loss Of Children's Health Funds

Providers of medical care are once again bracing for the loss of federal funding under the Children’s Health Insurance Program with the Republican-led Congress still unable to come up with a plan to fund it beyond March of this year.

new report last week indicates more than 20 states face CHIP funding shortfalls if Congress doesn’t act this month. And that’s beginning to worry hospitals and doctors who see a loss of 9 million children from low-income families who gain coverage from CHIP.

“If Congress fails to approve long-term funding for CHIP in January, nearly 1.7 million children in separate CHIP programs in 21 states with shortfalls in March 2018 could lose coverage by the end of February 2018,” Georgetown University Center for Children and Families researchers wrote in a new update on CHIP.

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'I Don’t Know Why They’ve Waited.' Families Stress Over Delay in Children's Health Funding

Lauren Cooper first started to notice something was awry with her daughter Molly when she was seven months old, in 2003, and was unable to bear any weight on her legs. Alarmed, she and her husband Kevin Allen took her to a slew of doctors and neurologists, but a diagnosis evaded them. Finally, Cooper found something on the internet called Rett Syndrome, a rare neurological disorder found mainly in girls with symptoms that matched her daughters’. Molly not only tested positive for the syndrome, which affects language, breathing, coordination, and can produce seizures, but had one of the more severe mutations.

“I had a pretty good idea of what was going to be in the future for us,” Lauren Cooper recalled in an interview with TIME. “At thirteen months, I knew that she was gonna need ever-expanding care.”

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Parents agonize over their kids' health as funding for children's insurance program remains in doubt

It was an anxious Christmas and New Year’s for the Belt family.

Tracy and B.J. Belt for years have lived paycheck to paycheck, as B.J.’s truck-driving job at a quarry in the hills around Morgantown hasn’t left much for luxuries.

But this holiday season, the Belts had a new worry. Their two boys, Bobby and Dylan, may soon be uninsured, leaving 11-year-old Bobby without the costly medicine and blood monitors he needs to control his Type 1 diabetes.

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What if CHIP Funds Run Out? Here’s What 6 Families Would Do

The Children’s Health Insurance Program, better known as CHIP, covers nearly nine million children whose parents earn too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford other coverage. But the program, which ran out of funding in September, is at a crisis point. Congress passed a stopgap spending bill late last month that was expected to keep CHIP running through March, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said some states could run out of money as early as next week. We asked readers to tell us how they would be affected if their children lost CHIP coverage. Their stories have been condensed and edited for clarity.

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2 Million Kids Could Lose Their Health Insurance By January — and Mine Could Be One of Them

In early October, Congress let funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) lapse when it failed to pass a budget resolution, leaving families and states wondering what will happen to the 9 million children who rely on CHIP for health insurance. While states do have reserve funding for precisely this kind of situation, at least six states are running dangerously low on money. Colorado has sent out letters to CHIP recipients urging them to look for different sources of health insurance, and Arizona, California, Minnesota, Oregon, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., have all said they'll run out of money by early January.

If Congress doesn't act fast, an estimated 2 million children will lose their health insurance by the end of January, with an additional 1 million losing coverage by the end of February. (In an attempt to prevent a government shutdown, the House did vote early last Thursday morning on a continuing resolution that would include a temporary $3 billion to keep the program running through at least March.)

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Do Parents Make Kids Fat?

As parents, do we determine our children’s eating habits? There’s a lot of blame when it comes to childhood obesity, eating disorders and body image problems, but how much do we actually know about what works to help children eat and grow in a healthy way?

Back in November, I wrote about the issue of fat stigma, and the bad things that can happen to children’s health and well-being when they are shamed or bullied about being overweight. I referenced a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics that called on pediatricians, in particular, to be careful about using harsh, stigmatizing or judgmental language with our patients around this sensitive issue.

Many of the people who commented on the article wrote about the pain of being bullied or criticized as children — or in some cases, the pain of seeing a child bullied — for being overweight. However, many readers also scorned “overweight parents feeding garbage ‘foods’ … to their overweight children,” as one reader put it. “Wake up parents,” said another, “Your kids don’t HAVE to snack all the time. You are ruining their future health and self esteem.”

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Investors want Apple to do more to fight kids' smartphone addiction

Apple should do more to curb growing smartphone addiction among children, two major investors in the iPhone maker said Monday.

In an open letter to the technology giant, New York-based Jana Partners LLC and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, highlighted increasing concern about the effects of gadgets and social media on youngsters.

"There is a developing consensus around the world including Silicon Valley that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies need to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility,” the letter said.

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CHIP Funding Could Run Out On Jan. 19 For Some States

Some states are facing a mid-January loss of funding for their Children's Health Insurance Program despite spending approved by Congress in late December that was expected to keep the program running for three months, federal health officials said Friday.

The $2.85 billion was supposed to fund states' CHIP programs through March 31. But some states will start running out of money after Jan. 19, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS did not say which states are likely to be affected first.

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