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FAQ: Questions About Measles

May 13, 2019

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Am I protected from measles? Do I need a booster vaccine? How effective is the measles vaccine? And more answers to common questions about measles and the vaccine used to prevent it.

FAQ: Questions About Measles

May 13, 2019

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Am I protected from measles? Do I need a booster vaccine? How effective is the measles vaccine? And more answers to common questions about measles and the vaccine used to prevent it.

To Grow Up Healthy, Children Need to Sit Less and Play More

May 7, 2019

From the World Health Organization:

Children under five must spend less time sitting watching screens, or restrained in prams and seats, get better quality sleep and have more time for active play if they are to grow up healthy, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO).

"Achieving health for all means doing what is best for health right from the beginning of people's lives," says WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. "Early childhood is a period of rapid development and a time when family lifestyle patterns can be adapted to boost health gains."

The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age were developed by a WHO panel of experts. They assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.

"Improving physical activity, reducing sedentary time and ensuring quality sleep in young children will improve their physical, mental health and wellbeing, and help prevent childhood obesity and associated diseases later in life," says Dr Fiona Bull, programme manager for surveillance and population-based prevention of noncommunicable diseases, at WHO.

Failure to meet current physical activity recommendations is responsible for more than 5 million deaths globally each year across all age groups. Currently, over 23% of adults and 80% of adolescents are not sufficiently physically active. If healthy physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep habits are established early in life, this helps shape habits through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood.

"What we really need to do is bring back play for children," says Dr Juana Willumsen, WHO focal point for childhood obesity and physical activity. "This is about making the shift from sedentary time to playtime, while protecting sleep. "

The pattern of overall 24-hour activity is key: replacing prolonged restrained or sedentary screen time with more active play, while making sure young children get enough good-quality sleep. Quality sedentary time spent in interactive non-screen-based activities with a caregiver, such as reading, storytelling, singing and puzzles, is very important for child development.

The important interactions between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and adequate sleep time, and their impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing, were recognized by the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which called for clear guidance on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in young children.

Applying the recommendations in these guidelines during the first five years of life will contribute to children's motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.

To find out more, click here.

How to Help Your Daughter Have a Healthy Body Image

May 7, 2019

From The Child Mind Institute:

Girls coming of age in the 21st century have more opportunities than any of the generations that preceded them. But they also face an array of pressures that are unprecedented. Girls are expected to become corporate executives and brain surgeons and Supreme Court justices, but they're also expected to be beautiful and sexy -- more so than ever before.

Which is why raising healthy, happy daughters has become more challenging, not less.

As parents, we know that nurturing a positive body image is crucial to helping our daughters become healthy, well-rounded adults. But our society seems to be fixated, more than ever, on youth and beauty. And beauty is, more than ever, defined as small. Or, to be more precise, small-plus-hot -- so that even someone who's stunningly thin can feel insecure if she's not also well endowed where it counts.

I'm not so much talking about girls who develop eating disorders, which involve a seriously distorted body image. I'm talking about a much larger group of girls who feel they can't be happy and accepted because, while they may have straight A's in school or terrific talents, they don't think they have the bodies they're "supposed to" have. Unfortunately, what they feel they are "supposed to" have is an ideal they see in magazines and on television that isn't attainable by 90% of women.

Of course there are some girls who -- because they're genetically endowed or because they're starving themselves -- do achieve this super-thin-plus-super-sexy body. But for most of our daughters it's not a realistic or desirable goal.

Girls can come to see themselves as a collection of body parts--breasts, lips, legs, thighs, butt--which they judge harshly. And, of course, none of it relates to anything about who they are on the inside and what they do.

So what is a healthy body image, and how can we nurture one in our daughters?

What we want for them is part realism -- a reasonable vision of what's an attractive and healthy body. And it's part perspective -- a sense that what they look like is just one aspect, and not an overwhelmingly important one, of who they are and what they have to offer as people.

To put it simply: They need to feel okay about how they look, and not let their looks dominate their sense of self-worth.

How do we get there? It doesn't work to try to pretend the pressure to be model-thin and drop-dead gorgeous doesn't exist, or lecture them on how appearance has nothing to do with who they are. They'll just conclude that you're completely out of touch. So what to do?

To read more, click here.