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Is your kid suddenly clamoring for a fast food meal or a sugary cereal you've never even heard of? He or she may have seen the product featured on a favorite "kid influencer" video.

In a new study, researchers viewed the top 50 kid influencer videos on YouTube and found that 9 out of 10 featured unhealthy foods. Nearly 1 in 3 promoted a fast-food chain.

But, what in the world is...

If Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), is repealed, pediatric cancer patients could lose critical insurance coverage, a new study warns.

Kids with cancer often require intensive treatment and long-term follow-up to beat the disease. The ACA allows them to stay on their parents' insurance coverage to age 26 and bans exclusion of patients with preexisting conditions.

...

Want to give your kids an immune system boost? Try letting them play in the dirt more often, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Finland found that when they brought nature into daycare playgrounds -- including forest soil and vegetation -- preschoolers' immune function showed a change for the better. In simple terms, it shifted to a less inflammatory state.

That immune sys...

Limiting TV ads for sugary, salty and high-fat foods and drinks might help reduce childhood obesity, British researchers suggest.

They looked at advertising of these products between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. If all such ads were withdrawn during those hours, the number of obese kids in the U.K. between the ages of 5 and 17 would drop by 5% and the number of overweight kids would fall...

The truly scary thing about Halloween this year is that it's occurring during a pandemic, but there are safe ways to celebrate, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says.

Suggestions include: virtual costume parties; physically distant, outdoor costume parades; Halloween-themed craft making; movie nights at home; decorating pumpkins; and making favorite treats.

"Many kid...

COVID-19 has led to widespread job loss in the United States. And now a new study reports that when unemployment rates rise, so do hospitalizations of children.

For the study, researchers analyzed 12 years of data (2002 to 2014) from 14 states. They found that for every 1% increase in unemployment, there was a 2% increase in child hospitalizations for all causes, among them d...

Learning to play a musical instrument helps fine-tune kids' brains, researchers say.

In a new study, 40 children (aged 10 to 13) performed memory and attention tasks while their brain activity was monitored with functional MRI. This type of imaging scan detects small changes in blood flow within the brain.

Twenty of the children played an instrument, had completed at least t...

As the struggle against racism continues to simmer across the United States, the American Academy of Pediatrics took a hard look at racial gaps in health care for children during its recent annual meeting.

"We know racism is a social determinant of health, and it's a public health issue, so we spent a great deal of time focusing on that," Dr. Elizabeth Murray, a pediatrician with the ...

Black children are more than twice as likely as white kids to die from surgical complications, and minority children are about half as likely to even have surgery as white children, two new studies show.

In one study, researchers found that of nearly 277,000 children who had inpatient surgery between 2012 and 2017, 10,425 suffered a complication that required follow-up surgery and 209...

The coronavirus pandemic and the upcoming flu season could pose a double threat, but many U.S. parents plan to skip flu shots for their kids, a new survey finds.

Though public health experts stress the need for people of all ages to get the seasonal flu vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 in 3 U.S. parents said they don't plan on taking their child for a flu shot this fall. Just a...

When babies with hearing impairments get help very early in life, they are more likely to be "kindergarten-ready" when the time comes, a new study finds.

In the United States, all states have government-funded "early intervention" programs designed to assist parents whose babies are deaf or hard of hearing. Ideally, that intervention starts soon after hearing issues are diagnosed, as ...

Combined data from 32 studies from around the world suggest that children under the age of 10 are much less likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2 compared with adults, given the same daily contacts.

Children's risk appears to rise with age: Among adolescent and older teenagers, the risk of infection begins to approach that of adults, according to British researchers led by Russel...

Kids and adults have different immune system responses to infection with the new coronavirus, which may help explain why severe COVID-19 is more common in adults, researchers report.

For their new study, they examined blood and cell samples from patients admitted with COVID-19 symptoms to the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

The researchers found that the younger ...

Young athletes who've had moderate COVID-19 symptoms should be symptom-free for 14 days and get their doctor's OK before returning to practices or games, according to a leading group of U.S. pediatricians.

An electrocardiogram (EKG) is also recommended for those who've had moderate COVID-19 symptoms, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in updated guidance.

"Exercis...

The loss of a pet may be a child's first encounter with death, and new research suggests no one should underestimate the psychological trauma that the loss can bring.

Previous studies have found that kids form deep emotional attachments to their pets and having a furry companion in your youth has been linked to greater empathy, self-esteem and social skills.

"The effects of...

Parents of kids with food allergies probably won't be surprised to hear that Halloween is an especially risky time for their youngsters.

A new study found that serious allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) triggered by peanuts jumped 85% when kids were trick or treating. Serious reactions triggered by an unknown tree nut or peanut exposure rose by 70% on Halloween compared to the ...

Current wisdom holds that white kids are at greater risk of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than Black children are, but a new analysis finds the opposite is true.

In a review of 21 previously published U.S. studies, which included nearly 155,000 Black children in the United States, researchers found that 14.5% of these children had ADHD. That's much higher than t...

Only a tiny fraction of children and young adults who have contracted COVID-19 have died from their infection, a new government report shows.

Just 121 people younger than 21 have died from COVID-19 through the end of July, out of nearly 392,000 confirmed or probable cases, said researchers led by Dr. Danae Bixler from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The ...

Parents who choose to forgo or delay their children's vaccinations may quickly find themselves without a pediatrician.

Just over half (51%) of pediatric offices in the United States have a policy to dismiss families that refuse childhood vaccines, a nationwide survey found. Thirty-seven percent of pediatricians themselves said they often dismissed families for refusing vaccines, ...

Applying a type of "good" bacteria to the skin may relieve children of the itch and discomfort of eczema, a new, small study suggests.

Eczema is a chronic inflammatory condition that causes dry, itchy skin and scaly rashes. It usually starts in early childhood, and commonly occurs along with allergies like hay fever and asthma, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and ...

Healthier school meals improve the diets of American children, a new study finds.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act took effect in 2012 and required school meals to include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and less sodium.

To assess how the act affected students' diets, researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2016, wh...

Are infected-but-healthy children major "silent spreaders" of the new coronavirus? New research out of northern Italy, once a COVID-19 hotspot, suggests they might not be.

Rigorous COVID-19 testing of children and adults admitted to a hospital in Milan for reasons other than coronavirus found that just over 1% of kids tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to more than 9% o...

Electrical stimulation of a sound-processing area of the brain can briefly improve reading skills in adults with dyslexia, a new, small study has found.

Researchers say their results suggest that deficits in that brain region are a cause of the reading difficulties seen in dyslexia.

But whether that's the case -- or whether brain stimulation can help treat dyslexia -- remain...

Adults process language on one side of the brain, but kids use both hemispheres, a new study suggests.

The finding might explain why children recover more easily from brain injuries than adults, the study authors added.

"This is very good news for young children who experience a neural injury," said researcher Elissa Newport. She's a neurology professor at Georgetown Univer...

More than 500,000 U.S. children had been diagnosed with COVID-19 as of early September, with a sizable uptick seen in recent weeks, a new report reveals.

There were 70,630 new child cases reported between Aug. 20 and Sept. 3, 2020. That brings the total to 513,415 cases -- a 16% increase over two weeks, according to state-by-state data compiled by the American Academy of Pediatric...

Asthma treatments tailored to the genes of kids and teens could help improve control of their symptoms, new research suggests.

The study included 241 adolescents, aged 12 to 18, who were randomly selected to receive either traditional asthma treatment or "personalized medicine" -- treatment based on their individual genetics.

During a year of follow-up, those in the personal...

The new coronavirus and antibodies that fight it can be in children's bodies at the same time, surprised researchers have found.

"With most viruses, when you start to detect antibodies, you won't detect the virus anymore. But with COVID-19, we're seeing both," said Dr. Burak Bahar, director of laboratory informatics at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

"This m...

Children who spend too much time on computers or watching TV may have poorer reading and math skills, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed school test data of more than 1,200 Australian children when they were 8 and 9 years of age and again two years later. Parents were asked about their child's use of electronic media.

Kids who watched two or more hours of TV a day at ag...

Severe COVID-19 is rare in kids and teens, and death is exceptionally rare, occurring only in those with serious underlying conditions, according to a new study.

The study, published Aug. 27 in the BMJ, also showed that Black children have a disproportionately high rate of severe COVID-19 illness.

For the study, the researchers analyzed data from 651 children and teen...

Whether camping, hiking or gardening, connecting with nature has many benefits for children's well-being, a new study suggests.

"There is strong evidence that children are happier, healthier, function better, know more about the environment, and are more likely to take action to protect the natural world when they spend time in nature," said researcher Dr. Louise Chawla, professor em...

Young people seldom say a food or drink is "too sweet." A new study suggests that may be because they're less sensitive to sugar than adults and prefer more of it.

Researchers found that compared to adults, kids and teens needed 40% more sugar in a solution to detect sweetness.

The researchers also found that young people have a bigger "sweet tooth" than adults, or prefe...

Parents worry that COVID-19 can make a diabetic child's condition worse, but an expert has some tips for keeping kids healthy during the pandemic.

"If a child has good control of their diabetes, it does not seem as though there will be severe effects if they were to get the virus," said Dr. Michael Yafi, an associate professor of pediatric endocrinology at McGovern Medical School at ...

An artificial pancreas system is safe and effective at managing blood sugar levels in kids as young as age 6 with type 1 diabetes, according to a new study.

The system uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to track blood sugar levels and automatically delivers insulin when needed using an insulin pump. It replaces reliance on fingerstick or CGM with delivery of insulin by injection ...

If your child will be doing online learning this school year, you need to take steps to protect them from eye strain, the American Academy of Ophthalmology says.

"I really have seen a marked increase in kids suffering from eye strain because of increased screen time. Good news is most symptoms can be avoided by taking a few simple steps," pediatric ophthalmologist Dr. Stephen Lipsky, ...

High rates of child and teen obesity could play a growing role in people's risk for multiple sclerosis (MS), British researchers say.

Prior research has suggested that 53% of MS risk is directly attributable to environmental factors. For example, up to 1 in 5 cases could be attributed to smoking, the research team noted.

Increasingly, obesity is also a big risk factor fo...

Vitamin D supplements don't prevent severe asthma attacks in at-risk children, according to a study that challenges previous research.

"The reason that's important is there are colleagues around this country and worldwide who are testing vitamin D levels for kids with asthma and giving them vitamin D," said study lead author Dr. Juan Celedón. He's chief of pediatric pulmonary m...

It takes close to three years for a Black preschooler with autism to get a definitive diagnosis, a new U.S. study finds.

That delay means that young Black Americans miss out on early intensive treatment that is essential to help children with autism be better able to deal with school and social life, the researchers said.

"It's not the parents who are delaying diagnosis, it...

As parents deal with the uncertainty surrounding school this year, allergies and asthma may not be top of their minds.

But even during a pandemic, parents of children with allergies and asthma need to consider the added risks their children may face, one allergist says.

Many school districts "are still trying to determine how kids will return to school this fall," said J. ...

When elementary school students get their annual flu shot, everyone benefits, a new study shows.

An increased vaccination rate among grade schoolers in California was associated with a decrease in flu hospitalizations for folks in every other age bracket, researchers report.

The results come as no surprise to public health experts, given children's well-earned reputation as ...

Fluoride in drinking water reduces the odds for severe cavities in baby teeth, researchers from New Zealand report.

Although fluoridated toothpaste is widely available, fluoridated water continues to show a benefit in reducing cavities, said Dr. Howard Pollick, a health sciences clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry.

"Communit...

Girls with the eating disorder anorexia nervosa may have stunted growth, new research suggests.

People with anorexia nervosa believe they weigh too much, even if they're underweight. They may lose a dangerous amount of weight by dieting, exercising excessively, or binge-eating and purging.

"Our findings emphasize the importance of early and intensive intervention aiming at...

Back-to-school season can be a time of stress for many kids -- even in the best of times.

But pandemic fears add to the anxiety many kids will experience with the start of the 2020-2021 academic year, according to David FitzGerald, a child and adolescent psychologist at UConn Health in Farmington, Conn.

"COVID-19's continued presence for this year's back-to-school season wil...

High levels of air pollution may increase young children's risk of developing asthma and persistent wheezing, researchers warn.

The findings "support emerging evidence that exposure to air pollution might influence the development of asthma," according to a report by Torben Sigsgaard, of Aarhus University in Denmark, and colleagues.

For the new study, the researchers analyze...

With the likelihood that many kids will be taught remotely this fall, all children are bound to face obstacles to their learning and development. But kids with disabilities often require more support, some of which cannot be delivered remotely.

"The burden of stress on the families of children with disabilities is significant, and even more so during the pa...

Children can now be vaccinated by pharmacists in all 50 states as the U.S. government seeks to prevent a decline in routine vaccinations during the coronavirus pandemic.

While 28 states already allowed pharmacists to vaccinate children, the directive announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will temporarily override restrictions in 22 states starti...

Disagreements between parents and grandparents over parenting choices like discipline, meals and TV time can strain family relationships, a new poll finds.

When kids stay with grandparents, relaxed rules can cause friction with the child's parents, child health experts noted.

According to the poll, nearly 50% of parents said they have disagreements with one or more gra...

This school year comes with special challenges for kids as the United States grapples with a coronavirus pandemic, but experts say parents can help their children navigate the tough emotional terrain.

Whether returning to a school building, continuing online learning or adjusting to a hybrid school environment, it is normal for children and adolescents to have some stress or anxiety ...

After a period of improvement, U.S. kids are eating as much fast food as they were in the early 2000s, new government figures show.

Researchers found that between 2003 and 2010, there was a decline in U.S. kids' intake of fast-food calories -- dipping from an average of 14% of daily calories, to just under 11%.

The positive trend was short-lived, however. By 2018, th...

Kids suffering from nearsightedness can slow the progression of their myopia by using soft bifocal contact lenses, a new trial shows.

Bifocal contacts with a powerful corrective prescription slowed the progression of nearsightedness in youngsters by 43% compared to single-vision contacts, the results showed.

"The higher the reading portion of the contact lens, the better...

All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are a big draw for adventure-loving kids, but a new study warns that the thrill ride can often land children in the ER.

U.S. data shows that nearly 280,000 children were treated over a 25-year period for head and neck injuries caused by ATV accidents. That's about 31 children each day -- and nearly half of them were younger than 12, the researchers reported...

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