Can TV improve behavior in children?
More often than not, when a study is released about children and television consumption, the results are overwhelmingly negative. Yet a new report published in Pediatrics takes a different spin, recommending that instead of trying to reduce the number of hours a child spends in front of a TV, parents should attempt to make sure that the programs being watched promote positive behavior.
Even at an early age, children mimic behavior that they see on television. The study found that preschool children would exhibit both aggressive and pro-social behaviors that they saw on television shows. Focusing on 820 families with children between three and five years old, the research found that children exposed to fewer violent shows scored higher on social and behavioral evaluations. “Dora the Explorer” and “Sesame Street” were cited as programs that promote a positive message and teaches life lessons.
This is not to suggest that it’s a good idea for children to be watching hours upon hours of television per day—other studies have found that can lead to declines in physical fitness–but rather that parents need to be more selective about what kind of shows their kids watch.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, TV Shows Can Improve Behavior Among Children
Modern diet is ruining our teeth
When it comes to our teeth, humans haven’t evolved so well. Researchers from the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD), the University of Aberdeen (Dept of Archeology), Scotland, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, England have found that thanks to modern diets, our oral health isn’t what it used to be.
The scientists found that modern mouths live in a permanent state of disease, a product of the introduction of sugar into the diet. Whereas historic populations, dating back 7,500 years until now, relied on hunter-gatherer skills, modern man relies on a more agricultural diet, and that has decreased the diversity of bacteria in the mouth.
The researchers studied calcified dental plaque – tartar – from ancient skeletons and compared the bacteria present to what they found in skeletons from the Bronze Age, medieval times, the Industrial Revolution up to today. They found that as man evolved, so too did his diet, creating a less diverse bacterial environment within the mouth. And researchers believe that may be the reason for the rise of chronic oral diseases.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Modern Diet Is Rotting Our Teeth
Caffeine in pregnancy leads to low birth weight
Pregnant mothers often seek to do everything possible to protect their developing child, including dietary considerations. Some foods carry labels that a product could be dangerous to pregnant mothers – such as energy drinks and alcohol – while others are not recommended while the child is in utero. Now it may be time to add caffeine to the warning list.
Research from the Norwegian Institute for Public Health studied over 60,000 pregnancies over a 10-year period, and concluded that caffeine consumption could be a major factor contributing to low birth weight. Consuming too much caffeine could also increase the length of pregnancy, the study noted.
Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 300 mg of caffeine a day, or roughly two medium cups of coffee. The researchers found that for every 100 mg of caffeine consumed, birth weight was reduced 21 to 28 grams, and the gestational period was increased by 5 hours. Babies who are born small can be at risk for serious short and long-term health problems.
Due to these findings, the study authors recommended that the WHO revise its caffeine recommendations for pregnant women.
Sourced from: Medical News Today, Caffeine During Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Babies