This month's postings, August 2009

Have you lost weight?
Why yes, we have! Welcome to the new, eco-wise, sporty-spice ParentMap, resized to go easy on the trees — and fit nicely into your diaper bag. It’s all the same award-winning content — now in an adorably trim package!

Waist not
Extra weight is a serious issue in our state: A new study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds that more than one-quarter of Washington’s residents are now considered obese. In fact, our state is the 28th most obese in the United States, and one of 31 states with higher than 25 percent obesity. (Dang! We’re fatter than Oregon!) The number’s even grimmer for kids between the ages of 10 and 17; nearly 30 percent of them are obese. If you’re wondering, Colorado is the slimmest, and Mississippi is the fattest, at 32.5 percent.

Coppertone sunscreenScreen test
How good is your sunscreen? Probably better than last year’s, according to an investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a watchdog organization that’s put the heat on the industry to increase sunscreen safety. Its study of 2,073 sunscreen products finds that 70 percent of them now contain strong UVA filters — a big improvement over last year’s 29 percent. Still, the group turned up a lot of big-name products that either don’t protect skin from damage or that contain dangerous chemicals. Among the worst? Coppertone ultraGUARD Sunscreen (SPF 15). In fact, not one of Coppertone’s 43 products, only two of Neutrogena’s 118 SPF products, and none of Banana Boat’s products meets EWG’s criteria. 

Parent and baby have a talkBack talk
… it’s not just for teens anymore! A new UCLA study finds that babies who engage in back-and-forth conversations with adults learn language faster than those who don’t. In the past, pediatricians have stressed the importance of reading and talking to babies; now, it’s believed that having conversations with them is actually six times more effective in fostering language development. More conversations mean more chances for verbal mistakes — and for valuable corrections. So let ‘em talk — even if it’s just goo-goo gah-gah!

Dairy queens
Breastfeeding moms: Did you know your breast milk can act like a Band-Aid? It’s true, according to scientists at the University of London, who have discovered an ingredient in human breast milk that actually repairs the intestines of newborn babies. The ingredient — called pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor (PTSI) — is at its highest levels in colostrum (the milk that’s produced right after birth). Researchers say PTSI plays an important role in protecting babies’ delicate intestines when they later begin to eat and drink; and the study suggests that breastfeeding even for just a few days will benefit baby.

Pretty smart
ParentMap just keeps growing, and I don’t mind telling you, we’re giving ourselves an “A” for our newest product, “ParentMap Hall Pass.” This new e-newsletter will deliver the latest education news, features and freebies to your inbox every month, free of charge. Sign up for Hall Pass — and our weekly events e-newsletter, Passport.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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