This month's postings, January 2010

Deflating news
New breast screening guidelines aren’t sitting well with many who say they are tantamount to a rationing of health care. The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force — a brand-new government-funded agency — says routine mammograms aren’t necessary for most women until they are 50 — not 40! — and even then, should be administered only every other year. Regular breast self-exams are no longer encouraged for lack of proof of any benefit. The task force says the guidelines are meant to mitigate the potential harms of tests, treatments and worry to women who receive false positive results. Read more about this on our blog.

Hunger strike
Hunger is eating away at families in our state. A new study by the Children’s Alliance finds that 288,000 households in our state are “food insecure” — meaning they don’t always have enough to eat. More troubling, the number of households that are very insecure jumped by 24 percent. Concerns grow in summertime, when, another report finds, only 16 percent of kids who eat free school lunches have access to similar meals during summer. Read more about this problem — and ways to help.

C for yourself?
One out of 10 babies born in our state are preterm, a fact that earned our state a “C” on the March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card. The report card tracks three risk factors — uninsured women, women of childbearing age who smoke, and late preterm (34–36 weeks) birth, which includes elective cesarean sections. Some experts are calling for new guidelines that allow C-sections only when medically necessary.

Couch taters
Going to day care could double a tot’s total television time, according to researchers at Seattle Children’s. A study of day cares in four states found that among preschool-age children, those in home-based day cares watch the tube for 2.4 hours a day, compared to 0.4 hours in center-based settings. Many experts suggest total screen time be limited to two hours a day for preschoolers — and that kids younger than 2 watch no TV at all. Get more tips and resources on limiting TV.

Why? Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?
If your kids’ brains aren’t totally sucked out by television, they probably pester you with the perennial question “Why?” It’s not a plot to drive you crazy! Researchers now say kids ask why because they really want to know! A new study in the journal Child Development suggests that preschoolers make genuine, even strategic attempts to learn — and respond better to some of your answers than others. Read more.

Generation flap
Moms these days are cooler than ever — and now we have proof! A new Nickelodeon poll of moms with daughters ages 8–21 finds that 44 percent share a sense of fashion and clothing with their daughters, and 64 percent of us like the same movies as our daughters. Even more encouraging, the poll finds that 83 percent of parents spend at least some time every week just hanging out and talking with their kid, and 76 percent say they feel extremely close to their child.

Circle up
Searching for a preschool? We can help! Check out our annual Preschool Preview Nights: Jan. 7 at Shoreline Community College; Jan. 13 at Bellevue’s Meydenbauer Center, and Feb. 27 at Clover Park Technical College. Check out dozens of programs under one roof — it’s free! See you there!

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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