This month's postings, March 2010

Move it!

Enough hand wringing! It’s time to actually do something about childhood obesity, says first lady Michelle Obama, who is kicking off a major national campaign to battle the problem. Lest we forget, it is a huge problem: About 32 percent of kids — that’s 25 million of ’em! — are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Obama’s program, called Let’s Move, focuses on food labeling, healthier school lunches, and getting kids away from screens and out of the house. Read more.

Big three

Got a 4-year-old? Keep her lean and mean by doing one of three things, says a study in this month’s issue of Pediatrics. Researchers find that preschoolers are less likely to be obese if they eat dinner with their families, get enough sleep and watch only limited television during the week. If yours is doing all three, she’s 40 percent less likely to be obese than one who does none of the above.

SIDS link?

Seratonin deficiency could be a culprit in sudden infant dead syndrome (SIDS), new research suggests. Scientists at Children’s Hospital Boston say a lack of this neurotransmitter — which controls heart rate, blood pressure and breathing — might cause a baby’s brain to fail to register and respond to life-threatening challenges that occur during sleep. Researchers say the next step is to devise a test to identify serotonin brainstem defects and develop treatments; in the meantime, babies should be put to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm mattress and without toys, soft pillows or extra blankets.

Doctor shocker

The doc that touched off a worldwide vaccine scare, Dr. Andrew Wakefield, violated basic research ethics, according to The Lancet medical journal. The 1998 study — of 12 children — fanned fears that autism was somehow caused by the MMR vaccine, despite numerous studies that show no link. The Lancet has retracted the paper.

Leaf me alone

The poop on salad this month is . . . there may be poop on your salad! A new Consumer Reports study found fecal contamination on bagged salads bought at supermarkets in three states (not ours!). Brands tested included Dole, Earthbound Farm Organic and Fresh Express. What to do? Buy salad as far from the “use by” date as possible. And rinse it yourself, even if it’s labeled “prewashed.”

Dr. John GottmanMaking marriage work

Tickets are going fast for Dr. John Gottman’s crazy-popular marriage lecture! Our Pathways lineup this year is better than ever: Dr. Laura Kastner on taming tweens and teens; bestselling Mindset author Carol Dweck; and others. Get your tickets without delay — some shows are already sold out — at Pathways.

  PM in your mailbox

ParentMap . . . in the mail?

Yes, it’s true, you can get all this Mappy goodness delivered to your house! A ParentMap subscription costs just $24 a year and includes SummerMap, Family Directory, BabyMap and more. Go to “subscribe,” and the trained lemurs will do the rest.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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