Chapter 5 - Archives of Headlines
Reproductive, Infant, and Child Health
Kids need flu shots too. DENVER (Reuters, Nov. 12, 1998) - It pays to give
healthy school-age children flu shots to control the spread of the disease and reduce the
economic impact on society, according to research released Thursday. While the group is
not ordinarily targeted for annual flu shots, vaccinating them would result in less time
lost from school, reduction in the spread of influenza to other children, and savings to
parents who would have to take time off from work to care for a sick child, said Mary
Nettleman, division chair, general internal medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University in
U.S. doctors group recommends new shot for
children. CHICAGO (Reuters, Nov.5, 1998) - The American Academy of Pediatrics
Wednesday added another vaccine to the list of those it recommends be given to infants and
children. The vaccine is designed to protect children from rotavirus, a common winter
infectious disease that results in diarrhea and low-grade fever. The group said it was
telling its members that the vaccine should be given to infants at 2, 4 and 6 months of
age. In the United States alone, the academy said, the infection is responsible for 50,000
hospitalizations each year.
National Child Day (November 20) In
1993, the Government of Canada designated November 20 as National Child Day to commemorate
two historic United Nations events: the adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of the
Child on November 20, 1959 and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
on November 20, 1989. National Child Day celebrates children...just for being
themselves. It provides us with the opportunity to remember that children need love and
respect to grow to their full potential. It's a day to listen to children and marvel at
their uniqueness and all they have to offer. Visit the National Child Day Web Site
There's something fun for everyone: teachers and child care workers, community organizers,
families and young people too!!!
Discover on this web site:
- interactive activities for young people;
- suggested activities for schools, families and communities;
- tips for organizing and promoting your own event;
- a calendar of events across Canada;
- virtual postcards;
- numerous resources on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and healthy child
- the online version of the Celebrate National Child Day 1998 Activity Guide.
Most Baltimore babies' syphilis preventable. ATLANTA
(Reuters, Oct. 29,1998) - Better screening and treatment could have prevented nine-tenths
of newborn babies' syphilis cases in Baltimore, the city with the highest rate of the
sexually transmitted disease, federal health officials said Thursday. The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention said it had reached the conclusion after reviewing the
medical records of 90 pregnant women with syphilis who delivered infants in Baltimore,
which had the highest rate of syphilis of any U.S. city in 1996 and 1997. Of the 90 women,
62 delivered infants with congenital syphilis, including four babies who were stillborn.
The other 28 women were treated for syphilis during their pregnancy and delivered infants
who did not have the disease.
Executive Director's Statement on the
Withdrawal of U.S. Funding from UNFPA
NEW YORK, 20 October 1998 Following is a statement by Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive
Director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA):
UNFPA deeply regrets todays news that the United States will not include funding for
UNFPA in appropriations for the coming financial year. The decision penalizes not only
UNFPA but the millions of ordinary women and men on whose behalf we work. It will
inevitably reduce our ability to implement vital programmes in the area of reproductive
health and rights.
The U.S. decision will mean the unnecessary death and suffering of women who are deprived
of the information and means to plan their families. It will deny many people in
developing countries the right that Americans take for granted the right to
individual freedom in regard to the size and spacing of the family. It will weaken not
only population programmes but programmes aimed at better health, equal access to health
and education for women, and economic security.
The U.S. decision will hit especially hard the least-developed countries in Africa and
elsewhere whose population programmes are most dependent on external assistance. It will
contribute to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, which pose
an ever-larger threat to health, life and prospects for development. It is a step
backwards from United States leadership in the population field and United States
support for internationally-agreed approaches to population problems.
The United States decision is misguided from the point of view of all those,
including UNFPA, who seek to minimize abortion. At the very time when individual demand
for family planning is rising all over the world, it will weaken family planning
programmes and increase the use of abortion to avoid unwanted births.
UNFPA-supported programmes have succeeded in raising the use of family planning and
reducing reliance on abortion. All UNFPA programmes are based on the principle that
individuals have the right to make their own decisions in regard to the size and spacing
of the family and to the means and information to do so. UNFPA reproductive health
programmes do not promote abortion nor provide assistance for abortion services. Falling
birth and population growth rates in developing countries demonstrate beyond question the
practical validity of promoting reproductive health and rights as ends in themselves, as
well as the means to achieve smaller families and slower population growth.
The decision to deny U.S. funding to UNFPA is also misguided from the point of view of all
those who, like UNFPA, wish to promote reproductive health and rights in China. The new
UNFPA programme in China, which is limited to 32 counties, was carefully designed to
ensure respect for the human rights norms agreed by 180 nations at the International
Conference on Population and Development in 1994, including the vital principle of
individual decision on the size and spacing of the family. The new programme excludes all
elements which might lead to lower standards, such as incentives and quotas for family
planning and family size. It was approved early this year by the 36 nations that comprise
UNFPAs Executive Board, including the United States.
Note for Editors:
U.S. funding for UNFPA is $20 million in FY 1998. The total approved by the U.S. for UNFPA
in FY 1998 was $25 million, which was reduced by $5 million the amount expected to be
spent in China. Since 1984, no U.S. funds have been available for UNFPA expenditure in
China. U.S. funding for UNFPA was suspended in 1986 when its total pledge was $46 million,
and was restored by President Clinton in 1993.
UNFPAs total resources in 1997 were $290 million.
In one year alone, the impact of the United States decision to withdraw funding from
UNFPA will be to deprive 870,000 women of effective modern contraception. Over 520,000
will end up not using any method. Non-use and use of ineffective methods will result in:
1,200 maternal and 22,500 infant deaths;
15,000 life-threatening illnesses and injuries to mothers during pregnancy and childbirth.
500,000 unwanted pregnancies, resulting in:
234,000 unwanted births; 200,000 abortions.
Anti-Smoking Programs Should Start in Elementary School Researchers Also Find
Parents' Smoking as Important as Peer Pressure
Programs to keep children from starting to smoke should begin "at least as early as
primary grades," not middle school, and they should target the influence of their
parents' smoking as well as peer pressure, according to researchers who monitored smoking
in a group of fifth-grade children for three years.
"The prevailing smoking prevention strategy, which concentrates resources on middle
school prevention programs for adolescents, overlooks the needs of children who are at
risk for habitual cigarette smoking," warns Christine Jackson, PhD, and colleagues at
the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Moreover, "simply delaying the age at initiation of cigarette smoking is unlikely to
reduce the proportion of children who eventually become habitual smokers," Jackson
and her colleagues write in the August issue of Health Education and Behavior. Instead,
they say, efforts should try to modify the important risk factors, such as low behavioral
self-control and parental monitoring.
The research team surveyed 401 students while they were in the fifth, sixth, and seventh
grades to determine why some of them tried smoking but did not continue, others tried it
and did continue, and still others never smoked during the three-year period. Most of the
children were white (84 percent) and about half (51 percent) were girls.
Although many studies have shown that the influence of friends is the single strongest
factor in predicting whether children will try smoking, Jackson's study suggests that
interventions "need to focus as much on countering the influence of parent smoking as
on countering the influence of peer smoking."
More than half (54 percent) of the children had tried smoking by the seventh grade, Dr.
Jackson and her colleagues found. Almost one quarter (22 percent) had tried smoking early
in the study, 16 percent tried smoking late in the study, and 16 percent currently smoked
regularly. Compared with children who never smoked, those who currently smoked were more
likely to be living in a single-parent household; have a parent who smoked; have best
friends who smoked; believe their parents did not monitor their smoking and would not
punish them for smoking; and believe cigarettes are easily available. These children were
also more likely to be susceptible to peer pressure and have low grades in school and low
"The results also indicate, however, that early initiators do not necessarily
continue to smoke," the researchers caution. "(They) are at greater risk for
continued smoking if exposure to parental and peer modeling occurs in combination with
susceptibility to peer influence, low parental monitoring, easy access to cigarettes, and
other risk attributes."
The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Health Education & Behavior, a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal of the Society for
Public Health Education (SOPHE), publishes research on critical health issues for
professionals in the implementation and administration of public health information
programs. SOPHE is an international, non-profit professional organization that
promotes the health of all people through education. For additional information about
SOPHE, contact Elaine Auld: (202) 408-9804.
For descriptions, rationale, methods, and the most recent findings from the US Youth Risk
Behavior Surveys of CDC, go to: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dash/yrbs/ov.htm.
As Enrollments Soar, Afterschool Programs Adapt From The Boston Globe: September
24. The number of afterschool programs in Massachusetts has exploded, surging 44 percent
to 726 programs over the past four years. Driving the increase is research showing that
adolescents who go unsupervised after school are more apt to be involved in violent crime
and other risky behavior such as drug use and sex.
Growing Number Of Schools Ban Peanut Butter As Allergy Threat (New York Times,
Sept. 23, 1998). Peanut butter is under attack at the schoolhouse door. Cheap, nutritious,
popular and traditional, it has nonetheless taken its place on the list of
substances, like asbestos and lead, that send shivers down the spines of school
administrators. Prodded by parents warning of lethal allergies, by the contentions of some
researchers that peanut allergies are on the rise and, not least, by a fear of litigation,
growing numbers of public and private schools across the country have banned peanut butter
from their cafeterias. Others have declared peanut-free zones or set up committees to
figure out what to do.
Condom Vending Machines a Hit in China Reuters (09/09/98) According to the China
Daily, the country's first condom vending machines in the southern town of Shenzhen have
been so successful that machines will be placed in other cities. In the first month of
operation, each of the 50 machines sold 2,000 to 3,000 condoms at 12 cents each. The paper
reported that sales have been spurred by the spread of sexually transmitted
diseases. Prostitution is widespread in Shenzhen, and last week the China Daily
reported that 21 people individuals in the town are HIV positive.
U.S. FDA approves first 'morning after' pill. WASHINGTON (Reuters, Sept. 3, 1998)
- The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday it had approved the first birth-control
pills for use after sex has occurred. The Preven Emergency Contraceptive Kit, to be
marketed by Gynetics Inc. of Belle Mead, N.J., will be available by prescription before
the end of September, the FDA said. The kit uses higher doses of regular birth control
pills to prevent or delay ovulation when taken within 72 hours of sex. According to the
FDA they may also prevent fertilization of an egg or prevent implantation. ``It is
estimated that nearly 50 percent of all abortions and unintended pregnancies in this
country could be avoided if women had access to emergency contraception,'' said Anita
Nelson, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California
in Los Angeles.
WHO calls for action against child killer diseases
The World Health Organization's new Director General enlisted pediatricians in the fight
against killer childhood diseases, saying on August 10, 1998 more attention must be paid
to child health if the number of deaths was to fall in the next 20 years. "If we do
not act now, the pattern in 2020 may be similar to that in 1990 - dominated by the
persistence of infectious diseases, unsafe motherhood and lack of care," WHO director
general Gro Brundtland told the International Conference of Pediatrics in Amsterdam. The
former Norwegian prime minister called for a concerted effort to hammer home the message
that health was a basic human right, as well as to convince political leaders that
investing in health brought tangible returns, like lower social costs, a better educated
population and a more productive workforce. Brundtland advocated breastfeeding as the most
powerful prevention against infectious diseases and malnutrition.
Canada's Food Guide: Focus on Children Six to Twelve Years
(10 June 1998)
Health Canada has just released a new publication entitled Canada's Food Guide to Healthy
Eating : Focus on Children Six to Twelve Years (Background for Educators and
Communicators). The booklet helps educators and parents understand the things that
influence children's attitudes and behaviours around eating; and advises on how to help
children learn about healthy living and develop the decision-making skills they need to
make healthy food choices.
The new publication is located at http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hppb/nutrition/pdf/FocusChild.pdf
Steroid Use in Young Student Athletes May 11, 1998
In the first survey of children and the use of steroids, researchers found 2.7% of all
middle school students reported using anabolic steroids. Children as young as 10 are
reporting using the drugs, and use was almost as prevalent among girls as it was among
boys. In addition, a number of respondents were aware of the potential physiologic effects
of anabolic steroids. Researchers speculated that because of the high prices of the drugs,
parents and coaches might be buying the steroids for the students. This study will be
useful to pediatricians, sport authorities, and teachers as steroid educational
interventions for male and female middle school students are developed. The results of
this study suggest that educational interventions should probably begin before
What 9- to 13-year-old Students Believe About Steroids
| Steroids make muscles bigger
| Steroids make muscles stronger
| Steroids improve athletic
| Steroids make you look better
| Know someone your age who is
currently taking steroids
| Asked by someone to take steroids
| Steroids are bad for you
| Would take steroids in the future
* Percentage answering yes
Source: "Anabolic Steroid Use by Male and Female Middle School Students,"
Pediatrics, Vol. 101, No. 5 May 1998.
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