In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Posts Tagged ‘CDC’

The grim reality of spring break

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 3, 2010

It’s too bad that it takes a 17-year old with the prospect for a glowing future to remind us how dangerous spring break can be for high schoolers. When Ohio high school senior Matt James (headed for Notre Dame on a football scholarship), fell from a balcony to his death after drinking too much during spring break in Florida, we all stopped for 5 minutes to shake our heads and those of us with high school students were grateful that it wasn’t our kid.

But the thing is that unless you make the choice to supervise your teen on spring, winter and every other break it could just as easily be your kid! There is no specific type…most kids drink; many get drunk–they just don’t tell their parents. In fact, one national study (conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) found that nearly 75% of high school students have had one or more alcoholic drinks in their life. That’s any kid–your kid or my kid!

Every teen’s life is worth saving, every teen has a glowing future and should have a chance to make better choices when their brain has developed and along with it, their judgment. Until then, it is the job of the adults–parents, teachers, chaperones, even hotel owners, to make sure that teens are well supervised and kept safe: even from themselves.

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Are we finally starting to get the message about obesity?

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 28, 2008

a newly released CDC study cautiously finds that the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. seems to have leveled off. It hasn’t dropped, the researchers note, just stabilized. And they don’t know yet whether this is a temporary blip or a real cause for hope. Let’s say it like it is–the rate of overweight and obesity is still 58 percent. This tells us that we need to keep working at it. Perhaps things really are changing. I hope so. Perhaps the government just wants us to think things are improving so that they can rationalize the huge amounts of money they have been spending on fairly inconsequential changes that they have made to try and move Americans towards becoming healthier. Let’s see the government make really significant changes. I bet if all the money spent on the war had been spent on making Americans healthier, we’d all have lifetime memberships to health clubs.

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Guard your medicine cabinet

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 10, 2008

Yet another study finds that young children are finding themselves in the emergency room after OD’ing on OTC medications. This investigation lead by the CDC, says that each year over 7,000 kids go to the ER each year due to side effects of cough and cold meds. Of these, 65% of these visits are due to unsupervised ingestions, which was the most common reason for the 2 through 5-year old category of ER visits. The researchers suggests that we should be looking at how medication packaging could be made safer–Okay, why not. More importantly, I suggest we look at how parents could be more vigilant! There is no reason a two-year old should be able to get at a bottle of medication, especially when they know that it will taste good because they tried it last time they had a cold.

It’s time for all parents to begin the practice of keeping medications safe from their young children. Before long those children will be teens. And they’ll be taking medications without their parent’s permission for different reasons–to get high or to sell them.

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Are teens flawed or the research?

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 14, 2008

A study,  released this week by the CDC is sending panic through the nation–it proclaims that 26% of teenage girls have sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), most of them black black girls. I have two serious problems with this research.

It is basing these findings on 838 girls. The CDC extrapolated findings of an ENTIRE nation from a sample of fewer than nine hundred!! They’ve got to be kidding, right?! This is a “nationally representative sample”? Shame on them–a waste of time and money.

To make matters worse is my second problem. The study is based on data that was collected FIVE YEARS AGO. Teens are like technology. Five years ago is irrelevant. Why didn’t the CDC team up with MTV now–they would have collected 10, 000 interviews in five minutes and had real, current data to analyze. Instead they’re relying on a pathetically small sample size that’s completely outdated.

But what amazes me is that doctors and the media are buying it, accepting it, panicking about it…but not questioning it. I’m not saying that girls don’t have STD’s or that we shouldn’t be concerned. Of course we should! I speak to hundreds of girls every year about practicing safe sex. I believe in the new HPV vaccine–although I don’t think we should be giving it to 9-year olds because we don’t know how long it lasts. But the truth STD’s may or may not be a huge problem for teenage girls. Are they? Based on this study, I have no idea and neither do you!!!

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depression is dangerous!

Posted by Dr. Susan on March 5, 2008

A new study shows that depressed and anxious people are more likely to be obese, and to smoke and drink heavily. I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on this study because I, and any good clinician could have told them this years ago! What particularly infuriates me about this research is that it declares that given this data we should now pay attention to depression and anxiety in a whole new light. You mean before this did these researchers really think that those treating depressed people weren’t helping them with related issues like emotional eating, alcoholism and other addictions. Research like this is a waste of time and money in my opinion and perhaps these scientists need to get into the real world for at least a short while.

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