Stories about: pregnancy

Pregnancy and peanuts: the end of the avoidance theory

Pregnant women often avoid (or at least limit) some of the foods they’d normally like to eat because of the chance those menu items could hurt the health of their baby. In many cases it’s the right thing to do, but women who fear that eating peanuts during pregnancy could cause their child to one day develop a peanut allergy needn’t worry, according to a Boston Children’s Hospital study.

“Our study showed that increased peanut consumption by pregnant mothers who weren’t themselves nut-allergic was associated with lower risk of peanut allergy in their children,” says senior author Michael Young, MD, of Boston Children’s Allergy and Immunology Division. “Assuming she isn’t allergic to peanuts, there’s no reason for a pregnant woman to avoid peanuts.” The study was recently published by the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics.

With the great rise of food allergic children and life-threatening reactions in the 1990s, many doctors began advising women to avoid highly allergenic foods like peanuts, nuts and shellfish during pregnancy and while nursing. Pediatricians also advised parents not to give peanuts to any child younger than 3 years old. These recommendations were based on the hypothesis that exposing a young, immature immune system to highly allergenic foods increased the risk of sensitization and could lead to the development of allergy.

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Can obesity prevention begin before birth?

David LudwigDavid Ludwig’s research was featured in Time, The Boston Globe, USA Today and CNN.

If you believe that gaining a little weight above what’s recommended while pregnant doesn’t matter, it may be time to re-think that notion. Janet Currie, PhD, of Columbia University and I collaborated to examine this question, and found that excess pregnancy weight gain is a strong predictor of high birth weight in infants. What’s the big deal if a baby is a bit too heavy? Research suggests high birth weight increases risk for numerous health problems, including obesity later in life.

Nearly one-third of children in America are now overweight or obese. Without marked decreases in prevalence, this generation of children may lead shorter, less healthful lives than their parents due to weight related diseases.

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Health headlines: Food labels, alcoholism & teen obesity surgery

soda pouring into a glassOther stories we’ve been reading:

There’s more bad news for soda – a new study links it to pancreas cancer. [Read what Children’s obesity expert has to say about artificially sweetened beverages.] There are federal efforts to ban junk food from schools. [Read about junk food advertisements on kids’ websites.] The FDA wants nutrition information labels on the front of food packages. Junk food is getting the spot light in many movies.

Children born early in the year are more likely to be athletes. Obese children are more likely to die young. There’s a link between children with a super sweet tooth and alcoholism. Can you really tell if you’re child will be obese by age 2?

Depression during pregnancy could result in an antisocial teen. A pregnant woman can decrease her baby’s risk of schizophrenia later in life by increasing her iron intake. Obese moms put their newborns at risk for a number of health risks. Older women are more likely to give birth to a child who develops autism. Extremely premature babies show a higher risk for autism.

Obesity surgery may be the best solution for overweight teens. Early language problems may hinder adult literacy. There may be a genetic cause for your child’s obstructive sleep apnea. Childhood cancer survivors are at an increased of dying from a heart-related condition. Reading fiction may be the key to teen girls properly managing their weight.

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Health Headlines: Industrial chemicals as dietary supplements, growth hormone therapy and school lunch safety

Other stories we’ve been reading:

Adolescents taking a certain anti-psychotic drugs are at an increased risk for diabetes. An industrial chemical is being sold as a dietary supplement for autism treatment. Diabetes drugs are helping dieting teens lose weight. [Read Minnie’s story about living with Type 2 diabetes.]

Loving foster homes improves children’s attention and impulsivity. Girls with ADHD are more likely to develop other mental health risks.

Obese boys are more likely to begin puberty later in life. A Girl Scouts’ survey found that the fashion industry pressures girls to be thin. [Read about unrealistic media images and how one teen feels about them.] Boys are treated with growth hormone therapy much more often than girls.

Babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are much more stressed out. [Read how dangerous secondhand smoke is to children.] Black and Hispanic infants are more likely to have HIV. Expectant mothers can receive pregnancy tips through texting.

Girls who bike to school are in better shape than those who walk or get a ride. The USDA is tightening requirements to assure school lunch safety.[Read about our nation’s fight for kids’ food.]  Overloaded backpacks set your child up for spine strain. [Read about National School Backpack Awareness Day.]

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