News Roundup December 3

Proven Interventions Decrease Preterm Births: While preterm births are declining, it is important to focus on prevention to ensure this decline continues. According to an article in The Lancet, there are five proven interventions that can decrease the rate of preterm births. Examples of these interventions include eliminating early caesarian deliveries that are not medically necessary and helping women quit smoking. The authors of the article believe that if the five interventions were used in combination across 39 high resource countries, including the US, that the preterm birth rate could be decreased from 9.6% to 9.1%, saving about three billion dollars in health and economic costs. Lancet Article on Preterm Birth

Investing in Children as Part of The Nation’s Future: Two related Blogs in the New York Times discussed the impact of child rearing on the economy. KJ Dell’Antonia discusses the fact that Americans as a whole have decided not to invest in our children in the same way we invest in seniors, the military and prisons. She points out that the nation will need to support our children so they can be educated to become the doctors, bankers and pilots of the future. Nancy Folbre discusses the fact that we need to focus not only on the benefits that investments in children make to children themselves, but also on the benefits that these same children’s labor and taxes will provide to all of society when they become adults. NY Times article The Macroeconomics of Raising Robots (or Children)

NY Times article Of Parents, Puppies and Robots

Smoking During Pregnancy May Decrease Reading Scores: Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have linked smoking more than one pack a day during pregnancy with a decrease in reading accuracy and comprehension. Performance on seven difference tasks, including reading speed, spelling and comprehension, were compared and the results showed that children exposed to one pack a day in utero had a 21% decrease in scores compared to children with nonsmoking mothers. Yale Public Health Article Smoking in Pregnancy and Lower Reading Scores

Obesity Risk may be Predicted at Birth: Research published by the Imperial College in London shows that simple formula can predict which babies may be at high risk for obesity in childhood. Well known risk factors for childhood obesity, including the child’s birth weight and the body mass index of the child’s parents were used together to make the calculator which is available online. The formula proved accurate for children in Finland, Italy and the United States. The hope is that if prevention services were provided to families with babies at high risk, there could be a decrease in childhood obesity. Risk of Childhood Obesity Article

Fearfulness May Be Linked to the Severity of Symptoms of Autism: A study done at Brigham Young University has shown that children with autism have difficulty letting go of outdated fears. The more difficulty a child has in letting go of a fear increases the severity of classic symptoms of autism. The lead author of the study sees a strong connection between anxiety and repetitive behaviors and that this highlights the need for families and others working with children with autism to help the children make emotional transitions, especially when the emotions are fears. BYU Article Autism Severity May Stem from Fear

Positive Parenting Benefits Children with Disabilities: A study at Brigham Young University has determined that positive parenting can help children with disabilities become more independent and cooperative. The researchers points out that while it may seem obvious to use a positive parenting style, it can be especially hard for parents to implement when they have a child with developmental challenges.  This study shows that an authoritative or positive parenting style provides better child outcomes. The authors believe that parent education (if possible before a child is born), support services and early intervention will help to foster positive parenting and support for the child’s optimal development. BYU Study: For children With Developmental Disabilities, Parenting Style Matters


This News Roundup was compiled and co-authored by Karen Burch, M.A.

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