To Our Wonderful Readers…Thank You and Happy Thanksgiving!

PedSafe girls Square Button FinalThere are so many things we’re grateful for…but being part of your lives, day in and day out is one we’re especially proud of.

Our mission is simple: to do whatever we can to make this world a healthier and safer place for kids to grow up in.  To do that we support parents, and caregivers and teachers and medical professionals and anyone else who shares that mission.  If you’re here reading this – it means we’re doing something right.

Now it’s our turn to say thank you – to each and every one of you who is looking after a child – whether it’s your child or someone else’s – thank you for everything you do to keep them healthy and safe.

From all of us here at Pediatric Safety, have a wonderful Thanksgiving

Study: Kids Missing Breakfast Linked to Type 2 Diabetes Risk

Family breakfast“Skipping breakfast in childhood may raise the risk of diabetes,” the Mail Online reports. A study of UK schoolchildren found that those who didn’t regularly eat breakfast had early signs of having risk markers for type 2 diabetes.

The study found that children who did not usually eat breakfast had 26% higher insulin resistance than children who always ate breakfast. High insulin resistance increases risk of type 2 diabetes, which is why the results of this study are important. It should be pointed out that while the levels were higher in children who skipped breakfast, they were still within normal limits.

The researchers questioned more than 4,000 children aged nine and 10 about whether they usually ate breakfast, and took a fasting blood sample for a variety of measurements, including their blood sugar level and insulin level.

The results suggest that eating breakfast may reduce the risk of higher insulin resistance levels, but due to the cross-sectional design of the study (a one-off assessment), it cannot prove that skipping breakfast causes higher insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. And, as the researchers point out, even if a direct cause and effect relationship was established, it is still unclear why skipping breakfast would make you more prone to diabetes.

Despite this limitation of the study, eating a healthy breakfast high in fibre has many health benefits and should be encouraged.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from St George’s University Hospital in London, the University of Oxford, the Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research in Cambridge and University of Glasgow School of Medicine. It was funded by Diabetes UK, the Wellcome Trust, and the National Prevention Research Initiative. The authors declared no conflict of interest.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal PLOS Medicine. This is an open access journal so the study is free to read online.

The UK media generally reported the study accurately, although claims the study “tracked” children over time are inaccurate. Researchers used a one-off questionnaire and blood test, and none of the results showed that the children were insulin resistant – they just had higher levels within the normal range.

Also the Mail Online’s headline “Youngsters who don’t eat morning meal more likely to be insulin dependent” appears to be written by someone without any grasp of human biology. All humans are insulin dependent.

What kind of research was this?

This was a cross-sectional study of nine- and 10-year-old children in England. It aimed to see if there was a link between eating breakfast and markers for type 2 diabetes, in particular insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. Higher fasting insulin levels are seen when the body becomes insulin resistant, which is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. As this was a cross-sectional study, it cannot prove that not eating breakfast causes children to be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes, but it can show that there is an association.

What did the research involve?

The researchers used information collected from 4,116 children who had participated in the Child Heart And health Study in England (CHASE) between 2004 and 2007. This study invited children aged nine and 10 from 200 randomly selected schools in London, Birmingham and Leicester to take part in a survey looking at risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

This included questionnaires, measures of body fat and a fasting blood sample, taken eight to 10 hours after their last meal.

One of the questions related to how often they ate breakfast, with the following possible responses:

  • Every day
  • Most days
  • Some days
  • Not usually

Children from the last 85 schools were also interviewed by a research nutritionist to determine their food and drink intake in the previous 24 hours.

They analysed the data looking for an association between breakfast consumption and insulin resistance and higher blood sugar levels adjusting the results to take into account age, sex, ethnicity, day of the week and month, and school.

What were the basic results?

Of the 4,116 children:

  • 3,056 (74%) ate breakfast daily
  • 450 (11%) had breakfast most days
  • 372 (9%) had breakfast some days
  • 238 (6%) did not usually have breakfast

Compared to children who ate breakfast every day, children who did not usually have breakfast had:

  • 26% higher fasting insulin levels
  • 26.7% higher insulin resistance
  • 1.2% higher HbA1c (number of red blood cells attached to glucose, which is a marker of average blood glucose concentration, higher numbers increase the risk of diabetes) 1% higher glucose (blood sugar) level

These results remained significant even after taking into account the child’s fat mass, socioeconomic status and physical activity levels.

In the subset of children asked about their food intake over the previous 24 hours, children eating a high fibre breakfast had lower insulin resistance than those eating other types of breakfasts such as toast or biscuits.

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers concluded that “children who ate breakfast daily, particularly a high fibre cereal breakfast, had a more favourable type 2 diabetes risk profile. Trials are needed to quantify the protective effect of breakfast on emerging type 2 diabetes risk”.

Conclusion

This well designed study found that children who did not usually eat breakfast had 26% higher insulin resistance than children who always ate breakfast, though the level was still within normal limits.

Higher levels indicate a risk of type 2 diabetes, which is why the results of this study are important.

Strengths of the study include the large sample size, multi-ethnicity of the participants and accuracy of the body fat measurements rather than just relying on body mass index (BMI).

A limitation of the study is that due to the cross-sectional design it cannot prove that not eating breakfast would cause diabetes, but it does show that this may begin to increase the risk. The study is also reliant on self-reporting of usual breakfast intake.

Eating a healthy breakfast rich in fibre has been linked to many health benefits and is thought to contribute to maintaining a healthy weight. As the researchers point out, further studies will be required to verify the link, such as through following children over time to see which ones develop diabetes.

Analysis by Bazian. Edited by NHS Choices. Follow Behind the Headlines on Twitter. Join the Healthy Evidence forum.

Summary

“Skipping breakfast in childhood may raise the risk of diabetes,” the Mail Online reports. A study of UK schoolchildren found that those who didn’t regularly eat breakfast had early signs of having risk markers for type 2 diabetes…

Links to Headlines

Links to Science

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 11-17-2014 to 11-23-2014

twitter thumbWelcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Sexting: Majority of teens admit doing it http://t.co/GsoX40i2qd
If you think “not my kid” please read this…

The Dangerous Side of Holiday Decorating: Keep Your Family Safe

Christmas lights - watch for overloadsIt’s time.  It’s time to start opening up those bins and getting ready to decorate your home for the festivities to come. Decorating is always the part we love and hate at the same time because we know whatever we put up, we are going to eventually have to take down and there has always been a tiny worry of injury when decorating, whether it’s the tree in the house or the lights and extras on the outside of the house, it’s never really been a big deal.

Seeing an increase in our holiday injury emergency room runs prompted me to take a look at some statistics on the subject and what I found was very eye opening.   For the years 2004-2008 the Electrical Safety Foundation provided these statistics :

Decorating Statistics

  • In 2004-2008, an estimated 1,170 home fires per year began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 8 deaths, 54 injuries, and $19.1 million in property damage.
  • Christmas tree and holiday decoration fires result in twice the injuries and 5 times more fatalities per fire than the average winter holiday fire.
  • On average, 260 home fires begin with Christmas trees each year, resulting in 12 deaths, 24 injuries and $16.4 million in property damage.
  • An additional 150 home fires per year begin with holiday lights and other decorative lighting, causing another 8 deaths, 16 injuries, and $8.9 million in property damage each year.
  • Candles started 45% of home decoration fires.
  • December is the peak time of year for candle fires.
  • Christmas, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Day are the top 3 days of the year for candle fires.
  • Roughly 5,800 people per year were treated in hospital emergency rooms for falls associated with holiday decorations.  More than half of these injuries were caused by falls from ladders or roofs while decorating outdoors.
  • CPSC estimates that each year, about 4,000 injuries associated with electric extension cords are treated in hospital emergency rooms.  50% of these injuries involve fractures, lacerations, contusions, or sprains from people tripping over extension cords.  13% of these injuries involve children less than five years of age; electrical burns to the mouth accounted for 50% of the injuries to young children.

Household Injuries and Accidents:

  • More than 30,000 non-fatal shock accidents occur each year.
  • Each year in the U.S., more than 100,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms due to a scalding injury.  
  • Hot tap water accounts for nearly 1 in 4 of all scald burns among children and is associated with more deaths and hospitalizations than any other hot liquid burns.
  • Each day, nearly 7 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms for electrical shock or burn injuries caused by tampering with a wall outlet.
  • In 2007, over 98,000 children ages 14 and under were treated for burn injuries in hospital emergency rooms.
  • The most common causes of product-related thermal burn injuries among children ages 14 and under are hair curlers, curling irons, room heaters, ovens/ranges, and irons.
  • In 2009, ranges and ovens were involved in an estimated 17,300 thermal burn injuries seen in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.  36% (5,600) of these burn victims were under the age of 5.
  • Heating equipment accounted for 58,660 injuries reported to hospital emergency rooms in 2009.  Space heaters accounted for 19% of the total injuries, but more than two-thirds of the thermal burn injuries.
  • For every 10 poison exposures in children, approximately 9 occur in the home.

Fatality Statistics:

  • Each year, there is an estimated average of 60 electrocutions associated with consumer products.  The three most common product categories associated with electrocutions are small appliance, power tool, and lighting equipment.
  • Every year in the U.S., more than 2,600 people are killed in home fires.
  • In the U.S., injury is the leading cause of death among children and young adults, and nearly half of these accidents occur in the home, according to the National Safety Council.
  • Worldwide, accidental injury kills more than 2,000 children each and every day.
  • According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 70 percent of child-related electrical accidents occur at home, when adult supervision is present.
  • Fires and burns are the third leading cause of unintentional death among children 14 and under.
  • On average, 184 people die each year from non-fire, carbon monoxide poisoning associated with consumer products.  The two most common product categories associated with non-fire carbon monoxide deaths are engine-driven tools (38%) and heating systems (38%).

So as you can see, Decorating can be dangerous business and should be given the proper respect and preparation it deserves.  Mixing people, electricity, water, and fire are not a good mix.

Be safe, be prepared and Happy Holidays.

Food Allergies Ruining Your Holiday Plans? Fork It!

Making Mealtime TraditionsThe holidays are upon us- creeping up around the corner and taunting us, reminding us that food shall be everywhere soon. If your kids have food allergies, do you hide? Do you stay home and make your own safe feast? Or, do you accept someone else’s invitation and imagine that it could be just that simple. Before you gasp and start to list the reasons of why you should not do this, let’s go over the reasons of why you should.

Spreading knowledge I know most of us are up to our eyeballs with how many times we have tried to educate others on living with food allergies. I still stand by my word- knowledge is power. The more that you help others learn about the foods that you can have and the recipes that they can also make easily and safely, the more they will feel empowered to do so. What you do need to remember is that this requires a lot of patience and courage on your part to make sure that all of the safety details are passed on as well.

Bonding time What better way to have an excuse to spend extra time with friends and family than to grab a bunch of food?! Because having food allergies often means extra preparation for those who don’t normally handle food allergies, this is the perfect way to finally catch up and make some edible items. By doing so in a social situation rather than the actual day of a holiday, there is less tension in the air, less worry of serving a meal on time and more chance that the food allergy-free lesson will be remembered.

Eating Because, let’s face it, we all love to eat. Nobody can tell me that the smell of good cooking and great conversation leading to a full belly is a bad thing (as long as it’s done safely). Rather than thinking of all of the reasons not to eat, think of all of the reasons that we should eat. Don’t fear the food- be cautious, be prepared but don’t feel that your life should be limited by a diet that is different. Even with food allergies, you have the ability to indulge.

Learn to enjoy the holidays again Even if you are not at ease with having someone else cooking for you; remember that the holidays are meant to be a time full of joy. Obviously, how you decide to do this is up to you but looking back, do you most remember the bad things or do you cherish the good things? Use your favorite recipes and cook. Plan your menus ahead of time to make it easier on yourself.  Start new memories of your own and see how others also begin using your recipes in the coming years.

Recreate a food that you always wanted to try but didn’t. Who says that stuffing has to be made from bread? Why does pie have to have milk when there are so many dairy free options to try? Research recipes and products that you can use, add and tweak ingredients and just go for it. The best part if tasting- for you, for your family and you get to lick the spoon.

Celebrate yourself too because you deserve a pat on the back for everything that you do on a daily basis. It’s ok to acknowledge that your life is different from people who do not have food allergies. It’s ok to tell everyone how you had a horrible recipe experience and the food was just awful. This happens to everyone, every day and it’s not just with food allergies- it’s with every single person that cooks anything. Being honest about what you accomplish is a great way to boost your own morale. It’s also another way to encourage others to try some of the foods that can be offered to you at a future gathering.

Enjoy the holidays, eat well and be happy with all that you have been given over the past year. When you invite positive thoughts, more are sure to follow. Don’t put the fork down- pick it up.

Need a new holiday recipe? I am sharing one of my favorite recipes with all of you-

Mahogany Rice & Quinoa Stuffing 

  • Gluten Free Stuffing1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Onion
  • 4-5 Apple Chicken Sausage (cut into pieces)
  • Baking Spray
  • 1 1/2 Cups cooked Lundberg Family Farms Black Japonica Rice
  • (cooked in organic chicken broth)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Rosemary
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup Already Roasted Brussels sprouts*
  • Sea Salt to Taste

*To roast Brussels Sprouts, heat the oven to 400°, chop clean Brussels Sprouts in half and toss with oil, garlic and sea salt. Stir to prevent burning on one side.

  1. Using a medium frying pan, heat the oil using medium heat. Add the onion and sauté. Add the sausage and stir until sausage is browned. Set aside.
  2. Lightly oil a large casserole dish with baking spray. Combine the cooked rice, quinoa and rosemary.
  3. Using a mini chopper, chop the Brussels sprouts until it is in small pieces. Mix into the casserole dish. Next, add the chicken sausage either as bite sized pieces or ground in the mini chopper. Add sea salt to taste.  Use this to stuff the turkey or bake at 350° and serve as a side dish.

Makes approximately 6 servings

Asthma in Children: Jordan’s story

Jordan McCarthy-Simmonette, 10 when interviewed, was diagnosed with asthma when he was five. He and his mum Karen explain how they’ve coped with his condition.

Jordan MKaren on Jordan’s asthma:

  • “We found out that Jordan was asthmatic when he was five. He would regularly wake up during the night with a cough, which disturbed his sleep.
  • “Our GP did a few tests and thought he had asthma. We didn’t know much about it at the time. There was no asthma in my family, but there are allergies.
  • “He was given a tablet to take at night for his cough, and put on a low-dose brown preventer and blue reliever inhaler.
  • “Winter is always the worst time for Jordan. He starts coughing and has shortness of breath.
  • “There was an asthma nurse attached to our GP surgery. Jordan visits her every six months, but if we’re ever concerned, we know we can go there any time.
  • “It’s important for a parent to explain to their child what having asthma means, and what it will involve. It’s not going to spoil their life, and they can continue as normal if they’re sensible about taking their asthma treatment. You can always get reassurance from the doctor, which is equally important if you need reassuring as a parent.
  • “Now, Jordan only uses the brown inhaler in the morning and at night, and he rarely has to use the blue one. He is very athletic: he does karate three or four times a week, is a good swimmer, goes to cub Scouts and is very healthy. His lung capacity has also improved.
  • “We take his inhalers wherever we go. If you’re going on holiday, get your prescriptions on time.
  • “He’s only had to go to hospital twice. He started to get a blue tinge round his mouth a couple of years ago, so I rang NHS Direct and they sent an ambulance.”

Read more about asthma in the cold.

Please note NHS Direct closed in March 2014, for non emergency health advice call NHS 111.

Jordan on his asthma and karate:

  • “I started karate when I was six. I had been diagnosed with asthma about a year before. I always thought I’d be able to do karate, and I’ve never had any problems. I take one puff of my brown preventer inhaler in the morning and two at night.
  • two kids sparring“I’m going to take my black belt sometime this year. I train four days a week for an hour each day, I do stretching every day and I practise a lot.
  • “There’s nothing in karate that I can’t do. I can do the same as everyone else. Asthma hasn’t stopped me doing anything.
  • “After black belt, there are five more dans [levels] in karate, so I’m going to keep working my way up.”

Read 10 fun ways to get fit for more ideas including karate.

*Photo credit: Aka HigeCC license