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Jul 09, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- OBESE PARENTS LEAD TO OBESE CHILDREN

The factor that puts U.S. children at greatest risk of being overweight is having obese parents, say Stanford University School of Medicine researchers. The study, published in Pediatrics, tracked 150 children from birth to 5 years of age, found that 64 percent of children with overweight parents became overweight, compared with 16 percent of those with normal-weight parents. "The findings of this study suggest that at-risk children may be identifiable in the first few years of life," says study leader Dr. W. Stewart Agras. "Several of the identified risk factors are amenable to intervention, which could lead to the development of early prevention programs."

CHILDREN VULNERABLE TO HEAT STRESS

While seniors often are advised on how to beat summer heat, children also are susceptible to heat stress, Philadelphia researchers warn. "Make sure children are well hydrated before prolonged physical activity and during the activity, periodic drinking should be enforced, even if the child does not feel thirsty," says Dr. Denise Salerno, a pediatrician at Temple University Children's Medical Center. "Children should wear light-colored and lightweight clothing and sweat-saturated clothes should be replaced by dry clothes." Decrease a child's amount of sun exposure and be especially cautious with children if it is very humid outside, Salerno advises. "The duration of exercise and rest periods should be adjusted according to the humidity, air temperature and degree of sun exposure," Salerno adds.

MORE SEAFOOD ALLERGIES THAN THOUGHT

A U.S. study finds that seafood allergies are much more prevalent than once thought, with more than 6.5 million Americans believed to be affected. The study, in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology, reveals the onset of seafood allergy is likely to begin in adulthood and frequent, severe reactions are reported by sufferers. "Further studies are needed to determine the reason for women and minorities having a higher rate of seafood allergy, whether it is cultural eating differences, associations with environment exposures or other explanations," says study leader Dr. Scott Sicherer, of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. In all, about 11 million people are now believed to be affected by one or more food allergies, according to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, a co-investigator of the survey.

RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY LINKED TO LESS SEX, DRUGS

Consistent with previous research, an Ohio State University study finds religious activity is associated with less sexual behavior and substance abuse. Ohio State University and University of Michigan researchers talked to about 700 African-American teens every year for four years and found that girls who stayed active in church were less likely to have sex, while boys were less likely to drink alcohol. The study, published in the American Journal of Community Psychology, finds the level of church participation predicted involvement in risk behavior, and not vice versa. The researchers also find that regardless of later participation, girls who were religiously active in the ninth grade smoked fewer cigarettes throughout high school, while boys used less marijuana.

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(EDITORS: For more information on OBESE, contact Michelle Brandt at (650)723-0272 or mbrandt@stanford.edu. For HEAT STRESS, Caroline Crispino at (215) 707-7787 or crispic@tuhs.temple.edu. For SEAFOOD, Mount Sinai Press Office at (212) 241-9200 or NewsMedia@mssm.edu. For RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY, Kenneth Steinman at (614) 293-8632 or ksteinman@sph.osu.edu)

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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