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Nov 17, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- BE CAREFUL WHAT YOUR BABY DRINKS

Nutritionists caution parents about type and timing when it comes to starting their baby on fruit juices. They say a young child's delicate digestive track may not be able to handle the naturally occurring sugars in such drinks, making the baby fussy, restless and less likely to sleep well. In more severe cases, such carbohydrate malabsorption can cause diarrhea, colicky behavior or even slowed growth. In the study, reported in the journal Nutrition, infants 5 to 6 months old who were less able to digest the sugars in one 4-ounce juice serving expended more energy for the next three hours than infants who tolerated the juice. Using more energy than is taken in can result in slowed growth, said Dr. Fima Lifzhitz, director of pediatrics and senior nutrition scientist at Sansum Medical Research institute in Santa Barbara, Calif. Researchers say juices like white grape juice usually are easier on a baby's digestive system than those made from apple or pear. She said parents should consult their pediatricians about when to introduce juice to their baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against giving juice to babies younger than 6 months of age.


A study suggests how long you behold someone plays a key part in how attractive you determine that person to be. The California Institute of Technology researchers report in the journal Nature Neuroscience the experiment showed when asked to select one of two faces, the chooser spends increasingly more time gazing at the visage he will eventually choose as the more beauteous one. In addition, the observations by biology Professor Shinsuke Shimojo and his colleagues also showed test subjects will typically choose the face that has been shown for a longer period of time by the experimenter. And, the team found, the link between how long you gaze and how appealing you find what you are gazing at also holds true for abstract geometric figures. The findings show human preferences may have more to do with the very act of gazing and the internal, mental image of attractiveness than was assumed, the researchers said.


Just as they do their tastes in music and clothes, friends can influence a teenager's outlook on exercise, a study shows. Scientists from Purdue University say the findings are important in view of the growing obesity epidemic among American youth. "(The) epidemic ... can lead to chronic health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, at an earlier age," said Alan Smith, professor of health and kinesiology. "There always has been a sharp decline in physical activity for youth as they enter adolescence, and now that we are seeing more obese adolescents, it is more important than ever to understand this trend." When it comes to fighting youth obesity, prevention and education plans need to consider how teenagers' friends, and even classmates, affect their exercise habits, Smith said. For example, his research indicates teens with supportive friends are more likely to exercise. On the other hand, those who lack supportive friends are more likely to have a poorer body self-image.


Children with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or asthma, appear to cope by using their imagination, scientists say. A book by Cindy Clark, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, chronicles how young patients with diabetes and asthma deal with their condition. In the book, "In Sickness and in Play: Children Coping with Chronic Illness," Clark interviewed children ages 5 to 8 in their homes, rather than at the doctor's office or hospital. She found the children use their imagination and play to deal with the everyday stress of chronic illness. Clark calls such therapeutic play "imaginal coping." She found the technique allowed children to feel safe. For example, a boy with asthma imagined superheroes would save his life, when very ill. Children can become attached to toys, blankets and even bed sheets, which they envision as sources of solace and reassurance, Clark found.

(Editors: For more information about BABY, contact Julie McQuain at (212) 477-0472. For LENGTH, Robert Tindol at (626) 395-3631 or For EXERCISE, Al Smith at (765) 496-6002 or For STRESS, Cynthia Clark at (610) 971-9421 or

Copyright 2003 by United Press International.

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