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Children's Health Matters

Children's Health Matters is a column that shares the latest reporting, research, commentary and ideas on pediatric health and child development; prevention models to reduce health disparities for ill children and children born into poverty; links between maternal and children’s health; and broader trends in children's health and well-being.

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The White House recently announced a set of initiatives to "bridge the word gap" between kids of different socioeconomic backgrounds. The research on which the policy is based has been around for decades, so why all the fresh attention on this topic?

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Psychological abuse of kids gets far less attention that physical or sexual abuse. But a new study finds that in many ways, psychological abuse can have equally devastating effects on young lives. But it's often harder to spot, and fewer treatments specifically target it.

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Despite health challenges, young people with chronic conditions are at least as sexually active as their peers and more likely to take risks. Yet providers often fail to discuss sex and reproductive planning with these patients, resulting in unwanted outcomes and limited futures.

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Cases of enterovirus D68 have quickly spread throughout the nation, filling emergency rooms and pediatric units with kids struggling to breathe. Meanwhile, doctors are still trying to understand what role the virus may be playing in cases of limb paralysis and polio-like symptoms.

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Prevention is key when it comes to reducing the harmful long-term health affects of toxic stress and childhood adversity. But when prevention is no longer an option, could mindfulness help adult survivors lead healthier, higher-quality lives?

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Earlier this year, encouraging news broke of a marked decrease in early childhood obesity. But overall childhood obesity rates have held steady, a recent report finds, with big disparities persisting among minorities and Southerners.

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Complex pediatric heart surgeries can be scary and hard to understand for families. But a former print journalist is spearheading new interactive visualizations inspired by video games to educate patients and take some of the mystery and fear out of the surgical ordeal.

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Talk of the hygiene hypothesis, beneficial bacteria, and the microbiome is becoming increasingly common. But the science of how these concepts relate to allergies and other conditions is still very much in progress. And that makes reporting on these topics tricky.

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Baltimore researchers spent three decades tracking nearly 800 kids from poor and middle-class backgrounds. They found little social mobility, with poor kids tending to become poor adults. The findings have sobering implications for health, which is tightly linked to socioeconomic status.

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The ripple effects that come from incarcerating a parent may be worse than previously thought, at least when it comes to kids' health. Recent research provides further evidence that parental incarceration is linked to a host of developmental delays and behavioral problems in kids and teens.



The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 National Fellowship will provide $2,000 to $10,000 reporting grants, five months of mentoring from a veteran journalist, and a week of intensive training at USC Annenberg in Los Angeles from July 16-20. Click here for more information and the application form, due May 5.

The Center for Health Journalism’s 2023 Symposium on Domestic Violence provides reporters with a roadmap for covering this public health epidemic with nuance and sensitivity. The next session will be offered virtually on Friday, March 31. Journalists attending the symposium will be eligible to apply for a reporting grant of $2,000 to $10,000 from our Domestic Violence Impact Reporting Fund. Find more info here!


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