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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 battle over school lunch returned this week, as a House subcommittee moved to weaken stricter school lunch standards set to go into effect later this year. Critics say the rules go to far and lead to kids dumping out their lunch. Supporters insist the rules will make kids healthier.

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Preschool is enjoying a new heyday, right? Not so fast: A new report out this week from the National Institute of Early Education Research finds that in 2013, total enrollment in state-funded pre-K program dipped slightly, funding was flat, and quality was questionable in many programs.

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One of the recurring themes in early childhood research is that early is rarely early enough. Positive back-and-forth interactions between kids and caregivers are key to building budding brains, while their absence can lead to kids who suffer the longterm effects of what experts call "toxic stress."

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Our national health statistics suggest that health providers need to do more on the preventative health front. One way to do that is to view the hospital as a resource not only to treat disease but to prevent disease and model wellness. On-site farmers' markets are a step in the right direction.

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Last week, The Denver Post published “Prescription Kids,” a deeply reported six-part series on the rising prescription of psychotropic drugs for foster children. Post reporter Jennifer Brown shares how the series was reported in a Q&A.

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While the CDC declared measles 'eliminated' in 2000, California is seeing an unusually high number of measles infections so far this year. And of the state’s 56 reported cases to date, one county has more than a third of them.

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School nurses are increasingly stretched thin over many campuses or absent altogether due to budget cuts. Meanwhile, students are still showing up to school with complex health needs, putting new pressures on school staff to deliver levels of care they may not be trained or ready for.

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A new study of one of the most famous early childhood programs in existence suggests that it had profound impacts on the adult health of the participants decades later. If the research holds, it could have major implications for health policy.

Picture of Liz Morasso, LCSW, OSW-C

According to a 2005 U.S. Department of Education longitudinal study, about half of those with disabilities enrolled in post-secondary coursework did not define themselves as disabled.

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A pilot project in California gives specially trained dental hygienists and assistants expanded powers to use portable dental chair, laptops, digital cameras and handheld x-ray machines to see patients at a school or community center.



The nation's top infectious disease specialist will join us for a conversation with national health reporter Dan Diamond of The Washington Post. We’ll talk about the evolving threat posed by monkeypox, the current state of the COVID pandemic, and broader lessons on how we respond to emerging diseases. Sign-up here!


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